Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day Four - People! Posters! PATTY!!

Today started out with another production staff meeting, where everyone checked in with their progress and such. Thomas finally make it back from Disneyland, which was great. Everything seems to be going smoothly so far. Linda, our costume designer, even showed up on campus today, earlier than expected! Yay!
Highlights from the pstaff meeting:
  • My note taking is very strange. For example: Transitions need to be highly aware of by us.
  • Marisa's check-in about costumes: "We had a miniature version of "Say Yes to the Dress" yesterday, and Nora said Yes to the very first dress!" This comment of course "warmed Jeff's heart."
  • Dark time (where the lights people do lighting things) and quiet time (where the sound people do sounding things) will be shared! Sharing is good. Way to go, Lizzie and Abbie.
  • Speaking of Abbie, when Kyle P. was talking to her, I thought he was talking to me at first so I looked up. He stopped and was like "Oh, I think you're great." That comment was later taken back when I took a picture of him looking silly. And then laughed. At him. :)
  • Theresa asked Thomas if he was planning on meeting with Joe Golia at some point, RIGHT WHEN JOE GOLIA WALKED DIRECTLY BEHIND HER. He stopped and was like, "Hey! I'm Joe Golia!!!" It was too funny. Cole then commented on how maybe saying "Joe Golia" was like saying "Voldemort" in Harry Potter 7. Hmm...
After the pstaff meeting, we all dispersed to put up posters everywhere. Today was move-in day, so all the dorms were open. It was so fun to walk around and watch people haul their stuff and set up their stuff and meet people and say goodbye to parents and things. I still remember what it was like last year...
When I finished postering, I chilled out in the box office with Cole and Jeff and several members of the executive board. At one point Cole introduced me, Jeff and Abbie to one of his friends who is a freshman. His exact phrase was: "This is Abby, Jeff and Abbie. Saves my butt, saves my butt, lights my butt." It was hilarious.
When postering was done, we all headed back to the rehearsal hangar for rehearsals. Cole and the actors worked on a few scenes, and then we had our first stumble-through. (A stumble-through is a run-through where things don't go smoothly and it is ok.)
Here are some highlights
  • Cole describing scene 4 as a thunderstorm: humid and uncomfortable at first, then the clouds break and it rains and is terrible, then everything is clear and nice.

  • Rapture: A feeling of intense pleasure.
  • TIBBY!!! No. PATTY!!
  • Don't let the bed bugs buh bugs bed bite?
  • Scene 5 making me cry. Like, seriously. Woah.
  • Today was Tucker's birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TUCKER!! We had a cake and everything, which is why we are awesome. We sang to him even though he was a "modest mouse." :)
Pictures to follow in another post.

Day Four - Edge of Glory

Hey guys.
So, this isn't directly related to the O-Show, but I am going to talk about it anyway. Bear with me.

One of the things that I love about theatre at Tufts is that you DON'T have to be a Drama major to be involved in productions. Not only that, but even if you are involved in lots of theatre things, you can still have a life OUTSIDE OF THEATRE. Crazy right?
Well, my life outside of theatre at Tufts (that doesn't include eating, sleeping and getting a fantastic liberal arts education...) is Irish dancing. I am part of the Tufts Irish Dance Club, a group of about 10 dancers that all have past experience in dancing. Last year, we danced to Beyoncé at TDC, which was AWESOME.

Tonight, we danced at the first night variety show thing for the class of 2015. We danced to Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory." It was great.
Part of the reason I haven't blogged much yet today is because the past 24 hours have been spent learning and practicing the routine (when I am outside of rehearsal, of course.). During rehearsal we are getting to the point where I need to pay attention to the script more and such, and thus have less time to blog.
Anyway, if you are interested in theatre at Tufts, don't think for a SECOND that joining up will mean you won't be able to do anything else. With organization and dedication, you can do a whole lot more than you ever thought possible. For example, dance in front of 1300 peers with a giant triangle on your eye.

I am Lady Gaga hear me RAWRRRRRR!!

Day Four - Meet the Director!

Me: Hey Cole! I'm gonna send you an email with some questions for the blog!
Cole: Ok!

Why did you decide on Fables for Friends?
A lot of the decision making behind the selection of FFF was constraint based. That's one of the first/hardest things that a director encounters when working on a show. I looked through probably 500 titles that fit the constraints, of those I would say maybe 150 had titles were interesting enough for me to actually read about. FFF was one that I was drawn to largely because I find it to be an intriguing mixture of comedy and drama. I love shows that can make you laugh while still showing you something that matters, and FFF is a very good example of that.

What is the show about? Why is it relevant to freshmen at Tufts?
Wow...honestly what isn't this show about? It's your life dude! I think scene 3 is the most obviously relevant scene because it's set in a college dorm room. Getting past the surface though this show is just all about the roles that friends will play in your life. If there's one thing that was on my mind when I moved here from California last year, it was that I needed to make friends and fast! FFF is dedicated to the idea that friends are the ones that will just let you be. Most people in life make demands on you in one form or another, friends know that they have to give as much as they get, and that's what makes them unique and beautiful relationship

Have you directed before?
Yes! I've been focusing on direction since my Junior year of high school. The first mainstage that I directed was Freak by Naomi Iizuka in my Senior year. This will be my second mainstage lead direction role. In the interim I have served as an assistant director on numerous professional and academic productions. Directing is a total blast and I heartily suggest it to anyone interested in theatre.

How did you get involved in 3Ps and directing?
HAHA, if any of you joined me on one of my tours then you've heard this story. It's pretty long so I'll compress down to the elements. Basically I walked into the 3P's ice cream social meet and greet and I was freaking out about everything! I walked up to the main booth, and spoke with one Jeewon Kim (he was one of many total bosses in jealous). I asked if I could AD anything with them, he told me he wasn't doing anything at the time, but he would go grab his friend Logan (another such boss). Logan sat down with me asked me a bit about my directing and “hired” me on the spot. The show was Assassins, and believe me you don't want to get me started I'll never shut up. In any case, at that point the ball was rolling. Even if I had wanted to slow it down I don't know that it could have been slowed. That's one of the beautiful things about this community, if I might mangle a quote “it want's you to want it, it needs you to need it, it would love you to love it.” From there I just kept doing stuff and I won't stop till I graduate and I hope you guys join me for the next three years of adventures!

How did you prepare for rehearsals over the summer?
Preparation for this show was difficult. It was a late and uncertain start, and I had never actually seen any of the actors play their roles, which is absolutely terrifying. To be totally honest, preparation in advance was fairly shallow for me in terms of the actors and the blocking. It was a lot of discussion with the designers about concept and artistic unity. And even more discussion between Jeff (the SM) and I about scheduling and general directorial neediness. With how much we all had going this summer I think our prehearsal (shut up it's a word) was pretty excellent. As far as my actual process, a lot of reading and just kind of thinking. I don't like committing much to paper without discussing it with my actors first, so it was all still very mercurial upon my arrival.

What are you most excited about this week?
I think it's twofold. I take a huge amount of pride in theatre that I'm even marginally involved in, so when I'm actually directing a show I get pretty emotionally invested. So the first thing I'm excited about is watching this thing that starts as ink and paper and empty words become a complex, fleshed out, human story. To be honest, in reading this show I was so nervous; too many things contributed to that than I can list here but needless to say I was freak-a-leakin. As soon as I head the actors during first read I knew this would be a blast. Which brings me to number two, which would, and always will, be working with the people. 3P's is a community of friends first, which is what theatre should be. Coming back a week early to an empty campus and spending every day with these people is a deeply badass experience.

What do you think your biggest challenge is this week?
TIME AND TECH! I think most directors will complain about this regardless of the months and millions that they have available to them...I call mularkey on their protestations. Putting up a fully realized, conceptualized piece in a week (in a hurricane no less) requires more than a little coordination, and more than a lot of compromise. A director I've worked with says that a director is only as good as the people he works with, which is truer than anyone who doesn't direct can know. Fortunately, throughout this whole process I have a had a hugely supportive and talented Production Staff that maintained a very can do attitude about most of the things that I got all artsy about...which has been a huge comfort.

Is it weird being a sophomore while most of the other cast and pstaff are upperclassmen?
You know at first I thought it might be, then about 6 minutes later I remembered where I was and what I was doing. It's only as weird as I wanted to make it be, and while I love nothing more than being wacky, this didn't need it. There is such a level of mutual respect among members of this cast and crew (at least I respect all of them...sure hope that's a two way street :D). But a little more seriously, this is not a community where being an underclassman makes a you a second class citizen. Pardon my french, but if you're chill and you kick a ton of ass then no one will make it weird for you...and if they do talk to me and I'll be and intimidating and beat 'em up...grrrr?

What is it like directing in the arena?
Directing in the arena is pretty uncomfortable at first. I knew what I was getting into but it's a monster of an experience regardless. After the first few scenes it started to feel pretty natural and I caught my stride. I don't know though, I think when you all see the show that will be the real test of how it is for me directing in the arena. My goal is to have 100% of the audience be 100% engaged in the show. That is both lofty, and a bit foolish, especially given the constraints of always having someone behind someone no matter what I do. So if I have you locked in for 95% of this show I think I succeeded. And honestly at this point, my actors are such ballers that no amount of Angry Birds can keep you occupied here!

Favorite character and/or line and/or scene?
The hardest of questions...sheesh Abby. Without giving away too much I'll give a quick go at each one. Character: This is actually the hardest one because almost every character is either a bit of me, or a bit of a friend of mine. If I had to choose I would say Cappy from scene 9, once you hear his closing monologue I hope you'll know why. Line: Well it's a comedy right? So I laugh a lot when I'm working on this show (which is always vaguely awkward, a bit like laughing at your own joke) but maybe never more so than when Deirdre enters with “This seems to require some comment from me” and Nicky responds with “What Doesn't!?” Part of it, obviously is the actors' brilliant deliveries, and part is that it's such a perfectly true moment. As far as favorite scene, this is tough because each one has a very different attitude. I won't go into specifics because I don't want to ruin it, but 3 is probably my favorite to watch. The one i feel most strongly about and will end up thinking about most (both during and after the show) is scene 4.

Favorite moment of rehearsal so far?
IMPOSSIBLE, I mean I'm only two days in as I write this and I can't even remember all of the good moments. If you really want a look at what I think is awesome and fun and such, well, ask me in person! But I'll provide an answer. The moment that made me happiest was when we ran scene 4 at lightning, super speed. I can't tell you why but that was a very important moment for me. To be a little sillier, sitting and watching dumb animal movies was pretty fun. Also, in retrospect, I'm pretty proud of my line concerning the actors' relationships' to set changes. If you haven't yet read all of Abby's fabulous posts, then now you have to so you can find out the big mystery of what I said!

Do you have any advice for freshmen interested in directing?
DO IT! Directing is awesome! Like many things in life doing is the best practice for directing. Unfortunately, there's only so much stage space available to us so we can't all be directing all the time. When it comes down to it directing is a whole melange of talents and quirks. Reading, and communication are the biggest pieces. You have to be able to read something and quickly dig past the grassy, soily layers and find the bedrock, the real core of the piece. Communication is the even more important factor. It doesn't matter how brilliant your artistic vision is if you can't effectively communicate it to your cast and designers. There are a ton of other things that go into but I would focus on those two first. If you want to talk more about directing I would be more than happy to talk to you! Let me know!

Now, Abby said I could have my own little bit here, and by damn I'll take it. With Drama as one of my majors it's really no surprise that you're getting the gushing review from me here. I urge you guys to consult second opinions. You'll find that 3P's appeals as much to Engineers, International Relation-ers, and Child Developers as it does to me. Now I can't make anyone else talk to you (but I'm sure they would be missing out!). Instead I'm just gonna offer myself up in their place! So if you wanna talk find me anywhere! Balch is a pretty safe bet, I live in Carm so anywhere up hill is good. I'm a tour guide so give me a yell if you see me walking backwards somewhere (yell especially loudly if I'm about to be walking backwards off somewhere) or just email me! or either one works. I do shows because I love directing, but I did this show because I love when my work means something to some one I care about. Well without getting overly cornball on you guys, I care about this community (both 3P's and the broader Tufts experience). This school means a whole hell of a lot to me and I'm really excited to be adding another 1.5k to my extended family! So on behalf of myself and everyone on this staff, be happy, be healthy, be welcome and more than on time to the show, or else you might miss some shenanigans!

Cole von Glahn

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day Three - Producing!

Here be the first of many interviews! I emailed Emily, one of our co-producers, to ask her a few things about producing this show. Here are her responses! YAY!

How did you get involved in this show? Have you produced before?
Last year I was the Assistant Producer for a 3Ps production, so a member of 3Ps asked if I would be interested in Producing this year's O-Show. Thomas was originally Producer for the TTII O-show, but we spoke and decided to collaborate on both productions.

What is special about the O-Show, producing-wise?
Everything is on a shorter schedule given the fact that we have only a week of rehearsal time, and the budget is smaller than for an average production. There also is no fundraising aspect, as the show is sponsored by the OCL.

What is the most difficult thing about producing an O-show?
Given that this is my first time producing, I would say that the most challenging thing has been figuring out how everything fits together and how to time various aspects of production.

What is the most fun thing about producing an O-show?
It's been really fun getting to know the various people involved in the show and being a part of the production team behind the show.

What are you most looking forward to this week?
I'm looking forward to seeing the show opening night when all the various components come together!

What exactly does an Producer do, anyway?

A Producer's main responsibilities include acquiring rights for the show, creating a budget, publicizing the production, and other details such as making the programs and arranging photocall.

What do you think of the play?
From what I've seen so far it seems like a really fun, interesting, funny, and thought-provoking show. I can't wait to see it as the week progresses and the final product.

Any advice for freshmen interested in producing?
Contact current student Producers and express an interest in assisting and learning about producing. There are lots of shows that happen throughout the year so there is always an opportunity available.

Day Three - Introducing...the Balch Arena

When I was assistant stage managing last fall, one of my jobs was to take notes during pstaff meetings. This was scary on two fronts. One, I didn't know anyone's name and that made everything very confusing. Two, the pstaff kept using weird words like "vom," "dog" and "able."
I had NO idea what these things were.
It was at that point that I was truly introduced to the Balch Arena.

First off, this stage is an arena stage. (Duh, Abby! It has "arena" in the NAME.) Another name for this kind of stage is "theatre in the round." It was a concept developed by Margo Jones in 1947, so it is relatively new to theatre.

The defining features of an arena stage are:
  • There is no curtain,
  • The scenery is minimal,
  • And most importantly, the audience surrounds the stage.
The actors enter from entrances that run underneath the seats. These entrances are called "vomitoriums" or "voms" for short. The Balch Arena has five voms, named Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog and Easy. Why these weird names, you ask? Well, they come from two plays by Tom Stoppard: Dogg's Hamlet and Cahoot's Macbeth. So, during blocking, we have directions such as: "Enter through Dog, cross to Abel, Exit Abel and grab elephant, enter Charlie..." etc. etc. Each of the voms breaks through the audience seating and splits it into five sections. These don't have fancy names. They are just numbered. The important thing to know is that section 3 is the big one. Just like Dog is the big vom.

The backstage in an arena is extra exciting, because it circles around and underneath the audience. I can't think of how many miles I have logged walking around and around and around down there. During performances, the backstage area is lit with cool blue lights.

As a director and audience member, shows done "in the round" are both exciting and
annoying at the same time. They are exciting because the actors are RIGHT THERE. The action is SO CLOSE to you, that you can see the details of people's expressions and you feel like a part of the show. They are annoying because sometimes the actors are not facing you. (There is no
such thing as "cheating out" in arena blocking.) Watching people's backs isn't very interesting. That is why it is the director's job to make sure that the action on stage is visible to as many people as possible. For set designers, arena stages are tough because the set cannot block the audiences' view of the stage action. However, you can still do really cool things with arena sets. For example, turn the voms into forests. (Pictured above: Uncle Vanya, Fall 2010)

The Balch Arena stage is exciting because section 3 can be removed completely, and the stage ban be transformed into a THRUST STAGE. (Personally, I love thrust stages the best, because you get the intimacy of the arena, but you also have room for a backdrop if you wanted one.) This is done every once in a while at Tufts.

Pretty cool eh?

Day Three - Yeah. Wassup. I'm setting up the stage. NBD.

There are a LOT of props and furniture pieces in this show.
The set, set dressings, props, and costumes change between each scene.
There are eight transitions.
As Kyle P. noted earlier, there should definitely be a computer program for figuring this stuff out.

Both Jeff and I took notes on transitions. I wrote down what each person moved during each transition and where they entered/exited. While I am confident in my note-taking skills, I'm pretty sure I didn't get quite everything...and besides, things are going to change again. Especially once we add props and random useless set dressings. It's probably a good thing anyway, since my handwriting got so messy I'm not sure it is legible anymore...
All I know for sure is that pre-setting the props and set pieces backstage is gonna be a pain in the backside. And guess whose job that is? (Maybe Jeff or Kyle P. or Theresa will be nice and help me with that...)

Anyways, here are some lovely moments from rehearsal this morning:
  • Just be goofy to break the awkwardness.
  • Who's ready to be unhappy? YAY! LOL! It's the SAD SCENE!! The bottomless void of unhappiness!
  • Exploding pigeons and rice. EVERYWHERE. Oh, and bubbles too.
  • Exactly HOW big is this vanity?
  • Team Cot-Shamble
  • Morass: An area of muddy or boggy ground, a complicated or confused situation.
  • Wait. Wait. Whaaaat???
  • Wearing green makes you look sickly. Don't do it.

Blocking scene 9.
(That rehearsal block is ACTUALLY a coat-rack. Come on, SUSPEND YOUR DISBELIEF, PEOPLE.)

Cole the All Powerful on his perch. Don't make him mad or he will throw pencils.

Figuring out transitions.

We have now been kicked out of the arena so the cast of the TTII show can rehearse. Right at this second Cole is giving notes to the cast as they relax on the floor of the Hangar. (btw, the Hangar was painted green. It is no longer ugly. Whaaat?)

All that is left today are some costume fittings. Woot.

Meanwhile the rest of campus is bracing itself for the arrival of the rest of the new students on matriculation day tomorrow. My fingers are crossed that it won't be unbearably hot and gross like last year. Because that sucked. It's a good thing that I was so excited to finally get to Tufts that I hardly noticed. :)

Day Three - This is actually a play about hoarding...friends?

It is currently 1:44pm. We are on break. The actors and Cole are now sitting in section one, laughing at animals doing stupid things on the internet. Yep.

Kyle P. just walked in: "So you guys agree that I am the most thug-like of everyone in 3ps, right?"

We have finished blocking ALL THE THINGS. We have also reviewed ALL THE THINGS.*
Now the task is (dun dun duuuuunnnn) TRANSITIONS!! Cole's idea is to make the transitions more like parts of the show, with the actors moving the furniture and props while changing costume.
Basically, by the end of the show there will be LOTS of furniture and props and stuff and things on stage. Kind of like a hoard.

But you know...of friendships.

*translation = all 9 scenes

Day Three - Anybody want any strawberries?

Tuesday morning began with a production staff meeting bright and early at 9am. We gathered at the tables in the Aidekman lobby, and many people brought their breakfast with them. Jeff R., the assistant lighting designer, produced a container of strawberries to share. They were yummy.

Highlights of the meeting include:
  • Cole comparing the stage to the Room of Requirement.
  • Michelle explaining her ideas on how to make Kevin look balding, then running off to the zillion other things she is doing this week.
  • Kyle P. on the dorm scene: "It should be very painterly. Just a suggestion of the space." Also, explaining on how he found a "mad-ghetto" chandelier.
  • Theresa deciding to skip the whole steering wheel thing. It would just look weird. Even though we all agree that pantomiming a steering wheel always looks weird. A real one with an imaginary car would look...more weird.
In other news, Linda (costume designer) is still stuck in New York because Albany is flooded. :( But Thomas (co-producer) is flying in from LA tonight! Huzzah!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day Two - Picture Time!

"I call this my 'Trying to look like I haven't eaten' pose" - Kevin
Why he is in a dress? Why not?

Blocking Scene 6.

Practicing lines in the lobby.

Cole and Jeff discuss the set.

These college boys are models?

Blocking Scene 2.

Cole gives a note. Or goes RAWR...

Day Two - Block ALL THE THINGS (Cole - 4:33pm)

It is blocking time! WOO!!
After lunch, we all gathered in Balch Arena for an afternoon and evening of blocking. All the things. (Well, most of them...)

Pretty much the format of what is going on right now goes like this:
1. Jeff and I set up the rehearsal furniture (large blocks and folding chairs FTW!)
2. The actors...act. And wonderfully at that. :P
3. Cole watches and gives them notes on blocking and such.
4. Jeff and I are "on-book" so if an actor forgets a line, we remind them. Jeff also compiles the rehearsal report, where he writes down any set/prop/etc. notes for the designers. At the moment there are LOTS of prop notes. Yay.
5. We all laugh at something funny/silly/inappropriate/awkward.
6. Jeff and Cole negotiate set pieces and transitions.
7. Rinse and repeat for each scene. (btw there are 9 scenes...)

While the actors are not working with Cole, they are working on their lines. Some have them on flashcards, others just sit there and talk animatedly and silently to themselves. Oh actors. <3

Some random tidbits of fun:
  • EXPLOSIONS of napkins!
  • How DO you hold a cigarette, anyway?
  • "You need to look like an independent and baller-ish human being" - Cole
  • "ANYWAYS, back to Time Travel!" - Kevin. Multiple times.
  • So.Much.Awkward.
  • "Hey, woah, yes, ouch!" - Nora
  • Tucker looks like a sad puppy and all females in the room go "awwwww"
  • The word "painterly" means "artistic." Apparently it is one of set designers' 10 favorite words...
  • Also, "oleo" is margarine.
  • "Let's just chat about eating butter" - Cole
  • Once, twice, thrice, quad-rice?
  • Eric tells Cole the couch we will use will be heavy. Cole responds with "I forsee the actors manning up..."

Day Two - A look at our CRAZY schedule

Just to give you an idea of the sheer amount of TIME in rehearsal we are going through this week, this is a picture of the schedule on my iCal. Granted, individual events can get shifted around, but in general, we are working all-day, err-day. WOOOOOOOO!!!!

Day Two - We have a T-Shirt!

At the pstaff meeting last night:
Emily: So, we have a t-shirt design! If anybody is interested... We won't get them in time to advertise, but they can still be souvenirs!
The rest of the pstaff: *non-committal grunts*
Emily: Umm, ok.
Cole: Well I know I want one!
The rest of the pstaff: *more grunting, with slightly more enthusiasm*
Emily: Well if there are at least 10 people that want them...
Cole: Sure, why not!
The rest of the pstaff: ...Yeah. Ok. Sure!

And so there will be t-shirts.

I know I am excited. I love t-shirts. You can never have too many of them. :)

*Note: The title of the TTII show has been blurred due to rights restrictions.

Day Two - Bacchus is BACK! (But watch out for the monkey!)

Day Two. Monday. First full day of rehearsals. It is gorgeous outside. The sun is shining, the birdies are singing, the facilities people are cleaning up the underwhelming aftermath of Irene, the pre-orientation kids are smiling and friend-making... All is well. Huzzah!
Today I entered the Aidekman Arts Center
for the first time this year. Let me just tell you that I LIVE there. Like really. If I am not sleeping or in class, chances are I am in that building. It was great to be back. I met Jeff in the box office, and he bestowed upon me the keys to the rehearsal hangar, and a lovely cup of coffee. (THANKS JEFF!) After setting up the Hangar for this morning's table work, I set off to prop-stock to gather rehearsal props with Theresa, the prop designer. (For those who are wondering, table work is when the director sits down with the actors and they talk about their characters and the scenes. And the friendships between the characters. There is a lot of that.)

Let me just say that I love prop stock. You can find the most random things in there. From gas-masks to stone busts to samovars, prop stock has pretty much everything. Except for a steering wheel. We will need one of those. Hmm. Theresa and I went through the list of props, and gathered what we needed in a big box. In the process we found a GIANT FUZZY SCARY MONKEY. I do NOT want to encounter that thing in the dark.

After collecting rehearsal props, I left Theresa and went upstairs to the box office where I made copies of important papers and such on the copy machine, named "Bacchus." Esti (the stage manager for the TTII show) was also in there, making copies. While we were in there, Downing Cless, the chair of the Drama department, stopped by. Coincidentally, he is directing the fall department show, Oedipus and Antigone, which Esti is stage managing and I am assistant stage managing. So it was a very happy reunion. (ps. Downing is AWESOME.)

And now I am sitting in the Hangar as the actors talk about characters and friendships and the friendships of their characters.

Day One - THE POSTER!!

This is the poster for the show! It was designed by Thomas' brother.
It is colorful and pretty and oh-so-exciting. It also matches the poster for the TTII show!
Starting on Wednesday morning, this thing will be EVERYWHERE. Watch out, Medford-Somerville campus, you 'bouts to get POSTERED! Muahahahah!!!

Day One - A GIANT stack of chairs

Well, Irene meandered her way out of the Boston area by about 5pm, leaving only a trail of fallen leaves, a few branches, and a few flooded basements in her wake. Not too bad for my first hurricane, eh? At least I wasn't back in New Jersey...
Because the storm died down, Jeff decided to push back the first meetings until the evening. At 6pm we had our first (well, second...) production staff meeting in the rehearsal hangar. (btw, the rehearsal hangar is that creepy looking cult barn thing between Aidekman and Pearson,
right in front of the new SIS building.)

The pstaff meeting was very exciting. Everyone was so glad to be back and get going on this project. Michelle was so excited she made cookies. They were yummy. Be jealous.
Each production staff meeting runs in pretty much the same way, with each area giving a check-in that updates the rest on their progress. At this meeting, everyone talked about their designs and the themes they wanted to include. Apparently an overarching theme of the show is "accumulation of friendships." While Cole, in his ideal theatrical world where absolutely
ANYTHING is possible, wanted to show that by having the actors sit on a MOUNTAIN OF CHAIRS, Kyle (set designer) had to shoot that idea down. Sorry Cole. Instead there will just be a lot of furniture and set dressing on the stage.
We also welcomed our new Assistant Technical Director, Eric (or is it Erik?). He will be replacing Meredith, who has left us for better things. :( Eric/k is also the master electrician, so that is very exciting as well. Wooo!

After the pstaff meeting, the actors all showed up for the design presentations and read-through. It was really nice to see the actors again, and we were all grateful that everyone made it here safely and in time to start rehearsing. There were many hugs and exclamations of "HEEEEYYY I MISSED YOUUUU!!!!"

We all sat down on the floor in a big circle, and the designers presented their design ideas to the cast. Kyle had the set design all mapped out and everything. Way to be prepared Kyle!

And then....the readthrough. Since we had some difficulties over the summer, this was the first time ANY of us, including Cole, had heard the actors read any of the roles. And, let me tell you, it was AWESOME. They clearly had already memorized their lines. In fact, I was supposed to read the stage directions (you know... Sits. Walks over to corner, picks up tuba, that kind of thing) and about a quarter of the way though the actors got SO into the script that I just kinda stopped and let them have fun with it.

Overall there were lots of laughs, especially at Tucker's New England accent, and the girls' high-pitched teenage exclamations. It really is amazing how reading a play out loud is SO much better than just reading it. (HINT: Same goes with Shakespeare, for all you haters out there.)

After we finished the read through, many of us wandered over to Michelle's house to hang out. We all gathered in her living room and watched the VMAs on MTV. It was a night of commentary on Mr. Lady Gaga's manliness and series of like 5 gestures, and Katy Perry's coolness as a factor of her cheese cube hat. We also looked up our birthdays to see which celebrities we share them with. Apparently I share a birthday with:
1984 - Zoe, Melbourne Australia, 1st frozen-embryo child

That's kind of exciting, right?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day One - Irene

Right now I am sitting on my bed in my dorm, watching Irene pour buckets of water down on campus. It has been a crazy whirlwind (pun intended) of a week.

Last week I spent some time with my friend MayaBea (who, believe it or not, is the ASM for the TTII show, and also running a blog). She and I were down in New Jersey, hanging out on the beach. It was all fine and dandy until we found out that Hurricane Irene was headed straight for the New England coast. Now, I am from Minnesota, so I don't know much about hurricanes. What I do know is that being near the beach during one is a bad idea. So, we evacuated the shore, and began our long drive up to Boston a day and a half earlier than we had planned. Thankfully, Tufts pushed up the move-in date to Saturday, since Sunday was expected to be when Irene hit Massachusetts.

We managed to move-in all right, getting most of our stuff in our dorm before the rain came on Saturday afternoon. (btw, it hasn't really stopped since...) On our way up we stocked up on emergency food (crackers, peanut butter, water) in case we would be stuck in our dorm all day.

As far as the O-Show is concerned, I have been in contact with Jeff, discussing about how Irene could affect our rehearsal and meeting plans. All our cast and pstaff members have safely arrived on campus. As of yet we are still scheduled to hold our first meetings today. We'll see how the weather looks.

Tomorrow it be beautiful, I'm sure.

Names and Roles!

This is a comprehensive list of the cast and pstaff of Fables for Friends. For future reference.

Cole - Director
Jeff - Stage Manager
Abby (ME!) - Assistant Stage Manager
Linda - Costume Designer
Marisa - Costume Tech
Michelle - Makeup Designer
Abbie - Lighting Designer
Jeff R. - Asst. Lighting Designer
Lizzie - Sound Designer
Kyle - Set Designer / Technical Director
Theresa - Props
Emily - Co-Producer
Thomas - Co-Producer

Nora - Liz, Sarah, Jill, Patty, Ginny
Alexa - Beth, Lynn, Deirdre, Tishy, Nan
Eliza - Libby, Pandy, Peggy, Evie
Tucker - Skeeter, Tony, Kit, Ray, Nicky, Eddie
Kevin - Chick, Trip, Vinnie, Danny, Clay, Cappy
Kyle - Trevor, Chris, Bernard, Victor, Andy

What the heck is an O-Show??

The 3Ps Orientation show is the most exciting production that is put on each year. Why, you ask?
The O-Show is unique because of its outrageous timeline: most of the production process occurs during the week of Orientation. Yes. ONE WEEK. But how is this possible? Through careful planning, dedication, flexibility, and a sense of humor, of course!


March/early April - (6/5 months before show)
Directors propose their ideas for O-Shows to the membership of 3Ps at the weekly meeting. These proposals have all been approved by the executive board, and include a brief synopsis of the play, a breakdown of the director's artistic vision, and an outline of the technical and casting requirements. At this point, the production staff (designers, stage manager, etc.) has already been selected. After all proposals are presented, the membership deliberates and asks questions. Voting takes place outside of the meeting, after members have a chance to read the scripts if they wish.

*** This year, we had three proposals for O-Shows, all brought forth by directors who were freshmen! Woo!

Late April - (5 months before show)
The show is chosen and auditions are scheduled.

Early May - (4 months before show)
Auditions take place near the end of the semester. These auditions are no different in style or format than other 3Ps auditions. The only special requirement for actors is that to be cast, they must be able to return to campus for Orientation week. What happens during the auditions varies by director. Some have cold-reads, others have improv games, still others hold group auditions. Callbacks are held after all auditions. Before the director can finalize the cast, he or she must check-in with the director of the Torn Ticket II O-Show, to prevent double casting as often actors audition for both shows. Once both directors agree on casting, the final cast list is posted.

*** This year, the 3Ps and TTII show called back a handful of the same people. Both sides were prepared for a battle to win the actors they wanted. Thankfully, no such battle occurred as each side ended up casting different people anyway.

Mid-May - (4 months before show)
Right before everyone goes away for the summer, two meetings must occur. The first is a read-through with the cast, so they can get a feel for the show and the director can make initial notes. At this meeting, the costume designer takes the measurements of the cast, so he or she can get going right away on costumes. The second meeting is a production staff meeting (or pstaff). This is where all the members of the design/tech team gather and discuss the logistics of the show such as budget, design themes and scheduling.

*** Our stage manager, Jeff, was abroad for the spring semester and therefore not present at these meetings. We skyped him in to the production staff meeting, which sort of worked. I believe he was in Hong Kong at the time.

June/July/early August - (3/2/1 month before show)
Over the summer break, the preparations begin. Everyone involved has a task that must be completed before they get back to campus for Orientation week.
  • Actors - The actors must memorize all their lines. Simple as that.
  • Design/Tech - The design/tech staff must make and finalize designs for all aspects of the show.
  • Director/Stage Manager - This duo has the most complicated task of all: scheduling. Somehow they must figure out the best way to go about rehearsing and performing a full-length show in just one week.

*** Cole, our director, had initially proposed a different show for this year's O-Show. However, due to issues with the rights we were not able to continue with it. In June and July, everyone worked hard to find another show that would work with our actors, pstaff and membership. We then decided on Fables for Friends!

End of August - (1.5 weeks before show)
If they have not done so already, the actors and pstaff move back to campus a few days before Orientation. Once everyone is back, rehearsals begin.