Evening of One Acts announcement

Congratulations to the playwrights whose work was selected for the 2011 Evening of One Acts, which will be performed November 29 & 30!

…Of My Dreams by Brent Hearn
Director: Ginny Holladay
“They say love has no bounds; even within the realms of your sleeping dreams?”

Treed by Hal Corley
Director: Anna Rebmann
“Three Christmas tree ornaments vie for supremacy, finally rediscovering ‘peace on earth.’”

First Class Failure by Jill Cromwell
Director: Amy Grabow
“AUDIENCE BEWARE: Observing writers are within your vicinity. If you are not careful, you could very well be immortalized in their writings or…one act plays. “

Gummy Bears by Alice Grimwood
Director: Grace Varland
“Three girlfriends face heated discussion of life-long difficulties, each choosing her own method of dealing.”

Opening the Past by Anna Rebmann
Director: Eleanor Baxter
“What it might look like to meet your match at exactly the wrong time.”

Many thanks to all who submitted plays for consideration.  Anyone wishing to submit material for consideration in next year’s Evening of One Acts, mark your calendars for the submission deadline, September 1, 2012.

I found a new love in the world of theatre……

My experience with the One Acts Festival started my freshman year, when (for some stupid reason that I do not even remember) I missed my chance to see the one and only performance.  Trust me, after hearing all about the show, I truly wished and still do wish I had been there.

The next year, I co-stage-managed for Philosophy of a Kiss, directed by Rachel Bowman.  (Before POK, I had only stage managed for a dance show at my high school)  At Belhaven, I quickly learned that calling a show is not the only job of the Stage Manager.  I don’t think I had any idea how important a stage manager is to a production.  I had an awesome time tapping into my very strong Type-A, oldest-child personality.  I loved all the organization and office supplies that I was required to use.  Making forms, calling late actors (almost every rehearsal), taking blocking notation, supporting the director…  I had found a new love in the world of theatre.

Junior year I was cast in The Collector, directed by my roommate, Moriah Whiteman.  Seeing as how I am a Production emphasis, I had only been in one other show at Belhaven.  I was a wee bit worried.  Jumping right in with my fellow cast mate, P.A.S., we had a real groovy time exploring and getting to know the characters.  Our rehearsals were not exactly what one would call normal.  We spent one rehearsal just wandering around the Center for the Arts, taking pictures.  Another time, we brought in five things that we found meaningful and told the story that each object held; these became the props we used for the show.

It was after The Collector that I pretty much begged Joe to let me take his directing class.  (I had to beg, because the directing class was not within my catalogue and I had not taking the Acting I class.)  I did not really have a desire to direct, but I wanted to learn what a director’s process is and how, as a designer or stage manager, I could better communicate with and aid Directors in their process.

This semester has been a huge learning process.  I am learning how to communicate with actors, stage managers, designers, and professors in a way that I have never had to before.  I am in charge of making sure that the story is told in the best way possible.  Talk about pressure.  My roommate and former director, Moriah Whiteman, wrote the script that I chose to use.

[Sic] is a strange and personal story and I have been very aware of upholding the integrity of the script and making sure that the story is told in a respectful manner.  My amazing cast and wonderful Stage Manager have made this process unforgettable.  I cannot wait for everything to come together, and to see how an audience responds to the story.  I have been so blessed by this directing experience, and by the vast and varied experiences, I have encountered through the One Acts Festival.

—– Senior Production Emphasis (CS)

Directors Unite or at Least Share

We took the opportunity to ask our Student Directors in our One Act process the same questions we asked the Student Stage Managers and these were their answers:

1. What is currently the most exciting part of your job in the one acts?

  • Interacting with my cast and crew; being able to collaborate with such talented people is wonderful.
  • The learning process. My goal is that the actors, SMs, the audience, and myself all react to each other as both teacher and student. We all are discovering and going away from this show having learned something. Even if it is that they hated it. Even that reaction is still exciting to me.
  • The most exciting part of the process has been the fact that I have been able participate in something new and challenging.
  • Watching the collaborative process happen.
  • I never thought I would want to direct a show and now that I am, I am simply loving it! I enjoy witnessing the progress of the actors from day one to performance night and seeing the collaborative efforts of everyone involved. It’s a wonderful experience!
  • The most exciting thing as a director has been getting into the first few rehearsals with my cast.  I loved getting to know them and helping to foster their relationship onstage.

2. What has been the most challenging part of your job in the one acts?

  • Translating what is in my head into terms that my actors can understand.
  • Just sitting back and realizing what the most important things to work on are. It’s too easy to get bogged down in a single aspect or a single detail to the point where I neglect the big picture. It’s also too easy to get into unnecessary exercises that I don’t even use properly.
  • The most challenging part of the process has been clear articulation sometimes of what I want the actors to do.
  • Being decisive and economical with time.
  • The process of learning to modify and adjust your ideas (on the spot) when you plan for a rehearsal and it doesn’t work. 🙂
  • The biggest challenge for me has been setting blocking!  As we explored the text, so many interesting things were happening, I hated to have to choose just one.

3. What are you most looking forward to that is yet to come in the this process?

  • Letting go of the show. It will soon be in the hands of my very capable SM and actors.
  • I look forward to is seeing if my actors can take it to the next level using the information I have already given them.
  • Seeing all the pieces come together-I want others to see it.
  • What I am looking forward to in the process is seeing the actors perform in front of an audience.
  • Sitting back with my close friends and watching this show bloom onstage!
  • I am most looking forward to experiencing the audience’s response to my play.  It will be interesting to see how the audience influences and affects my cast’s performance.

4. What piece of advice would you want to give to next years Stage Managers?

  • Don’t worry so much about getting the blocking and what not done. It is way more important to create a good environment that will inspire creativity and then let your actors do their job!
  • Your actors emulate you, so be confident. A weak director with no energy will create a similar cast. Know your goal, theme, common vocabulary, and meaning of the lines in relation to these. If you know these, your decisions will be working towards them, and so will your actors.
  • The advice I would give to directors next year would be to write down exactly what you want to say in reharsals so there won’t be any confusion or miscommunication between you and the actors.
  • Relax. Believe. Enjoy. You’ll be surprised what will happen.
  • The best piece of advice I was given about this class was basically: don’t worry about it being the most spectacular thing you’ve ever done; it’s the first thing you’ve ever directed so it’s ok if it’s a failure. That definitely took the pressure off my shoulders. Just have fun with it and expect to learn A LOT!

Welcome to Theatre – Belhaven Stlye ::: aka ::: never has a busy schedule felt so right

From time to time we hope to have students write a little piece for the blog so Ginny is our first victim…..I mean guest student blogger. Coming from Germany, and encountering so many new things by being back in the USA and now at college + a major in our theatre dept. we thought she might like to share a few thoughts on it all 🙂

Enjoy Ginny’s post —

I stepped onto campus at Belhaven for the first time in August. I had never been to Mississippi before and was re-entering the United States as a resident for the first time in sixteen years. The light switches look weird here and so do the outlets. Don’t get me started on the unsettling fact that everyone around me is speaking English. Hurray for awkward MKs!

I made the decision to attend Belhaven and study theater by faith. With little prior experience under my belt, I have had the opportunity to throw myself into a world that feels like home. A few days after arriving I and my peers were auditioning for two separate productions. Pretty soon I was shown to a room stuffed with swords, books, fake flowers, telephones etc, and instructed to make Norwegian money and two wedding rings…i.e. props duty!

In our weekly departmental meeting I have played human fusbal and been a part of a five minute retelling of a Shakespeare play. I may only be a freshman in my first semester, but here at the Belhaven Theater department I have already built props and sets, learned stage combat, ushered for a show, and I am now cast in a one-act play that am so incredibly excited about! Never has a busy schedule felt so right to me.

By Ginny Holladay

The Stage Manager’s POV

Well, we are midway through the exciting annual One Act Festival process so we thought it would be a good time to ask the student Stage Manager’s a couple of questions to gain an little insight into their perspective.  Here is what they came up with:

1. What is currently the most exciting part of your job in the one acts?

  • –Anticipating my director’s needs
  • Seeing characters progress through two people acting, to characters from a play, to real-live characters that breathe life into words.
  • The most exciting part of my job is interacting with my cast and watching the show grow and change over time.  Shows always evolve so much from the first rehearsal to opening night, and it’s awesome to see what your cast learns and how they change.
  • The most exciting aspect of the One Acts currently for me is the organization (sounds nerdy, I know) and being the one behind the scenes getting stuff ready so that the Director and Actors have what they need so the rehearsals can run like they should.
  • — I’ve really enjoyed the collaboration between the director, the cast and I. It’s a HUGE responsibility to be in charge of taking down all of the blocking, making sure everyone knows when and where rehearsals are, and being sensitive to everyone’s needs but I’ve loved doing that. Knowing that I am trusted to keep the entire process running smoothly is daunting, but a challenge I feel I’m qualified to meet.
  • — I think the most exciting part of my job so far has been being able to be in rehearsal and see all the action.  I have liked working on the blocking notation, although Schneidering can be a tough one sometimes, it is fun and I like the experience.
  • The most exciting part of my job is watching the actors develop in their characters.
  • I think the most exciting part of being an SM right now is watching as the show continues to progress and blossom into an amazing show, so cool!
  • Scheduling all the different shows and being in a sense in charge of that
  • Being involved in the rehearsal process is, so far, the most exciting.  Blocking our show was my favorite part.
  • Setting up the rehearsal and tearing it down.

2. What has been the most challenging part of your job in the one acts?

  • — Obtaining accurate information about the performances
  • — Learning the boundaries of my job as to not speaking my own aesthetics opinion.
  • It is sometimes challenging for me to keep all the schedules, requests, calendars, forms, notes, meetings etc. under control.  Organization is not my strong point, so this has definitely been a challenge for me.  It’s a lot to keep track of and can be pretty overwhelming at time.
  • —  The biggest challenge for me so far has been staying within my job boundaries as the Stage Manager. When it comes to creative aspects of the show or something like getting the costumes checked out (which in this case is the director’s job), it has been difficult for me to just sit back and trust that whoever needs to get it done will do it. The type A side of me has been learning to trust in others over the past month…
  • I’ve struggled a little bit with having to remember and do so many duties at once. I have to follow the actors in the script while simultaneously following their blocking and listening to the random requests the director comes up with throughout rehearsals. My multitasking skills are being sharpened everyday in order to meet everyone’s needs and still keep focused on the tasks I have at hand. Another challenge is successfully taking down blocking in Schneider so that I’m able to relay the actors’ blocking to them whenever they have questions.
  • One thing I found challenging was getting certain deadlines/dates set from those that set those sort of things.  Another thing that was also challenging was keeping up with all the paperwork that comes with stage managing.  There are a lot of forms!!
  • The most challenging part of my job is working out all of the schedules among all the people.
  • Keeping up with blocking for a show that is only blocked in general stage directions is a little more difficult, not to mention, making up schneider for yoga is a bit challenging too! hahaha
  • Being on top of things that I am not always have been informed directly about
  • So far, the most challenging part of the process has been making forms for my prompt script.  There are so many!!!
  • Keeping up with all the paperwork and the ever developing blocking notes.

3. What are you most looking forward to that is yet to come in the this process?

  • — Calling the Show
  • Sitting in the booth on headset calling “light cue”
  • I’m really looking forward to calling a show for the first time.  Although I know I will be really stressed out, it’s one of those responsibilities that I really look forward to.  It’s just really exciting to get to performances and see everything come together!
  • I am really looking forward to getting to sit in the Stage Manager’s booth to call the show…. I saw the booth when I visited during Discover day ’07 and have always wondered what it would be like to sit there and call my own show.
  • The satisfaction that comes with calling a successful show on opening night!
  • —  Calling the show and seeing everything come together!!
  • I am most looking forward to watching the final show come together on show night.
  • I think I’m really looking forward ti seeing this onstage, and being up in the sm booth, calling the cues, and knowing that I am actually influencing the outcome of this production.
  • The show starting
  • I am most looking forward to calling the show.
  • —  Seeing the final show put on with all technical cues going at the right time.

4. What piece of advice would you want to give to next years Stage Managers?

  • — Don’t freak out about your job. Be a little stressed out, but don’t freak out. Freaking out helps no one.
  • As we learned in class paperwork is the most time consuming task… you should get it done FAST and FIRST!
  • Get your paperwork done as soon as possible!  There’s a lot of stuff that you can do even before auditions, and it will make your job SO much easier if you go ahead and knock it out before you really get into the process.
  • Take copious notes during class. Kris covers everything you need to know and they’re a great reference for when One Act time comes around. Do your paperwork beforehand- get it out of the way. Don’t procrastinate on anything- just get up and do it. And be AWSOME!! (One of you will be my SM next year 😀 muahahaha)
  • Something that I learned early on in Production Supervision-“You’ll never have as much time to do paperwork as you do before the first rehearsal.  Also, make your own forms so that you have them all on your computer and you don’t have to deal with trying to get the ones from the book blown up to the correct proportions on the copier!
  • 1.)Keep your forms ORGANIZED, it really helps when all the paperwork comes in. Also have your prompt script organized and labeled so things don’t get lost.  2.) SCHNEIDER ALL THE TIME! When it’s time to take blocking notes, it really helps to know your schneider and it can be difficult to try and read your key and take notes at the same time.  So Schneider when ever you can, it really is worth it. 3.) Remember this: “Prior planning prevents poor performance.” If you keep that in mind throughout this process then you will do just fine. 🙂
  • My piece of advice I would give to next year’s SMs would be to keep up with all of the paperwork.
  • I would say stay on top of your paperwork cause it will get you every time you get behind, it’s always really hard to catch up, no matter what you tell yourself!!
  • Learn how to be a good leader, and maintain your calm in stressful times
  • I would say, make sure you get your forms done early!  Even though there are so many, you will never get them all done in a timely fashion if your form making run into rehearsals.  It’s just not a good idea.
  • Paitience is key and keeping up with paperwork is a tedious but necessary task.

The One Act Play Festival

We are in full swing with rehearsals on our Fourth Annual One Act Play Festival!

The Festival is a joint class project between our Directing and the Production Supervision classes.  The Directing students choose 10-20 minute plays (from a pile of scripts that includes pieces written by students in the Scriptwriting class), and the Production Supervision class act as stage managers for the productions.  This fall, the students in the Technical Resources class are functioning as Lighting programmers for the productions as well.

This year, we have 6 directors, 11 stage managers, and a cast of 16 actors from all across the campus, who are already a week into preparations for the performances on December 1 & 2.  The performances will be presented in a Dessert Theatre format, with two stages and seating at tables in between.  Proceeds from the sales of the desserts will go to benefit Belhaven’s Alpha Psi Omega cast, Iota Upsilon.