From the publisher...
Getting It Right
For many of us, the year begins in the fall. It's a time for new
beginnings, with multiple auditions, season premieres
and lots of exciting new plans. Many of those plans
will come to fruition and even glory. And others
... well, those are the ones that help us live and learn.
TheatreLouisville hopes that all of our theatres will rise to new
heights this season — and with that in mind, I'd
like to depart from my usual editorial format and recommend some
resources that may help theatre groups avoid some pitfalls and smooth
out their path to success.
The Printed Page — Or Not
Two publications, Stage Directions and DramaBiz magazines, contain a wealth of success stories, helpful hints and
lessons others have learned. I have yet to pick up a single issue
of DramaBiz without learning at least two new things that have
helped me streamline processes, solve a troublesome problem or
discover a cost-saving shortcut.
The online versions (at stage-directions.com/ and dramabiz.com/,
respectively) are absolutely free. The printed magazines, which I
find much more interesting to read, with their outstanding photography
and grouped articles, are free also, if you don't mind filling out "preference" cards
a few times a year. It's a small price to pay for such a valuable
It's the Period ... Period!
I'll bet you've never put on a pre-1990s play without
having someone tell you that something in your
actors' period costumes, body language or manner
was wrong. Sure, you tried your best, but there's
just no easy resource to help you get it right ... right? Well,
now there is.
Using the Stanislavsky System: A Practical
Guide to Character Creation and Period Styles is a treasure trove of information on how men and
women dressed, moved, spoke and behaved in bygone eras. A 2008 release
authored by Robert Blumenthal (Limelight Editions, 384 pages, ISBN
978-0-87910-356-9), this volume should be on the bookshelf of every
director, producer and actor. Now that there's an easy way to get
it right, there's very little excuse for getting it wrong, especially
at the modest price of U.S. $19.95.
Don't Cry — Laugh
We all have our classic "stage blunder" story. In my own
theatre group, it's last year's production in which
an actor sat down and went right through the caning of a rocking
chair. Other favorites include a telephone ringing at stage right
with the sound panned stage left, the line flub "a fresh of
breath air" and
a production of Morning's at Seven in which a character
accused her sister of having an affair with the sister of her own
husband instead of the husband of her own sister.
Probably, the most important resource we all have is our sense of
humor, and we should make liberal use of it. Sometimes, when the
bottom falls out, it is a good thing.
Okay, Now Break a Leg
As we rev up toward the holiday season and our
busiest time of year, let's all do what we can
to get it right, as well as to enjoy every minute
of it. Here's to a great new season for all of
— A.S. Waterman
Copyright © 2008 A.S. Waterman. All rights reserved.