Monday, November 26, 2007

A Christmas Carol - Blog 1 - Matthew Wiener

Better late than never. Time to kick off the Xmas Carol 07 Blog-O-Rama. Today is actually the last day we will be working in the rehearsal hall. Tomorrow is the day off and then we hit the stage on Wednesday afternoon. A mere 72 hours later we perform for our first audience.

Doing A Christmas Carol every year is unlike any other project I have ever been part of in the theatre. This is the 13th year I have directed this show – the 10th year for this adaptation. If we rehearse for approximately 2.5 weeks every year - that is about 32 weeks of rehearsal. Yikes – a normal show has 4 weeks. You would think we should finally be getting this right.

But every year the journey is slightly different. Although many cast members return year after year there are always some new people that have to be worked into the show. And these new people bring new energy and ideas – which to a certain extent we cherish but on the other hand the show is pretty much locked down in terms of blocking and lighting. We call this a “remount”. Which is supposed to be easy. But hardly ever is.

A Christmas Carol is a huge undertaking for Actors Theatre. Most of our shows are performed in Stage West (300 seats) and have an average of 3-5 actors. And the set usually just sits for the most part. This show is different: Center Stage, 750 seats, 22 actors, 2 stage managers, 2 followspot operators, 3 wardrobe people, 5 stagehands, a sound mixer, a sound runner, a light board operator, and of course – a musical director. In three days getting all these people to work together as a finely tuned machine is always challenging. But we do it. Year after year. After all - it’s just a remount.

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