Thursday, August 7, 2008

Prep Week

Prep week has begun for me. This is the week before rehearsals start when the Stage Manager gets the rehearsal room ready and makes sure that the actors know where to go on the first day. Another Stage Manager has blogged about this in a bit more detail.

It usually starts with a production meeting, at least it does at the Arden. The meeting consists of the production manager, the props master, the technical directors, the master electrician, and the costume shop supervisor. They hold these meetings weekly and during a production and I try to go to as many as possible. Sure, we have e mail and phones but to sit in a room with all that brain power gives me a sense of comfort. Any question or problem is taken seriously and everyone works together to solve it. I never feel, as I have in other theaters, that I'm out there in the wind by myself trying to figure things out.

Of course, the other part of prep week, the taping of the stage and the notifying the actors, that's all up to me. Taping the stage means well, it means laying the groundplan for the set on the floor of the rehearsal room with tape. This allows the actors to understand where the limits of the set are during rehearsals. Obviously, I can't put the stairs in but I can outline them so they know where they are. Not that it helps, inevitably on the first day on stage we hear:

"The stairs are there? I didn't know that?"
"What do you mean there's a wall there?"
"Are you sure that's a door?"
What can you do?

Anyway, I've spent years avoiding taping the stage due to the nature of the productions I worked on. So taping the stage has becomes this huge deal that I fret about for about a week. It started a couple of weeks ago when the Production Manager, Courtney Riggar, e mailed me the groundplans for Candide. Brian, my husband, took one look at them and said, "It's in the round? You are so screwed?"

He was messing with me because he thinks its funny I make such a big deal out of taping the floor. Of course measuring off the centerline and converting a 1/4" scale into feet is like second nature to him. I was a French major, the last math I did was in high school!

Last night, while my kids swam at the neighbors I sat there discussing how to tape an octagon. Kenny, the owner of the pool gave me specific directions but I had worked myself into a frenzy and couldn't comprehend it. I mean, it's an octagon, right? How hard can it be?

Well, we'll see today. Wish me luck!

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