You can tell I'm in the middle of directing a show because I haven't been able to blog lately. But I did want to share the latest Call-Back episode featuring City of Angels, the musical I'm currently in rehearsals for.
This has been a phenomenal cast and crew to work with. Just the nicest, most professional group in a long time. And I love the people at Brecksville Theater on the Square. Also a sweet bunch of folks who know what they're doing, know how to engage volunteers and know how to work together to put shows on the stage. Other theaters could really learn from the BTOTS model.
With a month to go until opening, this is when things really get interesting...we move from our rehearsal space into the actual theater next week and to have an entire month on stage is a luxury not commonly afforded. It has been my experience sometimes, however, that that move can also bring challenges.
All of us performers can be divas at times. After weeks of rehearsing in a certain space with a certain understanding of the specifics of the set and props, etc., it can be challenging to have to suddenly make a few adjustments around the reality of what the actual space and set are like. I'm a big believer in giving the cast as much information and ammunition about what the actual performance environment will be like from the very first read-thru. We use rehearsal props and set pieces, tape the floor with the specifications of the stage, rehearse scene changes. But it is inevitable that things always will be slightly different when the actual set is built. This is why it's so great to have a full month to adjust to the space and the set and also why it's so important to have a mature, professional and flexible cast.
Making adjustments to reality is not a problem for the aforementioned mature, professional and FLEXIBLE actor. Big problem for the diva. I've been in situations where the complaints and whining from cast members started almost immediately after stepping on the actual performance stage. I've seen the actors with the panicked look in their eye swearing none of their blocking will work because there are 4 steps instead of 3 or whatever. I've said it to casts before and I will again- don't bring me problems, bring me solutions. If you let yourself enjoy the challenge of it, finding those solutions is the fun part of producing a show. I choose to work with the people I do because they are brilliant, creative performers and yes - problem solvers. Yes, the director is the leader of the project and needs to approve changes or ideas, but we also need great problem solvers around us. Great ideas don't come from just one person and if an idea will make things smoother or better - no matter where it comes from - give it to me! I love it when someone says "I was thinking about it and I wondered if it would work better to have me come in from stage left instead of stage right because now that the actual chair is sitting there it's in the way" as opposed to "I don't know how I'm ever going to make my entrance here with this chair in the way".
Think about that in your own work environment. Isn't it true with just about any job?