Author Topic: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)  (Read 17457 times)

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PSMKay

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Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« on: Mar 10, 2012, 08:07 pm »
I have heard from many sources that you can derail an entire production by adding a handbag. The number of questions that arise from this simple change involve departments, budgets, style, size, items inside the handbag, WHERE the items need to be inside the handbag, etc.  It's a mess.  This of course made me think... "what an awesome game!"

So this is the game.

Person #1 posts a note from a fake rehearsal report about a new item that their director has decided to add. It can be a prop, costume, scenery change, script change, falling chandelier... your call.

For example, "Maria is holding a book in I, 3."

Person #2 replies with a list of 5 or more questions that arise from this addition, and then suggests a new thing that the director wants to add. For example:

Quote
What color should Maria's book be? What size? Any particular title or author? Will the audience see the inside? Hardcover or softcover? Used or new? Should it have a pricetag on it? Does it need a bookmark? Ribbon? Tie closure? Does it get thrown? Dropped? Destroyed? Burned?

New note: Amy is eating a bagel at the start of II, 1.

Try not to repeat any items. Try to be as thorough as possible with your questions. No winners here, this is just for amusement and skill-building.

If multiple people happen to post answers right on top of each other, the next person can pick their favorite of the new items and keep right on going.

We'll start off with Amy and her bagel.
« Last Edit: Mar 10, 2012, 09:19 pm by PSMKay »

iamchristuffin

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #1 on: Mar 10, 2012, 08:12 pm »
Great idea!

Should be bagel be seeded? Does the bagel need filling? Does the actress playing Amy have any allergies? Does she enter with the bagel, or is it preset onstage? Will the bagel need to be in any packaging? Should the bagel be new, or part-eaten?

New note: Sam will be shot in the final scene.

« Last Edit: Mar 10, 2012, 08:14 pm by iamchristuffin »

BeccaTheSM

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #2 on: Mar 10, 2012, 08:43 pm »
Possibly my new favorite thread.

Who is shooting Sam? Will it be onstage or offstage? What kind of gun will be used? Will the sound be recorded, or will we use blank ammo? Do we have a fight choreographer / fight captain? Does the gun need to be loaded live onstage? Will we need a blood bag on Sam? Does he fall after being shot? Will he need a crash pad? Knee pads?

Tony will open the Prologue holding a torch.
Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos. - Stephen Sondheim

PSMKay

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #3 on: Mar 10, 2012, 09:15 pm »
(Glad you like it.)

Do you mean a medieval-type torch? If a flaming torch, is it burning? Will an electric flickering torch do? If so, is it coming out of the electrics budget or the props budget? Can we set stuff on fire in this house? If so, what is it burning? Which side will he be closer to, so we can set the fire extinguisher and douser? Does Tony's costume have floppy sleeves, or is he wearing a wig or other flammable accessories? Will the torch cast a light of any particular color? If Tony enters in blackout, how do we get the torch lit to start the show? If it isn't lit, does it have to look totally legit (e.g., wrapped in fabric - if so, what kind of fabric...)? Do we want a metal handle? Wooden handle?

If you mean torch in the British sense - a flashlight - do we want a mag lite? cheapo drugstore flashlight? Does it need batteries? Lamps? How bright should it be?

New note: In the fight scene, the Debutante pulls a bunch of garments off of the coat rack and then exits with them, running, through the house to the lobby.

bex

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #4 on: Mar 10, 2012, 09:49 pm »
(Great idea!!)

Are the garments from the theoretical wardrobe of the Debutante, or are they someone else's (another character's) clothes? Are the clothes new- pricetags? Can we pull suitable clothes from the existing costume stock, or will these garments need to be purchased or built? If we do not have anything in stock, will this come from the prop or costume budget? Are the clothes on hangers? If they are on hangers, does she leave them on the hangers or take them off before exiting? If she takes them off the hangers, where does she leave the hangers? Is there a potential trip hazard as she runs down the stairs/ramp offstage? Do we need to light her exit through the house? Do we have individual control of the existing house lights, or do we need to hang a special? Do we need to dim the lobby lights when she exits the house to prevent spill? How much time does the Debutante have to get backstage again before her next entrance? What is the quickest route from the lobby to backstage? Do we need a crew person in the lobby to catch the clothes from her? Does House Management need to add a description of this event to the usher orientation?


New note: Mother's reaction to hearing the gunshot at the end of I.ii will be to drop the plate of food on the floor.
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

nick_tochelli

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #5 on: Mar 10, 2012, 10:20 pm »
What does the meal on the plate consist of? Is it war time rations? Home cooked meal? Should the audience be able to identify it? Should it be fresh so we can have the audience smell the food? Will anyone be eating the food once it's been on the floor? Do we want the plate to break? If yes, how are we going to be able to clean the shards of plate up? If no, is it really period to have a piece of dinnerware that won't break if dropped? How are we going to time the drop of the plate with the gunshot? Will we signal the actress holding the plate? Or will she just go on her own?

New Note: We will need to hid a journal under the floorboards of the set.

planetmike

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #6 on: Mar 10, 2012, 10:51 pm »
Where under the set? Upstage, downstage, left, right, center? Do we need to build a platform so we can even get "under" the set, or can a false floor be good enough? Will the set's carpeting affect the placement? Is the location under any furniture? How will the journal be found? Will the floorboard be destroyed during the search? Any safety problems with a hole in the floor? New props to aid in the uncovering (hammer/axe/crowbar/screwdriver/maybe a toolbox to carry everything. How about a utility belt instead?) What about the journal (see earlier notes on Maria's book) itself. Is it part of a set?

And don't forget that Jon needs to wind the clock after his mother leaves to get the plate of food from the kitchen.



megf

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #7 on: Mar 11, 2012, 11:49 am »
Do we need to see the time on the clock from FOH?
What, if any, sound should it make as it is wound?
Do we need amplification for ticking and/or winding effects?
Is the clock near a wall or other fixed scenic element, so we can run hard power to it, or will it be battery powered?
Will the clock need to be cued through LX, so the time changes in accordance with time in the world of the play?
When can we have a rehearsal clock that makes approximately the right sound, and has a key or knob of the right size and resistance?
Does Electrics need to meet separately with Props to discuss clock-rigging?


Brutus will carry a notepad.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #8 on: Mar 11, 2012, 12:52 pm »
Which scene is Brutus carrying the notepad?  Will he need a place on his costume to get the note pad?  Does it need to be a period notepad?  What size?  What color paper?  Does it need to be spiral bound?  Does he need a writing instrument?  Pencil or Pen?  What color pen?  Does it need to be a period pen?  Is it a Quill?  Does he need an inkwell?  Does the inkwell need a cap?  Should costumes be consulted on the type of ink to make sure it can be washed out of the costume?  How many pieces of paper will he write on onstage?  Does it need to be in Latin?  Can we get a the dramaturg to give Nick (the actor playing Brutus) and Andrew (his understudy) written Latin lessons for the writing on the notepad?  Do we have in the budget for replace the notebook every eighth performance? 

Stage manager needs to be able to turn and off the record player from in the booth.
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Scott (formerly Digga)

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #9 on: Mar 11, 2012, 05:22 pm »
What size (speed) records are being played?  Is it an automated record player or does the stage manager need to put the needle on themselves?  Is the record player on stage and if so where is it placed?  Can it be plugged into a dimmer with the needle preset in place so that when they call the cue, the power flows and the record starts?  Is it practical or is the record just spinning and sound will come from a cue?

Brenda needs to be able to drop coins on the raked stage without them rolling off.

iamchristuffin

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #10 on: Mar 11, 2012, 06:36 pm »
Do the coins need to be metal - or could she drop paper money instead? Where is the play set (country and date), or is Brenda coming from another country? Would only angular coins (i.e. British 50p) be acceptable? Can the stage be slatted, so coins fall through the gaps? Or could it have a batten running somewhere near the bottom?

A young girl (Frieda) will be needed onstage in the finale.

NomieRae

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #11 on: Mar 12, 2012, 10:32 am »
How old does the "young girl" need to be? Does she have any lines? Is there a wrangler? When should she have her costume fitting? Does she need to resemble anyone in the cast? Has the casting director been notified of this? When is her first rehearsal? Will we need her throughout tech? What is the probability of adding her into other scenes once we cast her? Does she need to be picked up? Which actor would pick her up - does he/she have a bad back? Is she Equity?

New Note: Katie needs larger finger condoms.
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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #12 on: Mar 12, 2012, 05:50 pm »
Larger in length or circumference? If you mean circumference, what is her largest ring size? If they can't be purchased, can they be made? Does the actress have any latex allergies? Do the finger condoms need to be powder-free? Will these be purchased from props or other department? How many fingers get the condoms? Which fingers get the condoms? Are they on the same hand? Are they on both hands? Will she need assistance putting them on? Will she be in contact with any substance(s)? Can they be reused every night or will a new 'batch' be needed every performance?

New note: When Stephen stabs Alan with a knife, Stephen collects Alan's blood in a goblet and drinks it.

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #13 on: Mar 12, 2012, 10:27 pm »
How big is the knife? Is the knife in Stephen's costume or is it preset onstage (or brought on by another character)? Can the knife be retractable? Where does Alan get stabbed? How big is the goblet? What should the goblet look like? How much blood is expected? What is the blood made out of? Will we use blood packs and who will make them for each performance? Is Stephen allergic to any foods/dyes/etc? How will we deal with blood drippage and splatter? How will costumes handle the blood effects?

Brian will deliver his line to start the fight sequence from house left.
XX. The only valid excuse for missing one's cue is death.
-Proverb from the Techie Bible.

Thespi620

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Re: Hell in a Handbag (A Game for Stage Managers)
« Reply #14 on: Mar 12, 2012, 10:57 pm »
Will Brian enter through the back of the house to deliver the line? If he proceeds to the stage, is there a stair or ramp to aid him? What are the sightlines like for that corner of the house? Will people in the balcony be able to hear him? Do we need amplification? Will the fight sequence then begin in the house? How much of the physical violence occurs offstage or en route to the stage? When can we get into the house to mark through the fight prior to tech? Will house adjust their preshow so that we can hold fight call in the aisles, or must we work around them? How wide is the aisle space where the fight begins? Do we have a standard announcement requesting that aisles are kept clear for cast members built into preshow?


New Note: James takes a photograph of the family prior to the wedding in I, iv.
[The SM is] a very gifted, slightly eccentric master mechanic [keeping] a cantankerous, highly complex machine running at top efficiency by talking to it, soothing it, & lovingly fixing whatever is broken. 
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