Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Designer Run....

As many of you are probably already aware of, the designer run is NOT a 10k or anything, but rather an opportunity, often the first opportunity for the designers working on a particular show to see how far it has come along.

It allows the designers the opportunity to see the play in a full run, before they have to add their individual technical elements. It also allows us actors the opportunity to follow our character's arc through the whole show - sometimes for the very first time in sequence, since the original read through.

I can say that this particular designer run was one of the best of which I have ever been a part. 'Line' was called by actors made three times - and we were all on top of our game. Listening, telling our story, making sure that moments hit when they needed to land. That everything was in place to take our lead character Dana along her path, to help her end where she does in the play. It was also great to hear people reacting and laughing after being alone in the room for two weeks.

There have been other designer run-throughs that have not been as lovely as this one - and I think that this one, is a testament to the artistic team that Michael has assembled for this project - and how we all jump into it 100%.

So, the function of a designer run, is not only for the actors, but as I mentioned before but moreso for the designers. It allows a sound designer to see how actors are playing certain moments, and how their sound design might support those moments. If there is something that is particularly soft, then maybe a music or sound cue will not be inserted there. Also, if there is shift music between scenes, I can only assume, seeing what note a scene ends on, helps inform what music gets put between that scene and the next to help further the story.
I can only assume that for a lighting designer, it is incredibly helpful to see how the stage space is being used as far as blocking, so they know exactly how much of the stage they need to light and when. For a set or properties designer - I can see how it would be beneficial to see how the actors use the set, if tables are being stood on and need to be braced, if chairs are being thrown against walls or knocked over -and sometimes, not as extreme as that.

But the point I am trying to make, is that these designers sometimes only get this one opportunity to see the landscape of the show before tech week when all their elements get put into practice. And it always amazes me that they are able to design the show well in advance of the first rehearsal, see a run through like this, and then make the alterations needed (if any) off site, and come back a couple weeks later all set to go.

And it reminds me just how collaborative an art form Theater is. How one story, relies on so many different elements working together, in tandem. How, much like I mentioned in an earlier blog that the building of a character is a sequential string of choices, the technical elements of a play, from lights, set, props, costume, and sound, are all themselves created in that similar sequence of choices to support the same story the playwright set down on the page.

So once again, I tell you that this production is going very well. I am extremely proud to be part of this cast and this process, and I cannot wait for you to see the final product.

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