What Went Wrong in Fools


Well-Known Member
So our final play of the year Fools is over at my school. This was by far the easiest theater "experience" we have put together in terms of how the show came together and the overall amount of overhead involved. So, here my list goes:

* The Week of the performance, we were only on our actual stage twice due to prior "bookings" of the auditorium. Out of our control, but still horrible.

*There was no time at all to set lighting. I had to spend my lunch for a week trying to do it, and without the help of our running crew or any people at all to move our set around, it was a pain. (Our set was a 16 foot tall, 12 foot wide, 12 foot front to back reversable house). In the end half of my lighting really never got done, leaving most of the top part of the house unevenly lit on the inside, and even worse on the outside.

*The Stage Manager/Set Designer and Myself sat down talking a few minutes before the opening of our house yesterday and we realized that the artistic development of our play never came together. Our musical was micromanaged by our drama teacher as to what exactly a little town in Iowa looks like. We complained, and she gave us full reign this show to work (without telling us). My SM friend and I, being the two essential heads of our department got to work planning and working. We designed, we built, but what we realized last night was that we each had our separate ideas as to what Kulyenchikov looked like, we had not gotten that idea straight down between the two of us. As a result we fought a lot more than we normally do, but we now have a new idea of what we have to do to make something effectively work.

*Not anything to do with the show itself, but I decided that for the last show of the year I would look good, and I wore a fully black tuxedo (Jacket, Pants, Shirt, Bowtie, Buttons, shoes, the whole deal). I went into our shop room to grab some stuff out I needed for the show, and my pants ripped all the way around on some tool I leaned up against. I luckily had a change of clothes in my car and threw on some shorts, but kept everything else. Being the resourceful person I am, I got some safety cable and made a belt. I must say, if the show was called anything but Fools, I would have been screwed. Only downside here is that I need a new tuxedo by this friday night, but whatever.

In the end, the show came together. We are started to shed the juvenile typical high school theater look and feel that plagued us last year, and plagues a lot of the schools in the area but we aren't there. Next show as myself, my SM/Set Designer friend, and the good majority of our acting talent enters our senior year and our third year of our department being in existance, we are stepping things up to a whole new level. We are joining cappies and getting into a whole new look and feel.
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Wireless Guy
Premium Member
Welcome to ControlBooth.com! It's always nice to see more people from Loudoun County around here.

I've noticed that principals tend to be almost ADD in their behavior. Recently, when I was helping out with my old high school's production of Aida, our principal could not sit in his seat for more than 15 minutes during the show. To his credit he remained in the house for most of the show and did not bother our technical staff (this used to be a major issue), but he did leave the house a couple of times, and not during applause. I think the solution in your case is to ask your drama instructor to politely let him know that it is generally considered inappropriate to leave the house during the performance, and if he would like, the department will offer him a full tour of the backstage and control booth area's 30 minutes before or right after the show.

One suggestion I have with regard to bringing the creative vision together is to have weekly design meetings two-three months out, where the director, all designers and key technical staff (lighting designer, sound designer, set designer, costume designer, technical director, production coordinator, etc) all sit down and toss around ideas. By the third or fourth meeting, the design staff will have had enough input to come up with a cohesive design to pitch to the director, and this can be set for the technical staff to realize by the fifth meeting. From that point on, treat these details as set in concrete and worry only about how to realize them on the stage. This process also makes it much easier to plan out the construction schedule, and allows the lighting and sound staff ample time to hang lights and build sound cues, respectively. If you're interested in this template, let me know and I'd be happy to provide more details on how to do it.

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