Author Topic: Pre-show Blues  (Read 5581 times)

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zo_toast

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Pre-show Blues
« on: Nov 22, 2006, 02:27 am »

i've got the pre -show blues, a week until we open, and my lead actor has thrice broken his prop glasses, ill stop there on the list of actor issues.  im dealing with an inexperianced set crew, and explained what i could to them in the simplest way possible, ive had my asm explain further to my explaination. im exhuasted so im not functioning well...

if anyone could send some ideas about how to deal with this point, thatd be sweet

thx

VSM

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Re: Pre-show Blues
« Reply #1 on: Nov 22, 2006, 03:17 pm »
Slow and steady wins your race.

We all had to start somewhere and sometime and it seems that you have the opportunity to help train and guide these individuals who obviously need a little boost. If we support one another in the most positive way we can, we all win.

I don't mean to be sewing a sampler here, but you know everything will work out.
It always does.

And if not, it'll be one helluva story!!!
 
Ordo ab chao

ESM_John

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Re: Pre-show Blues
« Reply #2 on: Nov 23, 2006, 11:12 pm »
Believe me i understand how you feel. No where is this type of thing more evident than in High School theatre, where actors and crews arent being paid. From quite a few expreiences like the one you mentioned, the best thing to do first is take care of yourself. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!

Then, concentrate on your crew, in tech week your focus will obviously shift more on the technical end, tell them once what they need to do. if they mess up, you discuss what went wrong, if changes need to be made, maybe schedule a dry tech-only day, a paper tech or something to work out any issues.

as far as issues with the actors, well, SMs would be generally uninteresting if we didnt have great "So this actor..." stories.

Like VSM said, it will all pull together, and you know it. SMs are 1000 steps ahead and cant understand why everyone else isnt. So maybe with the issues your having with the crew, etc. youre only 900 steps ahead :D  it'll work out.

break a leg!

isha

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Re: Pre-show Blues
« Reply #3 on: Dec 26, 2006, 02:21 am »
NO KIDDDING!!!

sometimes highschool theatre is soooo hard!

we learn about SM-ing, we read all these books about it...but there isn't a book about high school stage management.
I've been blessed to have 1 good director that lets me do what I want, but I've worked with others that have no idea what my job is and won't let me do it.

It's hard to try to be organized and do things well when all you've got is other highschool students. I've just learned that, no matter how hard i try, no matter how hard I work, no matter how much I cajole, and try to motivate...the show will NOT pull itself together until the last week. I think that is just highschool. We're just kids. The actors would rather hang-out with each other than make a good show. I promise myself to do my best, and set-up as much as possible, so I don't go crazy during that week...but you can't force other people (no matter how much you want to)

I'm just excited to see what college will be like. And I sure hope I get the chance to work professionally. I might not do it my whole life, but I would like to get to the point where I can settle into it a bit, feel like I can actually help fit the pieces together.

Highschool the pieces don't fit because they are all from different puzzles. The make one interesting picture tho..

But good luck with your show!!!!! IT's fun isn't it! ;)
-isha
« Last Edit: Dec 26, 2006, 02:23 am by isha »
~isha

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Re: Pre-show Blues
« Reply #4 on: Dec 27, 2006, 09:46 am »
I will enthusiastically second (and third) about stage managing HS theatre being difficult.  I remember one of my high school shows (probably my third or fourth time stage managing), we had a little diva-ette.  I was sent to call the cast from the green room into the theatre for notes after a rehearsal.  Everyone got up and moving except this one girl.  When I repeated, "Mr. Farmer wants everyone in the theatre for notes," she said, "If Mr. Farmer wants me, he'll come get himself."  I shrugged, said, "That's what he's got me for," and left her sitting alone in the green room.
About ten minutes later, when no one else bothered to come to issue a personal invitation and cater to her sense of ego, she sheepishly slipped into the back of the theatre.  I hid my smile in my script.  She never gave me any more trouble.
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

oso_te_great

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Re: Pre-show Blues
« Reply #5 on: Jan 08, 2007, 03:02 am »
One actress once told me that I wasn't that boss of her, right after reiterated the director's words about setting props, true story

HS theatre is crazy, but whatever, at least things will be more organized in college (we hope).  I fortunately have the lucky opportunity to work with a children's theatre company, so I can see what it is really like.

Break a leg.
Malcolm Foster
Seattle Academy Class of 2007
University of Montana Class of 2011

LCook

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Re: Pre-show Blues
« Reply #6 on: Jan 08, 2007, 02:57 pm »
oh man...high school theatre is RIDICULOUS!!!

I did two shows at my high school before I started working at a place in my town doing shows. I feel like I sold out a little because I go to a small private school and everyone knows everyone really well. So its kind of like I'm being shunned a little for "deserting them".

But at the same time, high school theatre gave me a really messed up idea of what actually happened in the real world. And when I went to work with a professional company this summer all of that got straightened out. Then when I went back to school I just got fed up with myself and everyone else and went back to hanging out with my college friends from the summer.

My best advice for you is to 1) not get frustrated with/be too hard on yourself 2) take care of yourself physically and 3) roll with the punches the best you can. I had an inexperienced crew on my first show back at school from this summer and it was slightly infuriating because I was using lingo and expecting things that they didn't even know existed. The best way I could figure out how to get through it was to say to myself "hey, these guys are younger/less experienced and willing to learn from me. being able to teach them is a privelige and I should at least enjoy it a little!"

Hope everything works out!

philimbesi

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Re: Pre-show Blues
« Reply #7 on: Jan 08, 2007, 03:29 pm »
"It all works out in the end"
"How"
"I don't know... it's a mystery"

Truer words have never been spoken.  Take a breath, and take your time.   You'll be fine.  Remember it's High School, the problem is your dealing with 1) actors 2) teenagers and 3) no true leverage to get them to do what you want. Can't fire them, can't hold a AEA contract over their heads.  Add to that a huge helping of teen angst and emo and yep... you get High School Theater. 

You have to look at all this and see the whole situation.  oso_te_great had a great point about getting attitude for saying something that director had literally just said to an actor.  It's different coming from someone who is an adult or in a role of one.  Teens normally don't react well to other teens leading them.  They're all too busy trying to establish who they are, all while you're establishing who you are.  Remember that when your talking to them, you'll probably get further coming to them as a friend and a peer as opposed to a boss. 

Is there an advisor or director for the crew?  Maybe they can help you with idea on how to motivate them?  As for the actor with the glasses, I'd tape up a broken pair with masking tape and make them totally nerdy to wear then make him wear them this week, tell him your protecting the good ones for the show   :P   Might make him think twice about how he treats the real ones.  ;D

Break a leg and remember... Everything in life is only for now...

Extra points to whoever can identify the opening quote.
« Last Edit: Jan 08, 2007, 03:35 pm by philimbesi »

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Re: Pre-show Blues
« Reply #8 on: Jan 09, 2007, 10:59 am »
"It all works out in the end"
"How"
"I don't know... it's a mystery"

<snip>

Extra points to whoever can identify the opening quote.


I'm pretty sure it's from Maskerade by Terry Pratchett.  If not, it may as well be!
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

Dre2387

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Re: Pre-show Blues
« Reply #9 on: Feb 13, 2007, 01:07 pm »
nope.  Shakespeare in Love.  Brilliant movie.

weird thing is, we never had stage managers in high school.  We had assistant directors, and they really don't do much.  My first real experience was when i got to college.  My first show SMing was Urinetown, the musical, which included light cues, moving light cues, and turntable cues.  I made a ton of mistakes during tech, but the show went brilliantly and after that, my director/professor now calls me an experienced SM and this past show, he paired me up with a freshman (I'm a sophmore) to co-SM a senior project and help him along and answer any of his questions. 

I always get stressed or depressed during tech, but what gets me through it and makes me want to go through the whole process again, is the wonderful production that comes out of it.  All the hard work you put into it; into controllng the actors and explaining a billion times to the stage crew what to do, makes the whole thing totally worth it.  Also, I love all the inside jokes during rehearsal that you can share with the actors later on and have eveyone look at you weirdly.
Andrea

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Re: Pre-show Blues
« Reply #10 on: Feb 13, 2007, 04:34 pm »
Breathe deeply ... remember that you love the entire process of theatre, not just each moment.  Trust that you'll be fine a do great work.  This past fall, just after the final dress rehearsal for "A Midsummer Night's Dream", an actor put their foot through the  ass's head.  Need I tell you where I wanted to put my foot?  I spent 8 hours repairing it the next day while juggling all of the other opening night matters, a handful of emergencies and teaching the full day.  I can't tell you how many times I had to think about the entire process of a show, from inception to closing, just to keep the moment in perspective.  But, it works.  You'll get through this show with all of it's stumbles and gaffs, you'll have great, heroic moments to make you proud, and you'll have terrific stories to share forever.  Hang in there - the wrap party is on its way!

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