Author Topic: REHEARSALS: Taking-Over During Rehearsals  (Read 2747 times)

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Sunny

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REHEARSALS: Taking-Over During Rehearsals
« on: Jul 20, 2011, 12:19 am »
   This is the first time I've been in this situation and it makes me nervous! An SM of a local community show dropped out and the director found out I was still in town and asked if I would replace her. Not thinking this through I was enthusiastic about stepping in.  I didn't fully think about having only 2 weeks to prep for and put on a show. I have been SM on this show with this director in the past and I still have my old prompt book so I'm hoping he's kept much of the blocking the same.

  Has anyone been in this situation before? Any tips to deal with using another persons notes and a difficult director? I'm assuming that last part is why the former SM left 2 weeks before opening. I'm just thankful it's only running for 1 weekend during a local festival! I'm also concerned about building a relationship with these actors/techs since I haven't been with them through the whole process. Any tips would be appreciated!
« Last Edit: Jul 21, 2011, 07:21 pm by Rebbe »

Rebbe

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Re: REHEARSALS: Taking-Over During Rehearsals
« Reply #1 on: Jul 21, 2011, 07:41 pm »
Here are a couple other threads that deal with take-overs, and may have some helpful advice. 
http://smnetwork.org/forum/index.php/topic,4246.msg26164.html#msg26164
http://smnetwork.org/forum/index.php/topic,1491.msg8790.html#msg8790

Iíd caution against assuming the director is ďdifficultĒ just because the SM left the show.  They may have had their own personal reasons for leaving.  If you have worked with the director before and characterize her as difficult yourself, I guess thatís another story.  But itís often the case that different personalities just mesh better than others. 

Basically avoiding assumptions of any kind, and instead asking lots of questions of those already involved with the show, will probably serve you well.  Talk with the director about how the current show matches up with his staging of the version you worked on together.  Find out what the directorís expectations are for you; they may be pretty reasonable and anticipate a learning curve as you get to know the show.  Itís no secret that you are new, so donít be shy about asking actors or production staff what they have been doing.  People are usually willing to help the New Kid, especially since it means youíll be in a better position to help them.  Humility and humor will go a long way, as will admitting and correcting any mistakes you are bound to make.

As far as the other personís notes, Iíd go ahead and try to contact the first SM to see if they will explain things to you.  Just because they left the show doesnít mean they would want to leave the new SM (or cast) hanging. 

 One thing I would try to do to build relationships is to learn peopleís names and faces before I get to rehearsal.  Between facebook, headshots, and some deductive reasoning, itís not too hard to do, and I find it makes people feel like you care and have put in some preparation when you can address them by name.  Plus itís easier to catch on when you know who is who. 
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

loebtmc

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Re: REHEARSALS: Taking-Over During Rehearsals
« Reply #2 on: Jul 21, 2011, 08:03 pm »
in the 99-seat world here in LA, the SM is often brought in the week of tech, anywhere from the day of to the Tues prior (depending on the company's understanding of the SM's role). Basically do as much watching and listening as possible, take time before/after rehearsal to ask questions and take nothing personally since their dynamic has already been established. Take a deep breath, and find your good humor and calm patience and make those your foundation.

Take every chance to study the script, talk to all designers and team members, and be proactive where possible.

And good luck -

Sunny

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Re: REHEARSALS: Taking-Over During Rehearsals
« Reply #3 on: Jul 21, 2011, 11:54 pm »
Iíd caution against assuming the director is ďdifficultĒ just because the SM left the show.  They may have had their own personal reasons for leaving.  If you have worked with the director before and characterize her as difficult yourself, I guess thatís another story.  But itís often the case that different personalities just mesh better than others. 

   I have SM'd this show for this particular director before and I'm also stage managed a show he was in.  It's a really small community around here! I found out tonight he is also in the show so this will be a whole new experience for me! Thanks so much for the links back to those threads! I will put all of the advice to good use!