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Topics - Michelle R. Wood

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We're about to produce our third "Church Basement Ladies" show, the Christmas one (Away in a Basement). It calls for a musicbox that plays a specific Norweigan song ("Jeg Er Sa Glad"). We'd like to find a live musicbox rather than just play a sound cue if possible. Has anyone ever done this show and used such a box? Or has anyone rigged a musicbox to play a specific song in a show?

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

Employment / Time Off
« on: Aug 16, 2019, 10:38 pm »
Just curious to know how different theatres handle time off for a regular staff position rather than someone hired per contract. Despite the fulltime label, we often have irregular hours, with tech week of course requiring far more work than others, and some times not as busy during lulls between shows or easier shows. Because of that we rarely get an actual "weekend." Fulltime staff also have theatrical duties not specifically show related, requring hours in addition to rehearsal and shows.

Are days off usually specified in your contract? Or are there flex time arrangements where more time is granted during less busy periods? Are you allowed to request time off even during a busy time, or would that be unthinkable? Would your producer ever consider having someone fill in for you on a show if you really needed it? In your opinion, what would be an acceptable reason?

Should fulltime staff at theatres have dedicated day off regardless of Equity status? Does size of theatre/budget change your opinion?

Tools of the Trade / Stage Write software
« on: Jan 31, 2019, 12:31 pm »
Just ready about Stage Write software today and am curious if anyone on the board uses it/has used it? I'm all for moving to a more digital means of working, but 2 things specifically stand out to me: it appears on first glance to be an Apple only product (iPad, Macs), and is a hosted service (which means your digital assets are at the mercy of someone else's server, and is an ongoing expense).

We use tracks at this theatre rather than a live orchestra, and get them all at the start of rehearsal to practice with. Sometimes actors request to "check out" (download) these tracks to practice with on their own time. I've been told we used to have a permission form to go along with this access, something where the actor promised to only use them for rehearsal and not in other performances, but can not find it paper or digital format.

Putting aside how difficult it is to enforce such a policy, has anyone else used such a form/system, and does anyone have a template (that I couldn't find with some quick googling)?

Edited to add topic tag - Maribeth

Tools of the Trade / Android Cue App
« on: Oct 15, 2017, 10:20 pm »
Does anyone have any suggestions for an Android app for cues (aka a non-Apple Qlab)? Reddit recommended something called LIVE Cues ( but I have no experience with it. I personally use MultiPlay a lot on my Windows machine to run shows, but the theatre is considering purchase of a tablet to aid in running sound. Anyone have thoughts/suggestions/horror stories to share?

Tools of the Trade / Smoke bomb effect
« on: May 18, 2016, 04:53 pm »
A dance company I'm working with wants to use a smoke bomb effect for a soldier flashback dance. Anyone ever tried something like that before?

The Green Room / Happy Deathday Shakespeare
« on: Apr 23, 2016, 10:34 am »
It's the 400th anniversary of Will's death, but as we all know his work still survives and thrives. Thought it might be interesting to hear about what people are doing (if anything) to commemorate, or just your general experiences with Shakespeare.

I'm helping next week with my state's 48-Hour Marathon of his plays (staged readings, or we'd probably run longer!) Also, I'm in the middle of a run of Tempest, which is by far one of my most challenging shows to date: it has haze/fog, giant puppets, aerialists, dancers and blacklight. Not mention the joys of being in a discovered space (no insulation or heat/cooling, limited electricity, loud airplanes overhead and horn honking on the street), which actually has made me feel like we're performing the way the Globe must have been with all its noise and distractions.

Previous to these gigs, I've also acted in Shakespeare twice (Julius Ceasar and Macbeth), Assistant Directed/SMed Twelfth Night, and ran the board for a production of Henry V on trapeze (the fight scenes were awesome!)

How about you: any great Shakespeare productions you're proud of working on? What's your favorite time working with the Bard?

Self-Promotion / The Tempest
« on: Apr 14, 2016, 04:09 pm »
Shakespeare's bow to the stage presented in downtown Wilmington, NC: aerialists, giant puppets, shadow puppetry, blacklight, and more combined. Plotting! Clowning! True Love! There is literally something for everyone in this show, presented by Dram Tree Shakespeare. We open tonight.

Not sure if this post is in the right place or appropriate (sorry if not mods), but I just found out before going into tech that the music I thought I would be supplied with for preshow and intermission will not be available. If any of you have worked the show: did you use music? If so, what kind?

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

The Green Room / Thank You
« on: Dec 25, 2015, 11:47 am »
Let's all thank and salute the brave crews who are working on Christmas day. I have worked right up to Christmas Eve before, but have yet to work on Christmas day itself. Thank you all for your time, energy, and may you have a great break after the show is done.

The Hardline / Equity Report for Limited Media Appearances
« on: Nov 30, 2015, 02:20 am »
I have one actor appearing under a guest artist contract in my show. According to the guest artist rulebook, 9(A)(1)(b) under Limited Media Appearances says:

(b) The Producer shall file a report with Equity giving the time utilized for the Recording sessions.

Does that mean we file a report beforehand informing them we will tape, or one afterwards summing up the taping?

Self-Promotion / Black Pearl Sings
« on: Feb 06, 2015, 08:57 am »
Black Pearl Sings!
Theatre in the Park
Raleigh, NC

It's my second time around with this cast (we did the same show last year at a different theatre). Fun little two hander for women: I encourage anyone who has a production nearby to check it out.

Does anyone know the best place to get plain (no logos) brown paper grocery bags, the kind that everyone used back in the day? I can always do what I did before (take two apart and glue them back together with the inside facing out) but that wasn't very sturdy and ended up falling apart halfway through the run.

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

This topic is one I've thought about for a long time, and I just had a friend consult me for professional advice. A lot of theatres (mostly community, but even some pro) use canned preshow music now. This music has copyright on it: even if the music itself is in the public domain (like Mozart) the performance isn't. Technically, playing a CD mix before a show is a public performance, which would require at least permission if not royalties. But I have never seen anyone give this idea consideration. Goes doubly for people doing Junior versions of shows and using the soundtracks as preshow (Disney, MTI, etc).

Wanted to know what other people think, and if anyone's ever heard of someone facing an issue with using this kind of music for preshow.

Edit to add topic tag- Maribeth

Got a message this morning from someone I've worked for before. There's been an emergency, and I'm stepping in for an ASM tonight (dress rehearsal). Anyone ever had a situation like this before? Any advice?

Edited to add topic tag. -Maribeth

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