28 February 2009

One Month Before Opening Night

Thursday, February 26, we ran the entire show for the first time.

Although the fights are still far from finished, the complex sound and lighting design is not nearly implemented, no costumes or final props are being used...I must say that things are looking good.

- We are working on the mainstage now. All blocking seems to work in the actual space.
- All actors know their lines...earlier and more precisely than in any previous Mann Show production.
- Principal actors are doing quite well. Rian Johnson's BRICK characters look different in our version, but are just as believable as those in the film.
- Our Stage Manager (Mandy Gonzales) and Assistant Stage Manager (Taryn Miller) are quite a team...our best ever.
- The crew at Todd Inc. is already working to make the cast's hair look great.
- The Brendan-Lug fight is a blast...different from the film, but just as exciting.

A whole lot of hard work lies ahead, but we're on pace to have an incredible show March 26.

Hey...would anyone mind if I change the credits/curtain call music? I like "Sister Ray" a lot, but am feeling something different for the play.

PHOTO: LaBrian Drummond (Brad Bramish) thanks his Stage Manager. (Siovean Lehner, Photography)

07 February 2009

The play has been blocked.

"Blocking" refers to the director's (and sometimes actors') plan for movement on a stage. Some plays require very precise and deliberate blocking. Other plays need very little. Some directors like to meticulously plan and direct every movement on stage. Still others sit back and let their actors have free reign.

BRICK called for a more stringent blocking plan than any other play we've done at J.L. Mann. One reason for this is the numerous stage combat scenes, but the main reason is because we're doing the play in a very small, empty (I like to call it, "limbo") space. There aren't many visual cues for our audience to know where they are and where they're going. In lieu of this, a very precise stage movement plan is required.

Figuring it all out was exhausting. It took two and a half weeks of after school rehearsals. Next week we begin reviewing our work...making sure that it works. I expect that we'll have to make certain corrections...may even have to rethink a scene or two. Our actors will be off-book (lines memorized) beginning Monday. Seeing them moving in the space without scripts for the first time is sure to inspire a creative blocking idea or two.

Kudos to Stage Manager Mandy Gonzales and her Assistant Stage Manager Taryn Miller (pictured above from the fall 2008 play, MUSEUM). Together they make a great team. The next two weeks will try their patience no doubt...remembering blocking, helping the cast off-book, collecting all the required rehearsal props. Here's hoping the cast remembers to thank their stage managers generously and often.