Where to stand

15 Jun
This side.

This side.

Until the Evansville High School Class of 2015 graduated, we practiced on the Middle School stage. It doesn’t compare to the EHS stage but I marvel at old pictures that show past large musical productions that were held there. The pit band didn’t have a pit, often it appears they were set to the back of the stage. And there aren’t any wings to speak of, so I can’t imagine how there was room

That side

That side

for set pieces, let alone actors, back there. Yep, we are spoiled now.

Most theatre groups don’t get on stage until a few weeks before the performance, so we are lucky to get on five or six weeks before opening night. That said, the rehearsals in the Middle School are more of the actors working on lines and getting to know each other and because the stage is only half the width it’s hard to really work on where the actors should be on the stage.

How about over there?

How about over there?

Entrances, exits, where to stand, how to time the delivery of the lines is difficult because it will take longer and require a completely different timing on the big stage.

So everyone was happy last week when they arrived at the EHS Performing Art Center (PAC). The directors can move and reassemble each tableau–known in stage terms as blocking.

Hannah said it was feeling like high school again as she told the story about a normal week with the high school director: “Monday: ‘all of you come in from the left and stand there, no, maybe a little further downstage.’ Tuesday: ‘No, no, it’s not working for me, try upstage and to the right, that will be much better.’ Wednesday: ‘It’s not speaking to me on the right, it just isn’t, well, right. Let’s try front and center!’ Thursday: ‘I just think it works best on the left and downstage.'” With that she threw up her hands and walked off.

Sure Hannah, that way works.

Sure Hannah, that way works.

Sometime Director Dave is standing on the floor in front of the stage, sometimes on the stage, sometimes sitting a few rows back in the seats. Melissa isn’t quite as transient but tries to judge it from the audience perspective. They talk to each other and then to the actors, the actors make suggestions and then they run the scene all over again.

Dave on the floor.

Dave on the floor.

In another few weeks, after Dave and Melissa have tried scenes upstage and down, stage left and stage right, and all of the combinations in between, they will finally decide the best place on stage and there simply won’t be time to change it any more.

And after this first week of rehearsals on an empty stage where things were starting to feel right, a small crew came in on Saturday and built the platforms that will become the set. So that means we will need to reconsider the blocking one more time. At least.

Dave on stage, Melissa (19) hangs tight.

Dave on stage, Melissa (19) hangs tight.

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