Author Topic: Prompt books: Prompt Book Help  (Read 9231 times)

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Mac Calder

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Re: Prompt Book Help
« Reply #15 on: Nov 10, 2006, 03:48 pm »
This is where you start setting No Change dates. BalletPSM mentioned no changes to blocking during tech. If you have had a decent length rehearsal period, I would go so far as to say "No MAJOR changes" 1 week before you move to tech. It may annoy the director a bit, but the LD and actors will love you for it.

As an LD, my process usually involves familiarising myself with the script, then about 3 weeks in, going in and watching a few scenes, seeing how the director is interpreting, as well as talking through my vision with the director for each scene. I also make sure to talk through the limitations - like if there are very few lanterns available, I might say "Well I was thinking of using an almost vertical light on X, on a dark stage, to give a feeling of isolation, however if it is done that way, we will need to reuse the lantern we used in the Y scene, which means they will need to be DSL." - hopefully the SM takes notes of these sorts of things so that when I come back to view the last week (I try to attend all of the last weeks rehearsals) I can adjust my designs to fit. Once we are in the space though, apart from extremely major problems - like those BalletPSM mentioned - I get very angry if blocking changes - as there is not much I can do to change the lighting without re plotting the show.

I may be unique in the way I work though.

Communication is the key.
« Last Edit: Nov 10, 2006, 03:51 pm by Mac Calder »

MatthewShiner

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Re: Prompt Book Help
« Reply #16 on: Nov 10, 2006, 05:57 pm »
Tell a director Tech is Tech, and blocking is done?  No major changes to blocking a week before tech?

Seriously, how realestic is that?  I mean, if a director wants to change blocking during tech, it's still his show, it's still his rehearsal - what is the point of lighting or teching anything if the director wants to make changes, especially since if he doesn't do it during tech, he is going to do it during previews - and then you have to retech.

I guess at the level I work with, my job in tech is to make sure I can finish teching the show . . . as long as I have time for that, the director can do anything he wants.

Wants a show gets on stage, in costume, in front of the set, etc, etc - you will find that things have to change and things will need to change - holding a director to some sort of artifical deadline is silly, and most likely not in the best interest of the show.  BUT, the director may need to know that due his changes, things may fall beind or need to wait (new blocking, new special, new hanging position, etc, etc.). 

Hopefully all changes are done to improve the show, and everyone wants to make the show the best. 

The concept of "NO CHANGE" dates does not utimately serve the show, but any professional director worth a crap will know that last minute changes will not always be able to be implemented, but it's my job to help see how they can.  A good lighting designer should be able to have a plot that will accomodate changes, or allow additions.  (At my current theatre, a major regional theatre, the light plot is due BEFORE we even finish staging the show . . . and often hung by the time the deisgner sees a run . . . so they need to be proactive in their design, anticipating changes.)  It's my job to communicate blocking issues that may not work with their plot.

I do think young Stage Managers should enter the world thinking a show is ever set until open.  (For example on my current show, we reblocked an entire dance after the third preview, cutting out 2 characters . . . it happens - it happens all the time.) 
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

Mac Calder

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Re: Prompt Book Help
« Reply #17 on: Nov 10, 2006, 06:54 pm »
No Change is all about major changes - that means things like re-blocking an entire scene so that it is totally different from what it was before. A few minor changes here and there are fine, but as a general rule, nothing extremely complex.

At the level of theatre I work, I see a lot of "Unprofessional" directors who "just want to try X", and the concept of a no change date is necessary. At a professional level, I am sure most directors are reasonable people, who know that major changes a day before opening is just not going to work. I enjoy working on semi-professional shows which means directors who are unrealistic.

You say a good lighting design will have an element of flexibility in it - that is true. Most do. However there is no way you can accommodate huge changes in a lot of shows at the "lower end" of the scale. I am talking minimalist sets, fully conventional lighting in a black box. Proper use of colour, light, dark, shade and segmenting with light is necessary. Someone moving 10 steps left, could mean changing the angle of light X degrees which will then throw out EVERYTHING before it because the balance of the lighting has changed. The show may be the directors vision, but it is not fair on everyone else - especially the other designers, and the actors.

Of course there are changes that need making due to the translation from rehearsal room to stage, but they are generally minor - 4 steps to the left and two forward sorts of things, and hopefully all figured out during plot.

Of course a show is never set in stone (that is what makes theatre marvelous), but it certainly helps to lower the stress levels when you ask the director to get the show into a form he likes before the tech commences, and I find gives a more polished show with less stuff ups (by me, the cast or the crew)

Scott

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Re: Prompt Book Help
« Reply #18 on: Nov 10, 2006, 07:00 pm »
I'm right with Matthew on this one.

I would say that Off Broadway, especially on shows with a commercial bent, one looks to "lock" a show on the first performance with invited press, with official opening as a relatively absolute deadline.

This might be somewhere around or after at least 14 public performances, if not more.

I find it hard to imagine a situation in which it's fair to lock a show until at least after final dress rehearsal, even with a limited amount of planned performances.  That is why they're called rehearsals...

That being said, there is of course a limit to how much and what kind of changes can be effected at any given moment. ($ and time.)

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