Well it’s probably not what you think. The first thing that may be interesting is that the actors don’t often wear costumes until the dress rehearsals! Interesting right? A lot of other things go on behind the scenes to prepare for a show. For instance, people have to make all of the costumes. Yep, amazing costumes can’t just be ordered, they have to be made. All of the props are made as well; such as furniture and the scenery. Lights and sound are also controlled by key individuals working behind the scenes. And lastly, there is the musical ensemble. Making great productions requires that you have great musical numbers especially if the production is itself a “musical,” which is what we is done at the Bigfork Summer Playhouse. If you don’t believe it check out these pictures for proof. It’s crazy how much preparation goes into the performing arts. The video lasts awhile but we wanted to give you are comprehensive crash course on theater preparation.
Here you will find the director, music director, choreographer and the actors running through each scene. The whole idea is to try and perfect actors’ performance. Finding what works in terms of stage movement, music, lights and acting are key points in this arena of theater preparation. The directors and choreographers are there to interpret the script so that the show is flawless. You will also find that this is where actors try to become and perfect their characters through practice and will eventually make their roles come alive. If you talk to anyone on this end of things, you will find that the reward is in the finished product and in seeing it succeed.
Props and Costume Design:
On this end we have, costume designers, painters, scenery designers, sewers, and prop makers. The show would seem bare if it had no props and the actors did not have costumes. These very important people are a huge part in making the show look and feel real. Usually you will find the costume designers sewing away in the costume shop, and the prop makers building away in the shop. The costume shop is full of costumes like suits, baseball uniforms, dresses, shoes, you name it they have it when it comes to costumes. In the shop, you will find props and signs from the past hanging on the walls. You will also see countless paint cans, wood and anything else you would need to make the set. They are a fun bunch and can be seen laughing about life as they make things. If you talk to any of them, they will say that it is a pleasure to see their props looking good on the stage during opening night.
Lights, Sound, and the Stage Manager:
Please don’t have a show without these people. The sound technician makes sure that everyone sounds good. Sometimes you will find him recording actors so that they can hear how they sound. Sometimes you will see him testing his mics and telling people how they work. He also plays a key role in making the production sound as professional as possible.
The light technician is in charge of the lighting of the show. He is in charge of scene transition, creating mood, and other things like the fog machine and making sure the scene looks good in a black light setting. You will often see him fixing up his long string of lights so that it works effectively. He is a key player in the begining stages of production, there to work out any “hang-ups.”
The stage manager is there to make sure everything runs according to planned. He plans, controls, and evaluates what goes on during rehearsals. He also plays a big part in employee problems, being there for anyone who needs it. He is in charge of the stage as well as the costume shop and the shop. His job is to make it come together.
Our musical ensemble section consists of a percussionist, woodwind player, brass player, and a keyboardist. Something interesting about our keyboardist is that he plays several keyboards at once. It sounds great when you put it all together and it really compliments the production. What we do is have the ensemble practice for a couple weeks alone at first and then we have them practice with the actors a week before the premier. You will often ask, “How is it going” and they will tell you that they are writing and rewriting their musical scripts so that the music fits what is going on in the rest of the show. One great sign that the production is getting good is when the show flows great with the music. If you ask a musician what they believe to be the best part of the job they will tell you that they love it when their music is complimented by people who were touched by it.
Once this is all put together and perfected we have a show! Come see the shows this summer by buying tickets.