Ideas & Inspiration

Offbeat Directing 8: The Comfort Zone

[caption id="attachment_1288" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Get a good game going to loosen up the the 'comfort barriers' Get a good game going to loosen up the the 'comfort barriers'[/caption] Also in this series: Offbeat Directing 1: The Vision Quest Offbeat Directing 2: Understanding the Script Offbeat Directing 3: Dreaming and Planning Offbeat Directing 4: What Does the Director Do? Offbeat Directing 5: Trial by Audition Offbeat Directing 6: The First Awkward Read Through Offbeat Directing 7a: Who Does What? Offbeat Directing 7b: Early Rehearsals and Cunning Plans Offbeat Directing 7c: Your Design Team Offbeat Directing 7d: Infrastructure! Ah .. the comfort zone. The place where most actors will stay unless pressed to break out. It's that safe place where you walk in a way that feels ok, talk in your own voice or one you're familiar with, interact with other actors in a non-threatening manner. It's a safe, comfortable place to be. But it isn't ever enough. Whenever you start to feel slightly embarrassed, uncomfortable, vulnerable or just plain scared, that's when you're breaking the comfort barrier. And this is good! Analogy: Your body is remarkable. Your brain has a memory of every muscle you possess and knows exactly how far that muscle can stretch. When it reaches the stretch barrier your brain says 'no, that's quite enough stretching, thank you, this is where I'm staying.' Pretty clever, keeps you safe. It bases this limitation on factors like how much you use the muscle and physical and emotional truama that have affected the area. You have a 'range' of movement that becomes normal for you. If you want to go beyond it, you'll have to practise and reset the brain/muscle controlled barrier. So when you decide to take up yoga (for example) or any other stretching exercise, you have to repeatedly work on stretching your 'normal' range of movement until it is gradually increased. If you only do this once a week your progress will be very slow. The more you practise, the more you change. Now think of theatre. (more…)

By Barbara, ago
Skills

Offbeat Directing 7d: Infrastructure!

[caption id="attachment_1167" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Anyone seen the poster? Anyone seen the poster?[/caption] Also in this series: Offbeat Directing 1: The Vision Quest Offbeat Directing 2: Understanding the Script Offbeat Directing 3: Dreaming and Planning Offbeat Directing 4: What Does the Director Do? Offbeat Directing 5: Trial by Audition Offbeat Directing 6: The First Awkward Read Through Offbeat Directing 7a: Who Does What? Offbeat Directing 7b: Early Rehearsals and Cunning Plans Offbeat Directing 7c: Your Design Team Infra-what? For a show? Always makes me think of bridges and telephone lines - which is exactly right if you're thinking of a society, a town or a community - the underlying systems that allow it to function. In this context I don't mean the telephone in the foyer, I mean the underlying systems that need to be in place to allow the show to actually manifest, but happen beyond the stage. Actually, the telephone in the foyer is important! And the computer .. errr .. the front of House Manager .. oh, and the kettle. The person who will produce your show (might well be you, the director) needs to have a handle on the administration, marketing/publicity, creation of marketing materials, sponsorship, tour admin and transport (if applicable) and anything else you have a requirement for that isn't actually on the stage! It is heartbreaking to put your heart and soul, half your life over the past year and a substantial amount of money into a show that nobody comes to see. Why don't they? Because nobody told them it was on - doh! (more…)

By Barbara, ago
Skills

Offbeat Directing 7c: Your Design Team

[caption id="attachment_1118" align="aligncenter" width="800"]the set, costumes and a dash of lighting for 'After Juliet' by Sharman Macdonald. Rich colours and fabrics, different levels to act on, moody lights. Loved it! The set, costumes and a dash of lighting for 'After Juliet' by Sharman Macdonald. Rich colours and fabrics, 'punk- Elizabethan' style costumes, a plaza, scaffolding towwers to create different levels, moody lights. Loved it![/caption] Also in this series: Offbeat Directing 1: The Vision Quest Offbeat Directing 2: Understanding the Script Offbeat Directing 3: Dreaming and Planning Offbeat Directing 4: What Does the Director Do? Offbeat Directing 5: Trial by Audition Offbeat Directing 6: The First Awkward Read Through Offbeat Directing 7a: Who Does What? Offbeat Directing 7b: Early Rehearsals and Cunning Plans 'What team?' I hear you say. Quite so. Chances are it's just you and your best friend. But let's suppose for the sake of this post that you do have access to people who will design for you - or at least be instrumental in getting your designs on stage in some form. Part of my 'visioning' period (that's the never-ending period) involves visualising the design of the show in every way conceivable - the set, props, lighting, sfx, sound, costumes, hair & make-up. So, as soon as you can get together with each member of your team and talk through what you want. Show them your diagrams, sketches, design boards, fabric samples - anything at all you have collected whilst dreaming away! Try and find a way to make your design ideas a reality. I tend to be of the opinion that if my designer says 'it can't be done' then I'm probably talking to the wrong person (although I do compromise when I really, really have to). (more…)

By Barbara, ago
Skills

Offbeat Directing 7b: Early Rehearsals and Cunning Plans

[caption id="attachment_1021" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Get your cast relaxed and playing games to start. Get your cast relaxed and playing games to start. Floaty costumes optional...[/caption] Also in this series: Offbeat Directing 1: The Vision Quest Offbeat Directing 2: Understanding the Script Offbeat Directing 3: Dreaming and Planning Offbeat Directing 4: What Does the Director Do? Offbeat Directing 5: Trial by Audition Offbeat Directing 6: The First Awkward Read Through Offbeat Directing 7a: Who Does What? You have a cast, crew and a whole host of people waiting to hear what it is you want and need in order to get the production underway (hopefully). Time to unleash the cunning plan - which consists of what you're going to do in rehearsals and when. In Post number 7c we'll look at Design Meetings and in 7d the Infrastructure you'll need in place to allow the magic (or pay for it) to happen. By the way, all the '7' posts are together because they all need to happen around the same time. But for this post, it's just you and your cast. They arrive, they look at you ... do you break into a cold sweat or deploy your plan? Well, let's do both. (more…)

By Barbara, ago
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