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Clapping for the set!

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by tenor_singer, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. tenor_singer

    tenor_singer Active Member

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    I had a first in 20 years of directing high school theater this past weekend.

    I did the play Arsenic and Old Lace and decided to make up for the simplicity of the acting by going top end with our set. My 25 stage crew members built it for two months giving up 18 - 20 hours of their free time per week.

    To honor their hard work, I had the following cues written for the show's initial opening:

    Cue 1 House Lights
    Cue 2 Pre-show advertisor's power point presentation (took the house to front off and back 50%)
    Cue 3 Post-presentation BO (where we raised our screen and simultaneously drew the grand drape).
    Cue 4 On stage specials (which consisted of raising our chandeliers, wall sconces, lamps and table lamps).

    Both nights... when cue 4 finished raising and the stage became lit (like a living room at a house), the audience not only clapped for my stage crew, they gave them a standing ovation for it.

    So... to the GV stage crew (you know who you are if you're using this site as I suggest)... excellent job!!!

    MR. D.
     
  2. arik52

    arik52 Member

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    That's fantastic that your set got so much recognition. Do you have any pictures to post?
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    THE PEOPLE OF CB DEMAND PICTURES!!!
     
  4. tenor_singer

    tenor_singer Active Member

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    as soon as I get some, I'll try.
     
  5. cheef

    cheef Member

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    We just had something similar with our last production, but even that was not a standing O for the set. I want to see this set!
     
  6. themuzicman

    themuzicman Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations on the great set!
    However, not to be a downer, but it is my personal opinion that one should not clap for the set, in relation to the entire play.

    When the audience is walking to the car what should resonate with them is the play, the overall play from the acting, to the set, the entire experience. If one thing overshadows that experience, than the entire experience is thrown off. You don't want them to go "oh wow, did you notice those lights?" If they realize something was artificial or out of place, than the designer failed at his/her job.

    As a director/actor/designer you should be asking yourself:
    Does the show leave the parking lot?
     
  7. arik52

    arik52 Member

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    Themuzicman, you make a very valid point. A set designer's job is technically to define a space for the actors to interact in. When something takes away from the belief that this is an actual space that the characters are in, they're not doing their job. It's like designing an implied wall and then having an actor enter through it. Generally, this sort of thing would emphasize the set and thus take away from how realistic it is.

    However, I agree with Charc. It's high school, and the crew has been working for the past month or so tirelessly in order to put this together, and if this was their focus for the show, they deserve some recognition.
     
  8. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    From what I gathered from reading this, and maybe I'm misreading you, is that if the acting is not up to par, or the lighting is not up to par, then the set should be toned down? After all, from what I gathered, the set was not designed to look out of place, it looked like someone took a living room and plopped it on stage. Should a great set be made any less of a great set to cover for poor acting or poor lighting design?

    Shouldn't we, as designers, actors, technicians, always strive to do our best?
     
  9. cheef

    cheef Member

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    The set is often like a costume that all the actors ware. And just as a great costume can influence the actors to do more and in some cases give the perception that they are doing better, a great set can bring up the acting and get the actors to where they need to be. We must always strive to do our best and if the audience wishes to thank those who pured there hearts into the set just as they would thank the actors for their hard work, then more power to them. Just remember the praise should not be the goal, but the furtherance of a great production.
     
  10. MNBallet

    MNBallet Active Member

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    nonsense.
    I have several of my shows that audiences have clapped for the opening sequence.
    And I love hearing people walk out talking about how beautiful the lighting was, and will never tire of it. Lighting and sound and set is often overlooked in published reviews so hearing it from audience members as they walk out is all I get. And I know that you didn't mean it to come across, but it could be taken that you would advocate that if some other parts are sub-par, then you should lower your standard so as to not stand out or above.
    For all those High School and college students remember this about why we do this.
    #1. for the paycheck
    #2. for the applause, because the paycheck doesn't go very far.
     
  11. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Occupation:
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    Not at home, that's for sure.
    Applause for a set is a rare treat...and emperical evidence that ya done good!
     
  12. Rpearson

    Rpearson Member

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    As both an Actor and a Set Designer I can pretty much argue this point from both sides. I think ultimately there needs to be a balance between both. If you have great actors in a show with horrible costumes or sets, it takes you out of the experience reminding what you see is only illusion. But if you have a great set and extravagant costumes drabbed on a cast that cant act, that too takes you out of the experience. High School Theatre has usually garnered that reputation of either one or the other or even both at the same time.
    But out of honesty, its great to have a set appreciated. It was always a rush during the wizard of oz whenever the emerald city was revealed from behind the curtains and you could hear the audience ohh and ahh openly. It still gives me goosebumps to this day. (Being the tin-man in the show was pretty fun too)
    I say congrats on the awesome set. All of that time, sweat, and effort in the end is always worth it for a good show.
     

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