Director

Directors

The Commitment

Directing a show is a fantastic experience! However it is a very demanding commitment.

You need to be aware that as well as attending every rehearsal you also need to plan choreography, blocking (the movement of the actors across the stage) and how the cast are to deliever the performance to show it at it's best; it is a musical not a concert! Time also needs to be spent at set building (giving feedback on design and progress) as well as creating the costumes and props for the show. On top of this there are various moments spent emailing individuals or searching in town for that elusive prop. In terms of time it is a far greater commitment that being onstage (a principal will do their part, where you need to be aware of all of their parts) and you should be prepared for this.

Directors will also participate in committee meetings and should let the committee know of any difficulties they face or any particular things they should be aware of.

Also be aware that this commitment increases exponentially as you get towards the show! It will become your life!

Forward Planning

Choreography

When writing down choreography, write it down in a separate place to your libretto and score. This means that you will have more space to clearly write down each of the moves (This prevents you looking like an idiot as you try to read your own notes in front of the cast). It is also a good idea to try and run through some dances yourself, there have been many times where otherwise good ideas have had to be scrapped because directors didn't appreciate the speed that spins/sits/arm movements have to be made at.

It also helps to choreograph dances from the vocal score rather than the script. The script often omits repeated passages of lyrics and of course doesn't take into account the number of bars a line takes, or any instrumental sections of the score. It makes more sense, musically, to choreograph to bars than words. HOWEVER when teaching dances the chorus will be thinking in terms of words, so you might need to internally translate bars and beats into words.

Artistic ideas

It is a good idea to get together with P&P as soon as possible to organise posters. While these don't need to be finalised until the second term, it is a good idea to get the brand of the show ready for Fresher's Fair so it can be sold to potential members better.

Timetable

Set out a timetable for both chorus and principal rehearsals and try to stick to it! In the middle of rehearsing for the shows it can seem like a lost cause and it is a comfort to see that you are on track.

Creativity

Do not worry if you have choreography meetings where you find it a struggle to come up with moves… it is unlikely that you are a professional choreographer and therefore it can take a lot of time to choreograph even the shortest of dances. Bear this in mind when planning your planning schedule! Many G&S shows feature hornpipes, madrigals and gavottes, it is acceptable to get inspiration for how these look from YouTube or other sources but do try not to completely steal ideas!

If you cannot read music, listen to the song you are going to choreograph many times in advance of choreography meetings. This will make it easier for you to make decisions about the song (This is a lot easier if the show you are doing contains interesting tunes!).

With regards to acting, many principals will bring their own ideas to the role (these may be the reasons that they were cast in the first place). So unless you have a particular idea about how a line is to be delievered, you can get away with letting them do their own thing… just not too much. It is very important to encourage the chorus to act along too, even the greatest actors will pale on a stage full of people standing around looking glum and bored.

Things the directors are responsible for…

  • All blocking and choreography.
  • Costumes.
  • Props and how they are used.
  • Organising the rehearsal schedule
  • Figuring out the whole look of the show and how it will be percieved by the audience.
  • As much input into set design and poster/programme design as they like. Some directors prefer to leave it entirely to the Technical Director (for set and lighting) or P&P (for posting and branding) respectively, many prefer to give a brief outline of what they would like while others like to be very controlling over these (not 100% recommended for the sake of said Director's available time/sanity).
  • Inspiring the cast! The Directors will be the first point of contact for the cast should they have any problems.
  • Introducing and explaining the show to new members at the first meetings. Try something new and original, like sock-puppets or interpretive dance.

Directors may wish to appoint a separate person to take care of props, costumes or to be a dedicated choreographer. This is particularly useful if costuming will require a lot of construction work or design that is time consuming. Intentions to do this should be brought up at the Joint Committee Meeting when directors pitch the show, the committee will then decide whether to officially appoint (co-opt) additional people to committee.

Where to get things

  • Fake flowers- Boyes, Cheap shop at the top of Fossgate (opposite the army and navy store), Poundland
  • Flags- Any touristy shops
  • Wicker Baskets- Barrets, Whittards
  • Costume Props- Fantasy World, Festival Of Fun
  • Hiring Costumes- Theatre Royal costume hire, Homburgs Theatrical Costumier in Leeds. Also we discovered that there is a large costume shop just outside of York which seemed to have a lot of stock Dress Circle of York.
  • Stage Make-up- Dress Circle of York
  • Standard Make-up- Superdrug, Poundland
  • Material- Boyes (often what most of the vouchers are spent on)
  • Also remember that the container has a lot of props and costumes already inside. Some may need slightly altering but there's no sense in renting or buying pirate flagons when we already own 6.
  • Drama Soc has a props list that takes up about half of the document that records what all societies own. They may be happy to help, they may not, depending on what they're using and when.
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