Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sound Design

I've been off-line for the past week because rehearsals are on break. During the last week the show started to slip steadily behind where I wanted it to be in terms of the actors' readiness; then it took a nice step forward in the final run-thru. We're still two days behind in my estimation, but it's not so far that we can't get back up to speed during tech if the actors stay on top of their game.

Break from rehearsals does not mean a break from production, though. There's still publicity to do (though primarily prep work, since nobody's in the office, now); video footage is being edited, tech tools-- like the Arkaos VJ program and SCS sound controller-- are being tested; and I've re-focused my attention on the sound design, which is the topic of today's post.

It's difficult to give a concise, helpful summary of how to design sound for the theatre, especially in a video blog, so I've added a written overview of my process here. It's not quite a tutorial, but close.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Two Days of Filming

We went into the studio this weekend to shoot about 3 minutes worth of footage for the production. We scheduled six hours over two days to get it done. To say I'm proud would be ridiculously arrogant, because the real work, the real creativity and beauty, the real accomplishment was by others: the filming, costumes, choreography, and acting was the result of other people's inspiration. Many thanks to Colin Day, our Director of Photography who also made it possible to work in a real studio, and Richard Enriquez, film director for the sequences. This one is worth watching....

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On Directing as the Playwright

We're entering a more frenetic time, production-wise. The flurry of activity and tension is due to the fact we're scheduled to film the video segments of the play this weekend-- and thus need costumes, lines, and scene work to be spot on-- and also because we're about two rehearsal days behind where I'd like to be. It's unusual for me; most of the time I'm able to pace the process more closely, but so many elements (and as I've said before, so much physical movement) have made it more difficult. Yesterday was the first formal "off book" day. It was rough, but in general they did pretty well. There are glimmers of beauty, but a lot of mud to clean up. So I thought I'd talk about my approach to directing, particularly as it relates to the strengths and weaknesses of being the playwright.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Inside a Rehearsal

This time it's an inside look at rehearsals in moving images. I've shied away from taking footage of scene work because I think it's too intrusive. It's too easy to start acting for the camera (for both the actor and the director). But Thursday's rehearsal was focused on integrating movement and fight choreography into the scene-work, giving an opportunity to shoot a little more tape. We've slipped about a day behind in the rehearsal process; there's just too much physical work to cover, and it always takes longer than one expects. Where we'll make it up, nobody knows. It's particularly frightening, because we'll take a 11 day break for the holidays, and if we're not solid before then, the show could slip dramatically. On the bright side, Arthur Keng returned from NY after 2 weeks out of rehearsals very much ready to go. When a moment catches fire for the first time in rehearsal is a blessed thing.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why Meadowland, Why Now?

Rehearsal, rehearsal. On Monday we focused primarily on the romantic scenes between the Investigator and Sister-in-Law. They're right at that tentative point where the memorization and the emotional journeys are almost connected. So close, in fact, that I felt bad knowing that we weren't scheduled to re-visit the scenes for a week, and I asked them if they'd be willing to rehearse with the AD and AAD on Tuesday, while I worked the dance and fight choreography with Misha. They agreed, and that's what we did. I hope to have some footage from yesterday's choreography up soon.

But today's topic is why Meadowland, why now? What made us take on this work right now, from both the artistic and the political perspective.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

90 Seconds in a Costumer's Meeting

The title pretty much says it all: a brief look at a design meeting with Scarlett Kellum.

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