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2011-05-01 10:55 pm

Hopes & Plans

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Now that Odd Couple is done but for the bookkeeping, it’s on to the next couple shows…

As soon as I can confirm the rights & get the appropriate contracts signed, we’re aiming to do William Nicholson’s Shadowlands.  The story follows C.S. Lewis as he meets an American fan, Joy Gresham, whom he befriends and eventually marries. Shadowlands also is about his struggle with personal pain and grief – finding that the simple answers he had preached of acceptance of pain in life can’t apply for every situation.  Karen Grierson has pitched the show to TenBareToes and we’re really excited to bring her in for the production and as our first non-Nita show. The aim is to perform Shadowlands at the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre (which hosted us for The Odd Couple) next May.

As for myself, I’ve started what will likely be a longer process.  I am planning on mounting Brian Hooker’s translation of Edmund Rostand’s classic, Cyrano de Bergerac.  The show will require a huge cast as well as a large stage, not taking into consideration for the moment of the time that we’ll have to invest in stage combat practice.  This will be a longer rehearsal process than normal due to the the stage combat and I’ll be looking for a larger theatre space to work in – I have to confirm, but there will be roughly 20 people with swords swinging at one point.  We’ll want to make sure there’s LOTS of space for that.  Dates for that will be likely later in 2012 – first I have to find that space…any leads people have are incredibly welcome.

So that’s the plan for now. First things first – waiting for confirmation of rights from the proper people for Shadowlands and to put ink to paper for the theatre rental.

Thank you to the audiences that came out to Odd Couple – your laughter made it incredibly rewarding for all of us.  Thank you to my cast & crew again for everything you did – you poured your hearts & souls into that show and I cannot explain exactly how much that means to me.  I am incredibly lucky to have such amazingly talented people to draw from.

Keep an eye out here for more workshops & notices of things happening in the area.  Good night for now.

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2011-04-10 04:11 pm
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Tech weekend

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My cast and crew rocks my world. Even tech weekend which is normally frustrating and long.

20110410-041108.jpg

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2011-02-01 10:21 pm

Odd Couple and what happens when the director doesn’t get sleep!

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So – auditions for The Odd Couple were last week.  And as you may have seen if you’ve looked on the OC site recently, we have a cast.

First read through was Sunday and I have to say, the chemistry makes me very very happy.  Along with watching the actors break themselves a few times giggling as they read what they’ll be saying for the next few months (over and over) and get some of the brilliant humour and innuendo that exists in this script.  I’m going to have a lot of fun with this group.

That being said, when I contacted people, I asked them if they could keep mum until I had the whole cast.  And then because I didn’t get enough sleep Saturday night, I completely forgot to tell them that it was cool to tell the world that they were in the show.

So they, being good actors, kept quiet. And then asked the SM when they could tell the world they were in the  show. She asked me and I might have hit my forehead a few times.  Then I told the actors to go ahead…

The last little while has been a little crazy for me – between ramping up for the show, plus going through a learning curve at my new “pays for my life” job, it’s been very busy around here lately.

So my technical staff gets to thump me a little because I’m behind (but catching up!) on items that I promised them a while back.  For instance, Chris, my TD, who’s also my set designer, got me a set design a quick couple days after I took forever to get back to him on what it was that I wanted in the set to begin with.

And Ginevra, my props mistress, just got an email with the link to the massive props list – let me tell you one thing about this play – there will be LOTS of stuff for the cast to tinker with on stage.  There are 85 pages to the script, and I think there’s over a prop per page – possibly closer to 2.  Fortunately, most of it is pretty straight forward and easy to find.  I think I even have something that can stand in for the Pure-A-Tron.

I have a few more ducks to get into rows, as rehearsals start on Sunday, so I still have a little time…

I might even get some sleep in there somewhere.

Maybe.

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2011-01-22 09:27 am

Audition forms online now!

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Planning on coming to the Odd Couple auditions?

You can fill in your audition form online to save yourself time!

(My stage manager is all kinds of awesome for getting this done!)

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2011-01-20 11:46 pm

Monday is auditions…

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I keep telling myself – Monday, auditions start.  Monday, Odd Couple starts being something that’s “more real”. Monday, other people beyond the merry band of crazies start believing in this idea as well.

After Tuesday’s workshop, as my technical director, lighting designer, photographer & stage manager were there, we wound up having an impromptu discussion about some of the set design ideas.  I have some very pie in the sky desires and floated them out to see what technical solutions might be had.  What was interesting for me was that I wasn’t immediately laughed out of the room and told flat out no.  Now – we see if they can make those pie in the sky concepts actually possible, but the way the discussion went, right now, the technology is the only limitation.  If they find the machine will fill the space desired, then we’re golden.  Or at least a very nice pyrite.

I’m also doing last minute finishing to my notes about costumes & props and the like. When I get the finalised set design, I’ll be able to finish up the blocking notes.

Monday.

It’s getting close.

I can’t wait to see who comes to auditions…

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2011-01-19 11:48 pm

Resources

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As promised, the handouts from the recent workshops!

From the Props & gripping workshop:

From the Set design workshop:

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2011-01-19 12:06 am
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As soon as I figure out how to get it all uploaded

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We’ve been doing a series of workshops. There’s lots of really good information that is getting presented. The presenters have even done a spectacular job of having material to share with the workshop. They’ve even given it to me, so I can share it with the folks who were not able to make it out to the workshops.

Now as soon as I can figure out how to get it uploaded to the site, it’ll be available.

Tackling technology after 11pm at night is apparently hard for me. What happens when you let the director have to think. I’ll get there…that’s me – the little engine that could.

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2011-01-12 08:35 pm

The Odd Couple site is live!

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The folks at Design & Develop have done it again.

The site for The Odd Couple is live and gorgeous! Here – go see for yourself – http://www.tenbaretoes.com/upcoming/the-odd-couple – seriously – go check it out! I’ll wait here.

Back now?

Here you’ll find information about auditions, tickets, the theatre we’ll be performing in and the cast & crew as we have them join us.

Tickets are on sale NOW for $13 until April 1. Get yours today!

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2011-01-07 01:55 pm
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Set Design Workshop location confirmed!

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We have a LOCATION – the Math & Computers building at the University of Waterloo campus, room MC2054. If you go to the map at UW’s website (here – http://www.uwaterloo.ca/map/index.php), you can find MC towards the center top right of the map.

Parking on campus is regulated, so make sure that you’re in a proper spot as the campus police will likely be towing if they think things are in the wrong spot (especially with the snow).

Look forward to seeing you there!

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2011-01-07 08:56 am

Odd Couple AUDITIONS!

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TenBareToes Entertainment returns this April 2011 with the Neil Simon classic, The Odd Couple, performing at the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre.

Following 2010’s critical success, Taming of the Shrew, Anita Kilgour and the TenBareToes company is looking forward to taking the stage again, this time with a strong story about the joys and the pains of friendship.

“Oscar & Felix are iconic images of the love/hate relationships room…mates and friends can get into,” says Kilgour. “Even with the sheer frustration that Felix brings into his life, Oscar tries for a long time to keep his friend from doing something desperate.” Both men are dealing with the aftermath of being left by their wives and each finds his own way to deal with it. “I’m looking forward to contrasting the two – Felix and his passive- aggressive demands for attention opposite Oscar’s adamant insistence that everything is fine, even as his apartment falls apart around his ears.”

Open auditions will be taking place January 24th, 25th & 26th, starting at 7pm at MC2054 at the University of Waterloo. Please see our website at http:/www.tenbaretoes.com for more information.

Cast requirements:

6 men, 2 women, adults only, please

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Anita at akilgour@tenbaretoes.com.

Performances are April 14-16, 21-23, 28-30 all at 8pm at the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre, 9 Princess St. E., Waterloo.

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2010-10-26 04:37 pm
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Workshop update!

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So, we had our first workshop and it was a blast!

Karen, our gracious host & instructor, took the merry band that arrived for the workshop and walked us through some basic introductions to Improv.  It was really interesting hearing the different viewpoints for why people had come to the workshop and what they were hoping to get out of it.

My personal favourite exercise of the night was when Jessica Clayman KWLT‘s Penelopiad fame) and I did an alphabet scene (where each time you get to talk, it must start with the next letter in the alphabet) and it went incredibly smoothly.

I’m hoping we can convince Karen to run another Improv workshop in the spring – that class was a lot of fun.  In the meantime, if you need your Improv fix, go check out ToTE and their regular Sunday workshops.

Next workshop is Adrienne Steer’s Props & Gripping workshop on November 16th, 7pm, Hagey Hall, Room 373, at the University of Waterloo.

If you are interested in attending the workshop, please let me know so I can make sure we have space. And this time, the email should get through.  ;-)

I also have details on our January workshop (we’re taking December off for the holidays!) – Set Design with Chris Rovers, January 18, 2011, 7pm.

Set Design is a collaborative process between a Designer, the Director and the Script – with a lot of tempering influence from Reality and Physics thrown in for good measure. Come discuss Set Design with Chris Rovers, Technical Director and Set Designer for TenBareToes’ staging of “Taming of the Shrew” and “The Odd Couple”. We’ll talk about the artistic considerations, moving scenery, construction techniques, safety considerations, script reading as a Set Designer, 3D modeling software and more in this free workshop.

Chris has been doing Set Design for Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre, K-W Silver Stars and TenBareToes for the past five years. He’s created everything from castles to dingy student apartments on stage, helping bring productions to life.

We’re still confirming the location for this workshop – keep your eyes peeled for more information.

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2010-10-26 03:58 pm
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Ever have one of those days?

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Before I post about the Improv workshop and about the upcoming workshop, let me grovel for a minute.

Remember me crowing about 2 months ago that we’d changed servers and that people should be able to see the site properly (we’d been having ISP issues before).

Yah, apparently, I did not confirm properly that the email was working.  I swear, the test results came back fine, but evidently, they were the last things to do so.

Yup – today I had to log into the webmail access point for TenBareToes and found 197 messages that I hadn’t dealt with – because they never came through to my mail client.

Oops.

To everyone that I didn’t reply to in a timely fashion, please accept my sincere apologies.  I’m good at a lot of things, but apparently, smoothly changing email isn’t one of them.

I believe I have now replied to everyone who was left hanging.  The next time I get no response to a posting about an upcoming event, I’ll assume the mail isn’t working as opposed to “no one wants to come, boo!”

100 lashes with a wet noodle for me.

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2010-10-06 03:59 pm
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As we try to join the 21st century…

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It’s that time again.

Today’s lesson for me was setting up a FaceBook fan page.  Even writing that feels kind of silly.

You’d think, in the world of theatre & having set up my own company, I’d be absolutely cool with having a fan page, but in all honesty, I feel a little funny about it – isn’t fans something that movie & rock stars have?  I’m just a little actor/director/stage manager/producer/woman-who-clearly-needs-a-life-honest!

I think I’ve managed to do it right (or at least in the couple hours that it’s been up, it now has more than just me there).  It’ll also make it easier for those who use FaceBook as their primary information source to get all the latest on TenBareToes.

Please – come show me the love on FaceBook!

Reminders – check out our upcoming workshop series – the first one (Improv with Karen Lucas) is in a couple weeks! Don’t forget to sign up!

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2010-09-27 06:03 pm

Working with good people again

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I know I say that I get to work with good people a lot.  I do because it’s true.  One of the things that makes this all possible and all a LOT of fun for me is that simple fact.

Today’s “good people” aren’t theatre types at all.  One of the comments I get the most from them is “theatre is your thing – you explain what you need from that perspective”.

If you look around you at this site, and at the sub-site that was for Shrew, you’ll notice a lovely cohesive look.  The look and feel of this site and all the coding/design work that was done for it was done by Design & Develop.  Two years ago, I went to a meeting with Opal Gamble, their Development Director, to discuss how to bring TenBareToes to life online.  I had a messload of random ideas of what I wanted to be able to accomplish:  sell tickets through the site, have a central place to be able to put promotional material online, talk about the theatre company and hopefully talk about theatre in general.

She walked through all of the ideas with me and was able to extract from my artistic ramblings something that worked.  Her partner, Paul Sveda, was able to take my blowsy notions of what the graphics for the site & the inaugural show should be and give me back something that was gorgeous.

More than all of that?  They believed in the project – they heard the passion in my voice & words for TenBareToes and they knew their business enough to trust me in mine.  That – that’s worth gold when you’re starting something new (and a little scary).  Someone who knows their stuff enough to let you give them the hard work you don’t know and trusts you to do the stuff you do know well.

We’re in early discussions (setting timetables and the like) for The Odd Couple and I was just reminded how much I enjoy working with them.

If you ever do a project, get good people that are talented at what they do.  It makes life a heck of a lot easier…

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2010-09-22 03:49 pm
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Penelopiad

(Since it opens tomorrow)

For me, it's an honor to have someone ask my opinion on the work they have done as a director. Especially when they ask for it when the work is still in process.

A few weeks ago, [livejournal.com profile] persephoneplace asked me to come see the show and provide some play polish. I went and spent an evening with the cast about 2 weeks ago. It was my first time doing any kind of play polish for someone else and it was an interesting experience (and one I hope I get to repeat - if nothing else, the experience of picking apart another director's mind for "why did you make that choice?" was a lot of fun).

I have to be honest - I didn't go in expecting to like it. Margaret Atwood isn't an author I enjoy, nor do I normally enjoy feminist dark plays. I'll also be honest & say that it still isn't my cuppa - Atwood isn't an author I'll ever spend a lot of time really grooving on.

That aside, the show is good. Jessica, who plays Penelope has possibly one of the most brutal parts I've seen in a while - a goodly amount of what she does is monologue, which is hard to do. She engages the audience, letting them have that window into the heart & soul of a woman who finally has perspective on what happened to her.

The communal chorus characters use that communal mouthpiece in really interesting ways. As if their lot in life as the maids had forged them into a single mind, there are many of their speeches that nicely come out as a single thought with many tongues. Add in that they are also all the secondary characters in Penelope's tale and you have something that is occasionally difficult - switching from lusty suitor to servile maid to saucy sailor with little more than a heartbeat between.

It's not an easy play. I applaud the ladies for the work they have done. Here's hoping they get the audience they deserve.

Information & tickets here
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2010-09-18 07:24 am
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Just for the record

I have some crazy talented friends.
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2010-09-15 09:15 am
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Reminder of the upcoming Improv workshop with Karen Lucas!

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Hello all!

Just a reminder of the upcoming free Improv workshop being taught by the lovely & talented Karen Lucas on October 19 at 7pm.

Karen has been saying yes to improv for over sixteen years. She performs regularly and teaches workshops with Waterloo’s long running improv troupe Theatre On The Edge. Karen has also run an improv camp for children and designed workshops using improv to promote self discovery. The tools learned in improv are great for the stage and for life!

This workshop is Improv for actors (and wannabe actors). Learn some basics of improv and how to use those skills to navigate the challenges of live theatre. We’ll cover the basics of improv and then get into some fun applications for the actor. How to get through a scene when someone has forgotten their lines, prop or set malfunctions, or other unexpected happening on stage. This workshop will be fun and functional!

Karen is also one of the founders and driving forces behind the Royal Medieval Faire, this Saturday at Waterloo Park. The faire draws on the improv skills of its performers as they create a magical medieval day in 21st century Waterloo.

This year, the Royal Medieval Faire will take place on Saturday, September 18th, 2010 from 11am – 6pm in Waterloo Park West. Admission is $5.00 per person, $2.50 for children 10 & under. This event is suitable for all ages and has something to offer everyone. The admission covers everything in the park except vendor merchandise, food and beverages. It is a great day for the entire family and those interested in history and the arts.

The Improv workshop will be held at Karen’s studio space at the Globe Studios, at 141 Whitney Place in Kitchener. Her studio is unit 13/14 (the bright yellow doors), towards the loading dock end of the building.

There are still a few spaces available for this workshop, so make sure you book yours today!

Don’t forget our Props & Gripping workshop on November 16th and a quick heads-up on the January workshop – Set Design with Chris Rovers on January 18 – details to come!

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2010-08-30 09:15 am

Next Year’s Show – we got the rights!!

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Excuse me for a minute while I gush like a schoolgirl…

We got the rights! I’ve been waiting on eggshells for about a month now and I can finally announce it.

April 2011 will be the next TenBareToes production – Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple! The nice folks at Samuel French confirmed with me this week that we are a go for the production!

I’m really looking forward to working on this modern classic and very funny play. I’ll be having all kinds of fun working on the dichotomy and similarities of Oscar & Felix. I’ve already started working with the graphics & web design people to the marketing started.

We’ll be holding auditions January 24-26, 2011, starting at 7pm. I’ll keep folks posted as to location, as well as the usual details of characters & the like, as soon as I have that confirmed.

For those who had some transportation issues getting out to Shrew, you’ll be delighted to hear that we’ll be a little more centrally (for K-W) located this time. The nice folks at KWLT have agreed to rent their theatre to us. Performances will be April 14-16, 21-23 & 28-30, 2011, all shows starting at 8pm.

I’ve confirmed Stacey Saunders, one of our brilliant ASMs for Shrew will be at my side as Stage Manager for Odd Couple and I’m trying to entice another local into acting as my producer. I’ve also asked a few other folks to act as experts for me in a few areas (eg. what I know about poker can get written longhand on a playing card itself). We’ll be looking for more people to get involved back stage, on stage and in the promotional end of things, so there’s lots of opportunities to get involved. If you want more information, please feel free to get in touch with me.

The next few months will be work for yours truly as I go through the script more than a few times to figure out what I need as director – one of my favourite parts of any show – starting to build the dream out of whole cloth.

Till next time!

Anita

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2010-08-09 10:58 am
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Workshop Details: Grip that Prop!

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November 16th at 7pm, Adrienne Steer, Props Mistress & Key Grip extraordinaire is going to be presenting a workshop on props & gripping.

Adrienne has been doing props for theatre companies including Guelph Little Theatre, Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre, and TenBareToes Entertainment for shows such as Titus Andronicus, Of Mice and Men, You Can’t Take it With You and Dangerous Liaisons. Never one to shy away from a challenge, she has most recently figured out what to do with a couch that doesn’t fit through any doors and how to make a lute that can actually play. Some of her favourite moments have included finding the perfect bean-free recipe for beans, filling rats with blood, and creating a pair of severed hands.

If you’ve ever wanted to play real life tetris, know what to feed an actor who is allergic to anything, or to figure out just how much you can do with paper mache, then join us for this introduction to props and gripping!

We have had confirmation of location – we’ll be in Hagey Hall, Room 373, at the University of Waterloo (there’s parking near the building – coin operated machines.  “H-Lot” – the parking lot right across Ring Road from Hagey – runs $3 for entry).  If you need directions, just let me know

If you are interested in participating in this workshop, please contact  info@tenbaretoes.com.  Spots are limited and will be on a first come-first served basis – we’ve already started to get takers for this, so get your spot quickly!

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2010-08-08 05:21 pm

How to use the end of a show

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The show ended a couple weeks ago. Long enough for the production crew to have a chance to catch up on real lives and consider the lessons & successes of Shrew.  I thought I’d share a few of them – some that surprised me, one that makes me hang my head in shame for being so naive.

Tickets

One of the small decisions we made for Shrew was to not print tickets, per se, but send confirmation emails to those who purchased tickets and have them print them out and bring them to the performance.  Given that we live in the age of the Internet, it seemed like a reasonable idea.

You’d be surprised how much our patrons said what they really wanted was to have a ticket, a conventional ticket, in their hands.  Or at least, I was surprised, at first.

Then again, it makes sense.  Tickets give you a tangible thing to hold on to – something that lets you feel the anticipation of an event, even without any other reminders.  It lets you have that sense of belonging to something special, even before it starts.  I am thinking back to when I was young and my parents would take me to Disneyland – the classic “E ticket” that would let me ride on one of the “cool rides“.  Even if it took me a long time to use it, holding it in my hands, making sure I hadn’t lost it, etc, gave me that thrill that comes with having a physical ticket.

So, going forward, we’re going to offer our patrons an option:  for those who want to continue as we have done, we will send you your confirmation email and you can print it off OR you can request that we send you a ticket and we’ll send it off to you.

Communications or “How to use backstage chatter to improve overall market message”

SM Heather had a brilliant tool that she employed throughout the production.  At the end of each rehearsal (for the start, weekly towards the end), she would send an email to the production staff – the technical director, props, costumes, music, etc) letting them know things that had developed out of that day’s rehearsal.  Whenever we found that we’d need a specific thing, we needed a set piece to survive a certain amount of force, or costumes that would have new & interesting stresses put on them, she’d include it.  When I would say “Remind me that I want to look at X”, that would get included.  It allowed the information to get farmed out to the respective areas and provided her with a simple method of follow up – if she didn’t hear from people about the message, she’d know that there was a breakdown in communication and take further steps.  It also kept the rest of the production staff up to date on what was going on in other departments than their own.  It made it easier to share that information.

Why not apply this same technique to the Producer’s job?  Perhaps not on a daily basis, but a weekly message to the cast & crew letting them know what ticket sales are like, what publicity opportunities have come up, etc.  And if we’re going to do that, why not also use it as a way to improve the quality of our social media output?  Not have the producer provide the media, but provide suggestions for ways to promote the show beyond the “Buy Tickets!” message – seed ideas for blog posts, tweets, Facebook statuses, etc.  The producer would be in a better position to massage the message and keep up to date on what information was going out for the show.  They could even coordinate cast/crew members’ input into this blog – giving a more “insider’s look” to a given production than just my voice.

It would also open up more dialogue between the cast/crew & the producer – more creative minds means more ideas of how to promote the show.  That’s no bad thing and gives the producer a larger well to tap from.

Always have a Plan B

Here’s where I get to hang my head a little and admit that I got cocky.  As you know, we had to cancel a performance because Polly – our Kate – was very ill and had been in and out of hospital a bunch that week.

There were many reasons we weren’t prepared, but the biggest was my fault – a total lack of a viable Plan B.

In previous productions, thanks to having listened to so many of the rehearsals, if one of the actors keeled over, myself or one of the other stage management crew could step in, if needs be.  Two problems with that clever bit of planning – combining someone who could pick up the lines as quickly as needed with a body that could fit in Kate’s dresses.  Oops.

I shudder to think what would have happened if it had been Nick instead of Polly – I can fit in Nick’s costumes, but I don’t think many people will ever truly believe I’m a man (and the rest of the SM team were all women and even more voluptuous than myself…)

We’ve come up with a small list of ways to avoid that in the future, while addressing the concerns of having volunteer actors. Everything from straight understudies to having the multiple actors learn the same bits and then have set dates that they’ll swap roles came out.  It was a hard lesson to learn, but hopefully, we learned it the hard way and won’t make that mistake again – Plan B – it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law – Murphy’s still out there and Plan B just makes sense.

There were other things that came out of the post mortem meeting, but these were three of the biggies.  Hopefully sharing the lessons we learned help other theatre companies just starting out.