September 24, 2010

PrePro Week Over!

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 9:37 pm

It’s Friday night, when all those normal people who work in offices don’t have to do anything for the rest of the week. Thankfully, I have been enslaved by such people all week, and am now free, and starting next week can resume being a touchy-feely artisty-type person for the next seven months.

As much as I hate the idea of working in an office, I actually find preproduction to be a great and very important part of the process. And while I lose two hours of my day commuting and sometimes think, “couldn’t I just do this from home?” there is a lot to be said for the ease of collaboration that happens from being in the office.

Having everybody no more than 50ft away from each other certainly speeds up the process, and allows quick consultations that probably wouldn’t always happen if you had to pick up the phone or write an email every time you had a question.

My process also involves some stuff that is decidedly office-y, such as copying the scripts for first rehearsal, putting them in binders, assembling some basic office supplies like pens, pencils and paper, and making copies of the various paperwork that’s going to be distributed on the first day. It’s times like that that make actually being in a fully-functional office a great advantage.

Here are the actors’ scripts, ready to go. Nick and I always had a thing we did where we gaffed a postcard of the show onto the front of the binder and wrote the actor’s name on it. I’m pretty sure it was his idea, so I have to give him credit for that. It’s been very popular with actors, and it’s also useful for us because when somebody leaves a script behind somewhere, it’s easy to know who to return it to.

In the middle of the day today, I took a walk over to Barbizon to buy some gaff, glow and spike tape. That’s $72 of tape right there. I also picked up lunch on the way back.

Spike tape and sushi. I really can’t think of many more things I would rather have.

The very last thing I did before leaving the office was to send out my first real email to the whole production team. I’ve been in touch with the cast more consistently to get them prepared for the start of the process, but this was my first contact with a lot of our creative and production team. Most are Acting Company and Guthrie regulars who I’ve worked with before, but there are a few I don’t know, and at least a couple I don’t expect to meet for several months. I sent out the contact sheet, a calendar showing the R&J rehearsal process up until we head out on the road, and a detailed schedule for the first day of rehearsal. In the body of the email I also added a few notes about the rehearsal studio and other business.

I still have a few things to do from home, such as print the wallet cards (which I designed while at the office, but I keep my business card paper at home), and a pseudo-wallet card with the addresses of the two costume shops we’re using, so that actors who have to go to fittings will always know where they’re going. I also have a few things to add to the database before first rehearsal, and I need to gather up all my stuff to bring with me on Monday.

When I got home I got a call from our Production Manager / Tech Director, who’s arriving in New York on the day of the first rehearsal. We’ve worked together before, but he’s just coming on board for this show, and it was our first real chance to talk about work stuff, and for me to mention a few issues that I think require careful attention to make sure everything goes smoothly.

I’m looking forward to finally getting started. Everything I’ve heard is that this company of actors is wonderful, and I’ve had an opportunity to meet many of the new actors when they came into the office to sign their contracts during the past week, and everyone seems very eager and excited for rehearsal to start. The whole season seems to be a very nice mix of a comfortable return to a familiar production, and frequent collaborators, with the injection of new people, a new production, and a new season of tour cities, which will make the process fresh at the same time. Honestly I think that’s really why I’m here. I’m at a point where I feel continued touring is harmful to my New York career, but from the earliest conversations I had with our producers, at the bar celebrating the start of previews for R&J at the Guthrie last year, the things I’d heard about this season were too good to pass up. It continued that way all through last year’s tour. It was just too much fun, and there are many people at The Acting Company and the Guthrie that I just love working with, and I had to stick around for this year.

Everything’s pretty much set for first rehearsal. Bring it, I say!

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