Not really, just thought it was about time that poor joke was aired.
I do have a confession to make though…it has been several months since my last blog post, please forgive me father, for I have indeed sinned. In my defense though, I have been doing a fairly OK job of sourcing stuff, and I’ve not killed anyone yet; I’m calling that a win.
It has indeed been quite a while since I last blogged about my end of year show role of Stage Manager for The Wild Party: it’s been a somewhat trying few months and I’ll be honest-I struggled to care enough about my regular updates. The discovery of my mother being quite seriously ill threw my focus and I struggled through the following months in something of a blur, trying to keep up with my workload and personal life, whilst my brain struggled to make sense of the information it was receiving. There were some bleak times for a while and my desire to witter on for the sake of a blog which will rarely be viewed just didn’t feature on my list of things to try and complete.
Well, I’ve now watched a full version of The Wild Party, staged by the Onstage Atlanta Theatre Company; a semi-professional company in America. I’ve got a pretty good grasp of the plot and main characters now; my next step is to read the script that I downloaded last week to make initial notes regarding props, access, and any other notes that may be of use to the set designer. As a 3rd year company, we all have our defined roles for the end of year production, but we’re all taking part in the design process, with weekly design/production meetings to share ideas and increase our chances of producing a final product that we can all be proud of. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s clear that the overall theme for the set design is one of grubby sleaze, with an element of hope and desire. I’ve established the need for 3 defined areas within the performance space, but it has already been agreed that we will have to decide on a very stylised design. The Director is wanting to have a Brechtian feel to the piece, which determines certain aspects of the set design which must be considered. Discussions with the set designer and rest of the team are to take place in the next few days, so I’ll update this section then.
I’ve made it into act 2 and its looking like we’re going to need performance areas that depict a bedroom, a bathroom, a communal area, and a doorway. I think we’re all thinking of a mobile doorframe, which I’d like lights all around, in the style of dressing room mirrors, but it’s not my call. We were definitely going in the wrong direction with our initial ideas; we were thinking too much along the glitzy 1920s, art deco inspired themes, but this is much dirtier than that. The Great Gatsby it isn’t.
After an hour clacking away at my keyboard to add more weight to my swot analysis, I decided to take a break and work on something else for an hour or two. After successfully downloading a PDF of the script for the Lippa version of The Wild Party, I thought I’d settle down in bed and find out what it’s all about. Painful though it’s proving, I decided to track down a YouTube upload instead, which I’m currently ploughing through. It’s a very dark, grubby version, but it’s all good research for the end of year show next May.
I’m a little concerned our director will want a bed that moves smoothly on wheels. Oh dear, we’re not very good at those. I’ve noticed a common theme across the various images and videos from other productions of the show too; a grubby, sleazy feel. It gave me the thought of an almost squalid, dank style of set, with a few key motif features throughout. It was only a thought I had, but I’ll pass it along at our next meeting and see if Naomi, our set designer, wants to use it in any way.
Earlier chatting and Googling resulted in some other ideas, including an impressive art deco backdrop, a detailed, painted floor and no physical set, but high quality props and dressing. I also suggested having the band on stage but behind a large gauze. I’m starting to think it would be better to keep the band in the dark though, literally. Hide them in the shadows like we usually do, I don’t think they need to be visible.
Much as I rather like set design, I’m very happy to not have full responsibility for it on this occasion. I’m enjoying having ideas that excite me, but I’m equally happy to pass those ideas on to Naomi and leave her to do what she will with them. I’m going to have some challenges ahead of me from a propping point of view, but I’m looking forward to it. I just hope I don’t mess it up…
After our first production meeting today, I thought I’d nip across to the college library to get my hands on a script for the end of year musical that I’ll be stage managing. Unfortunately, there’s only the one reference copy of it available, and it’s out on loan already. All of the performances I’ve looked at so far on Youtube have been quite painful to watch so the script would be so much easier to refer to in order to learn the story and start making initial lists of possible prop requirements. Internet searching it’s going to have to be then…
Update: I have a downloaded, poorly scanned, copy of the libretto now saved to a data stick, so I can make a start on familiarising myself with the story and to have initial ideas relating to props and access issues. Thank you internet, and those lovely people at Scribd, I appreciate your efforts greatly