THEATRICAL SHOWS & EVENTS
STAGING IT JUST RIGHT
Probably the most iconic of quotations by William Shakespeare in regards and related to honing his profession in the theater was the one commenting about how all the world’s a stage. Yes, we all have our parts to play in this journey through life, but what a sad existence it would be without the inspiration derived from the arts and entertainment field. Imagine if our primary motivation for existing was just to get up and go to work then get back home to sleep so that the cycle can repeat the following day. Shakespeare ingeniously observed that we may be caught up in our own drama . . . obviously. But, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the humorous and tragic moments of our existence. What better way to honor these very human experiences than by staging a play. This is all part of us desiring to express ourselves and we are graced by that rare privilege to keenly witness these moments through the actors portraying parts that greatly resonate with our own personal realities.
But, like any major event, there are some boxes that need to be ticked off so that this production can finally be performed live on stage. In most cases, it all begins with an idea sparked by a certain inspiration or a recurring theme. What scenes play out in the mind of the playwright that can realistically and concretely be brought to life? This can be adapted from existing material or be a completely new creation. Whatever it may be, it just needs to be said and shared. There is a confident beautiful mystery that transpires when something happens and transpires when it never even existed in the first place.
Of course, if this was only a solo performance like a one-woman or one-man show, the logistics wouldn’t be that complicated. But, it takes a dedicated team of professionals to get that dream off the ground and ultimately place it on the stage. The script performed by great actors, given proper guidance and direction, supported by a breathtaking set, and marketed aggressively doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a whole lot of coordination that needs to be thoroughly organized and executed quite efficiently and proficiently.
Perhaps, it can simply start by sharing that vision. Most people might be intrigued and their curiosity might be swayed to where this may all lead. The passion and the conviction hopefully take over to bring together individuals to achieve a common goal. These conversations need to be engaging and mind-blowing. Why invest so much time and effort if the overall feel is a “been there, done that” mode?
Earlier productions require that “can do” attitude and unquenchable gusto. It may mean getting everyone to pitch in by painting the backdrop or producing the flyers. The rehearsals might be so exhausting that everyone gets spent and slumps straight into their beds. Their active participation and their commitment drives them into really seeing what’s possible. Because everyone’s contribution is so very much needed for opening night to happen.
The most important ingredient, if not the most critical prerequisite, for anything to happen at all is where to stage it. If there’s no place available, street performances have been becoming quite popular, but it may lack the effect and feel that the play demands. Any community theater, high school gym, actors’ studio, or any enclosed space for that matter can do the trick so that the cast and crew can find a home. This is where the dream is destined to unfold so it must be reserved at the soonest possible time. Open areas can be an option but weather becomes an unpredictable factor that can affect the confirmation of the show.
Without a guide, most probably nothing will occur. That necessary reference is the script. In that sacred piece of paper lies the key in unlocking the glory of the theater. This is where the actors get their lines to memorize, where the set designers would know what pieces to assemble. The director takes his or her cue from how the script unfolds. In a sense, this map leads everyone on a wondrous theatrical adventure to help audiences find that emotional connection to the story.
The unwritten rule is that each page of the script calls for about one minute of stage time, so plan out your scenes prudently. Actors may need to double up on their roles if that’s what the story demands. It also helps in keeping production costs down if actors can be called upon to play multiple characters. The script again dictates the pace and presents a journey to exciting possibilities.
With that vital paper in hand, how can it truthfully be translated when the spotlight hits the curtain? Herein lies the critical direction that sets the guidelines. If it’s a tropical setting, would covering the stage area in sand give off that vibe or would a few palm trees suffice? The director’s eye and imagination offer that essential tone and feel of the play. There may be some things that can be utilized and there may be other props that would not be needed. The flow of the story and the milieu in where the characters find themselves are meant to bring in the audience to that alternate reality. After all, a story well told and magnificently presented has been the goal of many a playwright throughout the centuries.
Timelines then become that quintessential grid that prepares everyone involved for the big day. How long will it take to finish the costumes? Are the set pieces too unwieldly? Do we have enough promotional materials or is there room in the budget to produce more. That production schedule encourages those involved and informs them on where they’re supposed to be at a certain date. To lessen the stress in any situation, it’s always an advantage to be flexible. Maybe, some costumes can be adapted for multiple use. The bulky set design can somehow be simplified and ease the transition of scenes within the play. Whatever challenges arise, this should be met with creativity and adaptability so that the whole production team stays on track and somehow survives.
There’s now a script, someone to direct, and your production schedule has been laid out. Rehearsals towards opening night are the necessary birthing pains to finally see what the play is all about. The schedule should be adhered to strictly by all the cast members. It’ll probably take about an hour of rehearsal for each page of the script. Start off slowly with one to two, even three, hour practices. As the opening night approaches, these rehearsals will most probably increase.
The first gathering will be a joint reading of the script. This gives the director the opportunity to explain his vision for the play. Back stories and character conceptualization are usually part and parcel of this process. The actors are then engaged to imbibe the characters assigned to them. They become that person rather than portray their usual persona.
As the actors begin to rehearse on the stage with the costumes and the sets, this further develops what the director is after. Improvisations and adjustments can be made at this point. That’s what makes the production process unpredictable, yet very involving. The story begins to take a life of its own. And all the hard work that everyone has put in now comes into effect.
The last two weeks should be dedicated to run-throughs and the whole show should be performed sans interruption. Tweaks can be made to the lighting, sound, set changes, character development and such. This is the time to do so because the best production must be professionally presented especially with a paying audience in the theater seats.
To assure that you get people to watch the show, that’s where marketing comes in. Even if the stars and basically whatever happens under the illumination of theater lights gets most of the adulation, those in the marketing group already have their act together more than a month before the actual start of the show. And this very much needs the all-out support of dear friends and family so the budget doesn’t get blown on costly promotional gimmicks. Word of mouth is still the best marketing tool and the more people talking about the play, the more others would be raring to see it. First time theatrical actors tend to push more of their contacts to watch the production compared to old timers in the theater world. Children are always a big draw because the parents want that strong presence from the entire clan and even from distant relations.
VIP’s or very important people provide that pool of critical opinion to gain more buzz for the production. Food is always a welcome respite and incentive to get more people to go. The more enjoyable an experience it is, the more they want to share about it and talk it up with others. So, it better be a magnificent production or the bad news and reviews would spread even more quickly.
The most reliable resource that a show has are those who are deeply involved in the production. The whole cast, stage hands, crew members and their entire families plus their varied circles of influence must get involved in aggressively inviting everyone interested to what’s showing at the theater. Each may have their own issues or insecurities, but everyone must get on board so that they adequately contribute to that story worth telling and that it’s meant to be shared to a wider audience. Once they are convinced and gather enough encouragement, that dynamic marketing can hopefully snowball into getting more people to occupy the theater seats. That’s really what it’s all about. No sense it putting up a show if no one attends to actually see it.
PROLAB DIGITAL CAN PUT THAT PIZAZZ INTO YOUR PRODUCTION
For the magic to happen on stage, some technological support in manufacturing the backdrops and other stage props is very much needed. With their extensive experience and knowledge in dealing with theatrical productions around the country, Prolab Digital can become that very reliable partner in helping your production have that extra oomph.
Whether you require an enchanted forest or any mystical realm, their team is more than capable in reproducing those astonishing backdrops for your play’s unique setting. It may be an underwater scene or an alien landscape. Whatever and wherever your director’s imagination takes you, Prolab Digital can coordinate with your group to add that additional eye-catching design for the benefit of your actors and most especially for your audience. Their high-fidelity images given that high quality photographic realism can almost transport you to that place which only seemed to exist in fantasy and make-believe. The cost is quite manageable so that the play’s overall impression can just elicit those silent wows and leaves the crowd gasping in awe. Backlit designs are also available if the script call for it to lend another dramatic lighting effect.
With these types of production, a lot of investment into marketing can get the word out to target audiences. Again, it would be such a shame to go through all this effort without anyone in attendance to fully appreciate what you’ve done. The materials that Prolab Digital can make for you can include posters, light pole flags, standees and other promotional items that are bound to get more people to fill up your seats.
The competition for that entertainment dollar might be quite stiff and that’s why it’s a matter of survival to raise yourself up above all the noise. There are very winsome and compelling means to get your message across and through the valued contribution of this experienced group, who are well entrenched in show business, they are there to help you every step of the way.
Why don’t you contact them through +1 (310) 846 4496 and see for yourself if they fit the part for you? They are more than ready to assist you in providing your production the much-needed wow factor through their high-quality processing of specialized images. ■