Author Topic: REHEARSALS: "We'll sort that out at the theatre"  (Read 3059 times)

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kiwitechgirl

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REHEARSALS: "We'll sort that out at the theatre"
« on: Mar 12, 2009, 06:35 am »
A bit of background: I'm currently involved with a production of Miss Saigon which a local (well-respected) amateur company is producing.  It's obviously primarily amateur actors, although quite a few of them are drama school graduates who are now in other jobs because they can't find paid work as an actor, so they're doing the show to keep their skills tuned up.  Kim, the Engineer and John are professionals who are all being paid - basically they couldn't find anyone who could sing it well enough and was prepared to do it for nothing.  The director has directed a lot of big shows around the country - although all for amateur societies as far as I know.  He's also choreographing; I don't like the way he works, but I can get past that - everyone has different methods, right?  Anyway.  We were rehearsing The American Dream tonight when one of the chorus (a drama school grad - very smart kid) said "I had a costume fitting the other day, and I showed Wardrobe this move (it's a bend at the waist, as close to heads on the ground as they can get) and they said that our costumes won't allow us to do that."  The response from the director was "Don't ever say things like that to Wardrobe.  They don't need to know about things like that, we'll sort it out when we get to the theatre."  I had to be restrained by the other two ASMs who were sitting either side of me, as I was ready to jump up and beat him around the head with my script - that is, when I'd recovered from the shock hearing him say that!  As the evening continued, people were asking questions which were quite logical, sensible questions I'd normally expect to be answered very quickly.  His response every time?  "Don't worry, we'll sort it out at the theatre."  It's going to be one hell of a tech rehearsal, and I'm starting to be rather scared!  How can you leave the cast not knowing how things are going to work before the tech?  They're all going to be incredibly insecure when we get to the tech and it isn't the director who'll have to pick up the pieces, it's me and the other SMs.  Thank goodness for a crew with fantastic heads of department (I couldn't have asked for a better team) and two full days to tech the show, but it's still going to be long, drawn-out and painful.  

Just needed to rant!
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 02:27 am by PSMKay »

lauria

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Re: "We'll sort that out at the theatre"
« Reply #1 on: Mar 12, 2009, 10:26 am »
Ugh. As soon as I read the title, my insides turned inside out. That is definitely one of the worst things to hear a director say. I would start preparing solutions in my head so that you can offer something when you get "to the theatre." Is this director approachable at all? Could you ahve a conversation about a "tech prep" time where actors ask questions and you two answer them "as best you can"? (I'm sure that you'll have a lot of answers ready to go, but I can imagine he might struggle with choreography issues...)

I can't believe that he told the actors that wardrobe didn't need to know that kind of information! Wow.

No matter what happens, good luck! Hopefully you'll be able to sort everything out and you'll be able to move through tech...

NomieRae

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Re: "We'll sort that out at the theatre"
« Reply #2 on: Mar 12, 2009, 10:52 am »
Just to play devils advocate -- I know some directors really don't want the actors worrying about technical things (the wardrobe thing is still beyond me..) and have a habit of saying "Don't worry, we'll figure it out in tech" but what they really mean is "There are two dozen other people that worry about these things and you should just worry about your blocking and singing"...where a SM knows a good answer to these queries is something along the lines of "Thanks for the heads up, I'll take care of it" the director leaves the last part out, assuming it's implied.

Of course he could just have unrealistic expectations of you, the crew, and the amount of time you have for tech... but again, just wanted to play devils advocate ;)

hope it works out!
--Naomi
"First, I honor life, and with it my life in theatre." -- Jacques Burdick

BenTheStageMan

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Re: "We'll sort that out at the theatre"
« Reply #3 on: Mar 13, 2009, 02:07 pm »
I actually have been using this phrase a whole lot lately.  I'm SMing for a community theatre and the director always gets sidetracked thinking about things we can't acuately fix until we are in the space (which I have seen twice and no one in the group has ever performed in).  To be fair, the whole operation is incredibly seat-of-the-pants and the director is incredibly...vapid.  I'm not seeing a set or props until the start of tech, so I really will be sorting everything out once we get there.
"Show people are doomed!  Doomed to a life of booze...and pills...and heavy meals late at night!" -Judy, "Ruthless!"

ManageThis

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Re: "We'll sort that out at the theatre"
« Reply #4 on: Apr 04, 2009, 06:42 pm »
That director sounds like a nightmare, Kiwi! But I suppose Nomie brings up a good point. I hate when people don't say what they mean though. I always try to say what I mean, while still being polite of course. Good luck, Ben!

Someimtes when you try to figure everything out before hand, it doesn't work either. With at traveling show I recently did, we had what we tought to be very thorough plans and were prepared. However, we get to the space ... and the plans were incredebily wrong! Sidelines were completely different, and lighting positions were interesting to say the least. I applaud my light designer so much for what he pulled off. Not only did it look good, but he worked all the way throgh our first performance at the space writing cues since we couldn't import the ones he had written ahead of time. It was extremely stressful to share a booth with him and the ME working frantically beside me, but the experiance was amazing. My favorite part was having to ask the ME if they were OK for me to call the next cue!

With the summer show I do every year, I was always frustrated with the "we'll sort it out" answer. I worked as prop master m y first summer -- at least that was what I was hired for. I didn't receive a script until they moved down to the space, and  I was stuck in the shop every day instead of being able to see a rehearsal or check the prop stock. When I asked the PSM for a script, or a rehearsal to view, I was told we'll sort it out, and I can watch a rehearsal as soon as I get x, y, and z done. Finally, they move down the space, so I was able to sneak out of the shop to talk to the director. Propping an entire show in a week was quite the task for a first time prop master! Thankfully, the stock was in good condition and I didn't have to acquire a large amount of the show. I worked the next summer as an ASM and I made sure to keep the prop master involved -- after they were assigned half-way through rehearsals.

maximillionx

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Re: "We'll sort that out at the theatre"
« Reply #5 on: Apr 04, 2009, 07:55 pm »
Sometimes it's okay to use that response. But when it means you'll have to either re-design or take apart costumes/re-block a dance routine...maybe not so much.

I probably would have confronted the director on that one.  "Maybe we should figure it out now in order to make our lives easier since we'll have plenty on our plates already during tech" sorta thing.

Shouldn't wardrobe have a better response than "our costumes won't allow us to do that?"

But best of luck kiwi!

killerdana

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Re: "We'll sort that out at the theatre"
« Reply #6 on: Apr 05, 2009, 01:45 am »
I will always remember a story told to me by one of the stage managers for the LA Opera.  The dancers had beautiful costumes designed with wide, solid, hoop-style skirts.  Unfortunately, when they got into the theatre the sets had been designed with rather narrow doors.  When the dancers tried to enter, they got stuck and fell over.  If the proper communication had happened in advance (instead of waiting till they got into the theatre) this wouldn't have happened.
Science without art is sterile.  --Albert Einstein

 

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