Stage Manager: Lucy Peaceful
Deputy Stage Manager: Jake Newton (Me)
Deputy Stage Manager/Sound Operator/Lighting Designer: Alex Ray
Lighting Operator/Lighting Designer: Richard King
Sound Technician (Band): Doug Tagg and Jordan Brown
Costume: Tanya Starling
Set: James Hopwood and Zoe Cole
Backstage Technician: Leah Sanders
My Job Role (Summary)
In this show I was the Deputy Stage Manager.
This meant that I would need to be in the majority of rehearsals for Bonnie and Clyde as well as know what is happening with each member of the production team. During rehearsals I will create the ‘Book’ from which I will have all the cues in ready for show night. It is up to me to add any notes from rehearsals, dress run and technical runs to do with cues. It also means until show night the ‘Book’ is a on-going process until I have all the final cues in the ‘Book’ I also need to write any visual and word triggered cues into the ‘Book’. I cued the sound and lighting operators for all show nights. However to prevent any illegibleness in the ‘Book’ I put a lot of notes into my personal script.
Also as a Deputy Stage Manager it’s up to me to try and help organise the production. This also includes getting involved with props or scenery creation/painting to help. Although the Stage Manager (Lucy Peaceful) mainly guided the team and their jobs. It was part of my job to know what is going on through out the creation of the production including the ideas and creation process. As well as fill in the Stage Manager of rehearsals or anything technical if she missed it or was ill.
Show Preparation/ Progress
At the beginning of the process I was slightly clueless and for a few weeks we had been in rehearsals and our job for the show was being decided. Before this I was writing notes on each rehearsal and noted which part we was watching and what was being blocked or rehearsed by the director or musical director.
Near the beginning it was mainly research from all of the team until the Director or us (Production Team) had as idea we wanted to pursue or got asked for. This also included having daily meeting with all the production team to tell the team of our progress and any ideas we wanted to put forward towards the production.
After I had my job assigned to me which was Deputy Stage Manager I was given the ‘Book’ which as I explained is a on-going process with cues on the show only. However something to note there was two Deputy Stage Managers (Me ~ Jake Newton Year 1) and (Alex Ray Year 2) . Although he mainly was there to guide me occasionally and helped me properly set out the ‘Book’ although I put all the notes in the ‘Book’. He was also there on the show nights to help if any issues occurred or if I needed any help with cueing. Basically a safety net since it was the first show where I had a lot of responsibility.
I also have my personal script in the personal script I noted down everything that was mentioned by the director for example anything said about the costume etc. . I would later reflect on the in my daily blogs or/and told the production team member who it involved. I also took it upon myself when I had time during the rehearsals to make a small note of where the actors enter and exit. As well as drew small rough diagrams on the staging of props and actors. I also wrote any notes on any visual cues and started to note a few possible cues down. I even wrote in during some scenes where I had spare time what each actor does and roughly where. This was mainly due to the free time I had the beginning of the process and I figured this would be a good way to have a written progress report of each show.
Lastly for my noting process during the rehearsals I had several note books where I made some notes then later reflected about them in my daily blogs on word press. Another task I done as a Deputy Stage Manager was during runs I would write any paraphrasing from the cast. I would then later post it onto Facebook for the cast to work on this. I tried to make it as clear as possible by jotting down what character page and a mini explanation of the paraphrasing or mistake.
When we started to rig the lights and program lights for the show I tried to help by looking through my notes to give them more of an idea to help them know what needs to be programmed. The main reason I was needed for this was the Lighting Designers both being year 2 had another show to focus on towards their final major project. This meant that I needed to make sure everyone was updated on rehearsals and any changes. Especially towards the show night when props and scenery was being set up I was the only one in rehearsals for about 2 weeks. Having the odd rehearsal where the majority of the cast was in rehearsals.
Towards the end of the preparation process a few days before the show the Lighting Operator and Designers (Alex Ray + Richard King) Met with the director. This was to get all their lighting cues I then later went through all the lighting states after they were programmed one by one. This was so I could add them into the ‘Book’ and so I could see each lighting state. I started with just noting the cue number and drawing a line onto a blank page where the cues are. I also made sure to note Blackouts in the ‘Book’ as they are very important and can cause issues if said too early. Also for sound effects I simply used the ones from the actual script itself. And used my notes from my personal script to move them where the Director wants them. Also for the ‘Book’ I decided to add the names of the cues from the LX desk into the ‘Book’. The reason for this was for two practise rehearsals I was sat downstairs with the LX desk temporarily so the Lighting could be edited quicker and more efficiently if needed. I glanced at the cues on the LX desk occasionally using the names for each cue to help me and decided it makes sense for me to write these into my script as for the show nights I will not be sat near the LX desk. This made it a lot easier and if any cues were skipped or issues occurred I could see what the LX operator would see on their desk to try and help the problem if it occurred.
Just before the show we had one day on a technical run for us to get all the notes and make any adjustments needed. We also had a dress run mainly to see and practise the show. Lastly we had a Band Run this was purely so we could get use to the band although through out rehearsals underscores were added it was mainly for the actors and partly me to hear the full band play them.
The way the show nights worked was the Two Deputy Stage Managers (Jake Newton- Me + Alex Ray) would sit in the theatre on the left of the audience to observe the show and so I could cue the show. (Alex Ray) was also the Sound Operator for the show and had a computer next to me. The Lighting Operator (Richard King) was up in LX which is in a small box above the theatre. And the two Sound Technicians (Doug Tagg and Jordan Brown) were behind Me and Alex. I had cans to cue the Sound Operator and Lighting Operator. There was one minor issue was that Alex’s Cans was slightly more quiet than mine meaning the Lighting Operator had a few issues. Cans = Technical Theatre Radio Essentially.
Something that was decided towards show night was that there will be no projections. this mean’t I had less cues. the main reason for this was due to the band being on steel deck and always being near the sike meaning it would be hard to get a clear projections. It also means that we (Production Team) could focus on other elements to prepare for the show.
Above is a time-lapse of Bonnie and Clyde and us setting up the stage. This was over several days during production week. And included creating some of the set getting the steel deck up, rigging lights and programing lights. as well as any other general jobs that needed to be done towards the upcoming show we were preparing for. This also included the tech, dress and band rehearsals for the show.
Show Nights ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Wednesday 17th May 2017
Bonnie And Clyde – 1st Show
I felt I took on board all the notes I had got given from the dress and technical run. I decided to add fade times of all the cues from the Lighting Desk the reason for this was during the dress and technical run its mainly fades that were too early or late. I feel this helped greatly and made me have a lot less cues got wrong during the show run.
Notes were made by the other Stage Manager (Alex Ray) during the show. These were mainly for his evaluation as well as for me so I can see all the notes on each cue and improve them. It was also partly so he could make any lighting changes if needed.
I decided to look at these notes just before the show and occasionally throughout the shows added in more notes for example: ‘On a musical note’ or ‘Later than I think’ . This was to remind myself during the shows and make myself aware that it was a cue that I needed to improve. Also if any changes were made with fades etc. The Lighting Designers (Alex Ray + Richard King) would mention this to me so I can make any adjustments into the ‘Book’. As well as after each show I n the morning the Deputy Stage Manager (Alex Ray) would make sure I understand each cue that was too early or late.
Notes From Show One:
Lx Cue: 3 – Too Late – Lighting Operator Issue?
Lx Cue: 16 – Too Early (My Note)
Lx Cue: 54 – Way Too Early (My Note)
Made In America – Missed Chase (My Note)
Overall Evaluation 1st Show Night
Looking at the cues I got wrong the only major issue I had which happened was the chase for ‘Made In America’ this meant we was one cue behind however when I cued I made sure it was timed well so it was not too noticeable and done it at the end of verse during the song. The only issue was it was late but I tried my best to sort the issue by cueing so it was not as noticeable. Another note I got given was during songs when they sing occasionally the lights would come up as they sing rather than a few seconds before. Honestly I was very surprised with how well this went there was only a few times I gave visuals to either the Deputy Stage Manager/Sound Operator (Alex Ray) or Lighting Operator (Richard King) . I also asked for a few cues to be done by the Deputy Stage Manager (Alex Ray) This was either because some things I couldn’t see as he was sat closer to the stage. Or it was because it was a repeat cue error. These were mainly band based as this was probably because we had only listened to the band once or twice and occasionally they had playoffs or musical notes before and after scenes. However I tried to make notes of these in the ‘Book’ to try and prevent this again and hopefully do the cues myself. Overall I feel this was a major improvement on the dress and technical runs.
Thursday 18th May 2017
Bonnie and Clyde – 2nd Show
Notes From Show Two:
Lx Cue: 83 – Late (My Note)
Lx Cue: 84 – Early (My Note)
Lx Cue: 86 – Early (My Note)
Lx Cue: 90 – Late (My Note)
Lx Cue: 105 – Late – Lighting Operator Issue?
Lx Cue: 108.5 – Late (My Note)
Lx Cue: 109 – Late – Lighting Operator Issue?
Tom – Went Over Blanche + Bucks Scene Made Lights Late For Bullet Removal Scene
Overall Evaluation 2nd Show Night
From this run I found it strange but I had more notes it may have been the fact I was tired possibly. but I kept being slow or fast on fades with cues especially for Act: 1 although Act: 2 was very good as usual I think Act: 2 has a faster energy about it meaning I am not waiting for cues as much keeping me constantly busy where as Act: 1 is more slower. From this run it showed that even if the first run goes well it doesn’t mean that the rest will go as well. However a few errors was made by the Lighting Operator (Richard King). However this was the best Act: 2 for the shows however Act: 1 had a lots of late and early cues. I didn’t add many notes from this show as the majority was me needed to cue later or early for the fade times to be right. One general note was after each scene could I pause the blackout for 1 second to let the actors get their final pose. Also one major cue I gave to the Deputy Stage Manager (Alex Ray) was the start of Act: 2 beginning as their is a long playoff into the song. After these two cues however I continued to cue.
Friday 19th May 2017
Bonnie and Clyde – 3rd Show
Notes From Show Three:
Lx Cue: 53 – Early (My Note)
Lx Cue: 74 – Early (My Note)
Lx Cue: 90 – Late Again (My Note)
Lx Cue: 106 – Early (My Note)
Lx Cue: 107 – Very Late (My Note)
Lx Cue: 122 – Early (My Note)
Lx Cue: 136 – Late (My Note)
Lx Cue: 138 – (My Note)
Overall Evaluation 3rd Show Night
I felt this was the worse out of all the shows for my cues. I made some small notes on a few however I felt most were just plain late or early. I was quite annoyed after Act: 1 with how bad this show night went. I weren’t sure why it went so wrong other than I just need to make sure it don’t happen again. As far as lighting desk issues everything went fine for tonight’s show.
Saturday 20th May 2017
Bonnie and Clyde – 4th Show
Notes From Show Four:
Lx Cue: 67 – Late – Lighting Operator Issue?
Lx Cue: 108 – Early (My Note)
Lx Cue: 121 – Very Early and Skipped A Cue – Lighting Operator Issue?
Lx Cue: 136- Late (My Note)
Overall Evaluation 4th (Final) Show Night
I felt today run was by far the best all cues were pretty well done and came close to perfect run. Some cues were actually on the lighting operators end. One major issue that almost occurred was during one of the cues the desk skipped a cue and he didn’t warn me. The reason I didn’t notice was the cues were particularly close to I was getting ready to cue the Lighting Operator. Luckily the Deputy Stage Manager (Alex Ray) warned me over cans and we manage to prevent a blackout from being way too early.
Overall Evaluation/ Strengths and Weaknesses
I felt I made sure I was lot more prepared than the last show we did (Bent) and from my previous evaluation I said about how I lacked a lot of communication with other production team members. I felt this job role helped improve that greatly and encouraged me to make more suggestions and overall work more as a team towards the show.
However my main weakness with this project was me being confident with myself, I felt during the show nights when I cued if I had more tension and stress it actually helped me focus compared to when I was relaxed. My slight proof to this was my best runs was actually the first and last shows. typically the most stressful being the opening and closing night as first night I wanted to prove myself I could do it and the last night I wanted to show I can take on aboard notes. I think this is something I need to work on for the future and try to keep calm and relaxed with technical jobs as well as still do it to a great standard. And also try to take on notes better I will admit at times I made a few excuses as to why it messed up occasionally. I also feel I had a lot of ideas however disregarded some of them as I did not want to take over a job and also as some of my ideas were mainly if we had more budget or time.
I do also feel that it would have been nice to be able to give some ideas forward to the director however he seemed to have his vision and knew roughly what he wanted by the time I had my ideas thought out.
A strength would greatly be my organisation because of numerous times I was just watching the rehearsals I made lots of notes and fed back notes if the production team needed them. I felt although I had a spare person for help if needed I didn’t rely too heavily on him (Alex Ray).
From this show it taught me a lot about organising a show and most importantly a way on how to set out the ‘Book’. This meant that I had to always keep a eye on the progress and was in rehearsals the most meaning I could see the show coming together as weeks went.
When I cued the show I cued it slightly differently. In general you state the cue and number which I did and say ‘standby’. Rather than do this I said the cue and number and used the word ‘and’ as my standby instead. luckily as we had done this during rehearsals this was not a issue. Although in other shows I should use ‘standby’s’ as much as I can. Although to clear up what I was doing before the shows I made sure the sound operator and lighting operator was aware this was how I did the cues with them and will be doing it the shows. Next time I need to be aware if I cue any shows that I always have standbys and do not use the ‘And’ between and go as my standby.
For next time I feel I would be able to do all my notes and approach a show with more independency. This is something that developed during this production however it is a skill which I would want to improve for future productions. I feel that after this production I could also observe some people and how they approached bringing the show together in the short time we had. This also meant I could see how each role prepared for the show as well as get experience in being a Deputy Stage Manager.