I agree 100% with Shanahan. A good actor with a good director behind him doesn't need to whisper to whisper.
Example: I'm currently rehearsing as Rene Artois in Allo Allo, and Rene has to (a) keep the audience up to speed with what is quite a complex plot in quite long, rambling monologues without the other characters 'hearing' him, (b) let the audience know with small asides that he is having various affairs with his young, buxom staff and (c) have confidential whispered conversations with the same staff whilst groping them in various cupboards (it's an awful job but someone has to do it) .
For (a) we have devised a routine where I 'switch off' the cafe lights and everyone else freezes; for (b) it's a simple matter of good blocking; for (c) the designer has produced various 'cupboards' with 'ceilings' which slant at some carefully preconceived angle (50 degrees, I think) so that we get maximum acoustic amplification even before we start projecting.
Actually, in a good theatre (which this one isn't) the acoustics should be such that it's not necessary to have this ceiling device. Ours is lousy (a very low, far-forward pros arch) so we had to have a few aids, but generally a competent actor with a good voice should be able to cover it.
Don't worry about it, and (in my humble opinion) you certainly shouldn't suggest anywhere in any submission that you're relying on any technology at all, which potentially gives a reader a reason to reject.
It's the kind of problem which directors and designers love anyway!
Last edited on Wed Mar 28th, 2007 11:14 am by Poet
I found a backer for ten of my musicals. By default I became producer and hired a director who was delightful at first then became a jerk. I made a terrible mistake and I figured that out too late to correct it. (we have backer money to pay a director, but not enough for cast who will get ticket sales)
The director is terribly rude to me for no reason at all and I do not tolerate rudeness well. But even more problemmatic is the fact that the production looks as if it is going to be awful. I so want to fire him, but we need the backer's money to get the other shows off the ground and we will certainly lose it if we can't even get the first show on the stage in some form. (OH lord, I pray the backer doesn't come to the show)
I have been working out of town for several years and have no contacts or cast. He had just left a rather large theater and assured me he had cast which was an obvious lie thoug partially as a result of my effort, we finally got it cast. I'm wondering why he left the other theater now....
We open day after tomorrow. I went to rehearsal tonight and I was sick. Some of the cast has apparently been authorized by the director to re-write lines at will. No one knows the lines they wrote or the ones I wrote either. No one knows their songs. The blocking changed several times in one night and the lead female is playing a nineteenth century woman as a valley girl.
I'm lookiong forward to a horrible evening of improv. I have to dump this guy. I'm not sure I can come up with enough cast to direct the show myself. I need another director, but it may be too late as the next production is a month away.
Lordy, I'm a wreck. I really just want to close the whole thing down, but I've been looking for this type of break for years and I hate to blow it now.
Sorry to dump. Anyone have any idea? I think I'll go eat worms!
If it were me, and it isn't, but if it were, I'd stop it. You can legally stop it because they've rewritten your lines.
I'd then explain to the the backers that you didn't want to waste their money, although it might be too late. Thing is, I'm thinking the backers will come to the show...and then what will they be backing?
That's my problem. Do I cut and run to save the integrity of my work or do I stick it out in order to get my work out of the computer and onstage? I know for sure I will not have another chance with this backer if I run. I don't know what will happen if he sees the production as is. Maybe he will give us another chance. Or better yet, he won't make it to the opening show (He mentioned he might be out of town).
As I write that, I feel as if I should stick it out eventhough I am practically suicidal as I watch the destruction of my work. It has been so hard to get this far. I'm just so sick of it all. I've been in tears for weeks.
So many times I have had wonderful directors who enhanced my work with their own. But I have also had terrible directors who destroyed my work. Maybe it is just the luck of the draw or maybe a few nervous breakdowns are a part of the theater.
Just a littlle update on "As the playwright squirms." Opening night was a horrible disaster. Lines were spoken in the wrong places revealing plotlines out of sequence. Sets were constructed by the director at the last moment and were essentially non-existent. Costuming was actually good, but blocking was non-existent in most places and ridiculous in others. Actors were valiant, but essentially without direction. The audience waited in the foyer as the director rushed through the only dress rehearsal. I don't think there was a tech. Sound effects were unbelievably bad. Singing was courageous, but sound levels were off.
I wanted to DIE.
Waaaay too late, I found out the director has some sort of ego problem and has done this same sort of panic theater at all his recent productions. I'm not sure what has happened to him and neither is anyone else. At one time he did good work. He doesn't seem to be on drugs, but is, of course, aging. Wonder what is the problem.
No matter, I closed the show. I simply couldn't take it any longer. Have to meet with the backer this week. My one big opportunity is probably shot.
SD - whilst having a moonload of sympathy for what sounds like an appalling experience and a disappointment which simply could not be measured, if I had $1 for every time I'd thought that (not as a writer, but in life) I'd back your next 101 productions with the interest from just a week of my bank account.
I know it's difficult to the point of near-impossibility, but think of what you've learned; how to find and negotiate with major backers, the hidden dangers of a loony Director, how to handle the dilemmas and the people involved (whether you did that sucessfully or not), the outcomes of decisions along the way (again, whether they subsequently proved to be the right ones or not), the strengths you found (or needed, but didn't) at various stages... whilst I wouldn't for one second swap places, a small part of me envies your experience and newly found knowledge.
And, at the end o the day, you secured something that many here have not (yet) - the 'big break' - and it sounds like the major reason why it didn't work out was not primarily your fault. I reckon that when you look back with the objectivity that time gives, you'll feel just as angry, just as hurt, just as frustrated - but that small 'if only' lights will start to illumnate the darkness.
And once that happens, I bet you'll start to see the positives hidden beneath all the negatives. "Hmmm - if I did that again, I'd do so-and-so. It was all OK up to the point where this-and-that happened, so what I need to do now is repeat the same process up to that junction, and then..."
Easy for me to say, of course. But if this was easy - wouldn't everyone be doing it?
Having said that - I'm sending an electronic and telepathic hug from the UK.