I know a lot of you are theatre people, and you know what it takes to "put on a show, kids!", right? For those of you who are not theatre people: you need a script, permission from the playwright to produce it, upfront money to pay the royalties, a director and a cast. That's the start. In our case, you also need a venue - for us, it's the Dog Story Theater, a cozy, little black box here in Grand Rapids. OK! So, go! First off, we're the directors and the cast; easy enough. Our rehearsal space is the dining room - no rent! But then again, the rehearsal space is the dining room...
A set designer, a costume designer, a props master? Sound designer, lights? It's all us. I usually handle costumes and props. The set we figure out together, Gary's in charge of music and sound effects design and handles lighting and projections, if we have them. For this show, we need some pretty specific lighting, so he's attending a special lighting workshop at the Dog Story tomorrow night led by their lighting guru, Chuck Fortenbacher.
Publicity? Well, again that would be us! Postcards and posters designed and printed? Check! Time to actually distribute that material? Well...we're still figuring that out! Press releases? Mostly taken care of at this point - oh, and you'll be getting that MailChimp newsletter this weekend, that I stayed up until
2:00 a.m. last weekend to write! So please don't trash it - read it and pass it on to a friend!!!
That about covers all the elements needed to get a production off the ground. Well, there's that pesky rehearsal process, which when there's no big, bad authority figure of a director cracking the whip, it becomes all about discipline. The house is a mess, the laundry needs to be done, the sink is full of dirty dishes, and you don't get to leave that all behind and waltz out the door to rehearsal - remember, rehearsal is in the dining room! Put on the blinders and go to work!
Learn your lines!!! No book holder here to give you a line when you call "LINE" (or make those nasty, little 'line notes' she hands you on a Post-it, or legal-sized sheet of paper at the end of the night!! Pros & cons, right? Oh, and there's also not a stage manager, so props pre-set, quick changes, where things need to be back stage so you can get them when you need them where you need them onstage - we figure all that out during rehearsal.
Mostly, it's about time and time management. We both have day jobs, (well this semester, Gary's got three night classes) and we only have so much time together in the old dining room/rehearsal hall, and a finite number of waking hours a day to dedicate to memorization. So, when one of us is working, the one that's not, works on lines - in theory.
So, together we spent Friday afternoon shopping the Goodwill Stores for costumes, ran some lines. Today, between the two of us, we spent most of the day working on wardrobe and publicity, ran some lines, Gary got groceries and made a great dinner, I taught a sewing class, we had a very productive Act I rehearsal...the sink is still full of dirty dishes and there's a load of clothes in the washer!
Come watch us play - February 13 - 15 at the Dog Story Theater! You'll have a greater appreciation for how we got there - AND we promise to know our lines!