Putting Together A Show
How do you put a show together? The production process is a complicated one, extending over a short period of time – often as little as only 6 weeks. It needs to proceed efficiently and effectively, though the harmonious interaction of the members assembled as the production team. A production team consists of those individuals directly responsible for what the audience will see presented on the stage. The key members of the team are the Director, the Producer, and the Stage Manager.
The Director is the creative and artistic representative of the playwright and the play. The director should have a thorough knowledge of all phases of dramatic production: acting, music, dance, design, theatre architecture, costume, make-up, etc. While he/she is chiefly concerned with staging the production, the director must work harmoniously with all members of the production team.
The Producer represents the governing board and protects its interests, while coordinating the entire production process. The producer assures that deadlines and schedules are adhered to, and that everyone does his/her job. The producer works with the production team to develop a budget and checks on the progress of the production, coordinating the work of the crews. The function of the producer is to provide support, to recruit and coordinate resources, provide and communicate guidelines (like budget and schedule), be the team leader that ties together the various aspects of the production (artistic and business), and provide moral support.
The Stage Manager is in charge of all operations during the run of the show. He/she works with the crew and the cast, and must be familiar with all phases of the production. He/she is the “keeper of the book”, meaning he/she conducts the rehearsals, keeps the prompt book, records the moves made by actors (blocking), keeps track of the costumes and props needed, maintains the floor plan, sets up before rehearsal, take technical notes if asked by the director, give line cues to cast
following rehearsal, and run dress rehearsal. He/she works with crew (props, light, sound, costume, make-up), coordinates scene changes, and gives cues to the crew during performances.
The Production team includes: Set design and construction, Painting, Light and Sound designers, Costumes, Props, Make-up/Hair, and running crew who set the stage and shift scenery and props during the performance.
Then there are the Actors. Auditions are held for each production in order to the cast show. Some directors ask actors to present a previously learned monologue to audition, while others ask actors to read excerpts from the script. Auditioning for a musical will also include singing a short, prepared vocal selection, and often times, showing skills in various forms of dance.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the world of theater is the feeling that a person is always learning – that they can continue to improve no matter how experienced they may become. There is nothing else like presenting a show to a live audience! It is an experience shared with only those in the building that night – an experience that can never be completely duplicated, for we all bring our own experiences, thoughts, feelings, desires, and interpretation to a show – whether on stage, behind the scenes, or in the audience.