August 9, 2009

La Cage Tech

I call this: summer stock,theatre — Posted by KP @ 11:49 am

We are in our second day of tech for La Cage. Since Twitter has been suffering from a DoS attack, there is no techtweet this time.

We teched the first act during the first 10-out-of-12 hour day. This is a new show for Reagle, so we’re feeling our way a little more than usual but overall it’s not going that much more slowly than a more familiar show.

The cast is completely comfortable with the show, which eases a lot of our stress about the final outcome. The show is quite busy technically — there are some numbers where finding a place to give warnings was tricky. It’s become something of a joke in certain parts of the show, for the TD to say, “Karen can you find a place to give us a warning…” and I immediately say, “No.”

We’re using color scrollers for this show, so our little Microvision from 1987 B.C. needs to be replaced whenever that happens. We’ve got a rented Ion, which I’ve never used before. It’s basically the very modern version of the size of the Microvision. During a break yesterday I was invited to play with the scrollers. I was handed a mouse and pointed at a color wheel on one of the screens, like you would find in Photoshop or whatever. I was told to click anywhere on the color wheel. Instantly the entire stage changed to that color. I played with it for a good five minutes just watching how many different shades I could make. It may be the coolest thing ever.

August 7, 2009

The Sorry Jar

I call this: computers,gaming,theatre — Posted by KP @ 11:04 am

In our rehearsal room for La Cage, we have some very apologetic people. So much so, in fact, that our director decided early on that every time someone says “I’m sorry,” they owe him five cents. Naturally, being stage managers, Paul and I were put in charge of keeping track of the debt.

I have been working more with Google Spreadsheets lately, which I have grown to love as a result of my involvement with the game Battleground Europe. As a member of the Axis high command, I was first introduced to Google Docs because all the data that keeps the officers organized is contained in some very complex and fascinating spreadsheets. Whenever I meet somebody who has better paperwork than I do, my first instinct is to steal all their tricks, so I had great admiration for the Italian gentleman who created them, who goes by the name of Lince. When Lince retired from the high command, I offered to take on the management of the spreadsheets if for no other reason than to get a chance to play with them and learn from them. Lince and I are still in the process of training (the time difference from here to Italy being a bit of an obstacle at times), but I have learned so much already.

So back to my story.
We began on the first day keeping track of the Sorry fines on a couple of post-its, but of course this wouldn’t work. I also wanted a solution that would be able to be edited in real time by Paul and I, even simultaneously. Google Docs is the simplest way I know of to do this.

So I created a little spreadsheet that has all the actors’ names (and mine, and our director’s), and a column for each day of rehearsal. It totals how much each person owes, and at the bottom displays the total money raised.

You can take a look at it here to see how we’re doing.

August 2, 2009

La Cage Week 1

I call this: summer stock,theatre — Posted by KP @ 11:40 am

For a complete change of pace, our final show of the season is La Cage aux Folles. It’s a small, fast-paced show, where the men are women, the women are women, and I can actually do a head-count in rehearsal without losing track (we have 33).

There are no super-celebrities in this one, just a bunch of guys who know absolutely everything about this show. Our director, David Scala, and our Albin, David Engel, were both original cast members who did the whole 4-year Broadway run. Our Georges, Jamie Ross (who was also an amazing Vandergelder in Dolly earlier in the season) did the role on Broadway at some point. The rehearsal room is filled with 25-year-old backstage gossip, tales of things that were cut in Boston, anecdotes and history, and offhand statements like, “Whenever I would do this scene with George [Hearn]…” that bring a wealth of experience and depth to our little production, and are just plain fun to hear about.

Most Reagle productions are staged by or star people who have done their roles on Broadway or in high-profile productions, but the ones I love best are those that are really intimately connected to the original productions. It’s not just about setting the show with the original choreography and design, but getting a living theatrical history lesson in the process of creating the show. It’s like reading one of those books about the making of a show, except it’s more like having the commentary running on a DVD, and you can ask questions back!

We’re almost done with our first week, and although David is both directing and choreographing, we’re making great progress. Act I, which is far more complicated, will be completed today. Our principals are all wonderfully cast, the Cagelles are amazing dancers (and actors), and our singers are top-notch as always. It’s going to be a lot of fun going through this process.