Thursday, January 17, 2013

Clemency - Assistant Director Eve Summer on "Prep Week"

Just before months of discussion, research, designing, and preparation give way to a flurry of rehearsals, production meetings, and performances, 'Prep Week' at BLO gives the artistic and production staff a chance to either reacquaint or get to know one another, and to immerse ourselves, all together, in the details of the production.  We talk music, set, costumes, props, lighting, schedule, and chocolate chip pumpkin cookies before we transition to the rehearsal studio.  In order to be ready for opening night in a matter of only weeks, we spend Prep Week discussing, with a great deal of specificity, the outcome we are seeking for essentially every hour of the day for the next three weeks.  We talk about what scenes we will rehearse, what meetings we will need to have, what form of transportation the artists will take to get to the costume shop and how long exactly it will take for them to get changed before technical rehearsals.  We talk about when we might take a ten minute break two weeks from now, and we even talk about how hard or soft the lead in our pencils needs to be for optimal note taking!

Since CLEMENCY is my first production with BLO, I've been so pleased to have the opportunity to get to know the team before rehearsals begin.  I'm a free-lance stage director and choreographer and I normally work from my home when I'm not in production, so I get a real kick out of having a week in an office environment.  Though I'm tackling the same tasks I would be doing at home, there's so much to be said for the rapport and camaraderie, not to mention efficiency, the team builds by working on our pre-production duties all together in one room.  I'm sure my fondness for my temporary cubicle will start to wane soon enough, but by that time my prep work will be done and we'll be ready to move into my favorite place in the world to be; a rehearsal studio! 

If you're wondering what an assistant director does before they're in a room with a cast to assistant direct: I'm preparing the blocking book in which I record all of the staging for this exciting new production; I've auditioned the cutest bunch of budding thespians in order to find a 7 year old supernumerary to join the cast; I'm drafting and re-drafting the staging rehearsal schedule; I'm working with Karen, our Production Stage Manager, to schedule costume fittings and keep tech week plans on track; I'm listening to the music and studying my score; I'm touching base often with Andrew Eggert, our stage director; I'm re-reading all the ground plans, the source material, and my research; and I'm thinking about all of the incredible stories that inspired the texts for our production.

Bring on the staging rehearsals, now I'm ready to really get to work!

-Eve Summer, Assistant Stage Director

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