Day 7 Topic 1
In this section, we will discuss basic stagecraft knowledge. Many singers get a good deal of training with their voices but can feel out of place on the stage. Let’s discuss some of the most important things you need to know so you can step out onto the stage with confidence.
If you can’t do it safely then don’t do it. If you feel unsafe then speak up and don’t suffer in silence. Familiarize yourself with the performance space, props, sets, costumes, and everything that will be on stage before any performance. Know where the potential hazard areas are.
Take time to walk through hazardous places or moves slowly with plenty of light well before a performance until you are confident you are total control. Practice fight scenes, dances, and other high movement or technically difficult moves every night before the performance so that there is not a question about how it will happen.
Wear closed-toed shoes and other appropriate attire.
Proper Rehearsal, Performance, and Strike Attire
Rehearsal attire should be as close to what you will wear in performances as possible. That usually means you have character shoes on and are approximating the costume items you will wear as much as you can from your closet during rehearsals. Wear closed-toed shoes. Wear clothes you can move, sweat in, and get dirty. The last thing you want in rehearsal is to be unnecessarily distracted or limited by your clothes.
Performance attire should suit whatever situation you are singing in. Whatever the professional standard is should be what you imitate. You must practice in your performance attire BEFORE the actual performance. There are too many things that can go wrong with clothes during a performance to have not tried doing what you plan on doing in the actual clothes you will be wearing before you get in front of an audience.
Often performers, especially young performers, will be required to help with striking a performance. Bring a different outfit for this event. Do not try to strike a show in your costume. Bring rugged closed-toed shoes that will protect your feet, wear clothes that can get dirty and protect your skin. Bring gloves if you can.
Thank you ____ (fill in the blank)
Please and thank you go a long way in the theater. It is also a way to confirm that the message was received.
So when someone calls “Places in 10 minutes” the proper response by everyone is “Thank you 10”.
Show up early, be memorized
If you aren’t at least 5 minutes early you are late. You must be ready to go whenever the rehearsal is supposed to start and not just arriving still needing to warm up and get ready.
It is at the start and end of rehearsals when opportunities for networking or career-making surprises can pop up. To be in the right place at the right time often means you are there early and stay a little longer.
Don’t be the person who holds up the progress of a production because you haven’t learned your music, lines, or staging. Not being prepared for rehearsal is the quickest way to find yourself out of a show and a job.
Don’t drink or eat in costumes unless expressly told to do so
Just don’t do it. Plan accordingly.
Don’t Touch Other Peoples Props
No matter how tempting and cool that weapon is don’t touch it unless it is your character’s prop and you are using it specifically to practice or perform with the consent of the prop master.
Sign and Calling When You Are Late
Performing on stage is a job. Clock in by signing in how the theater or company you are working for wants you to. If you don’t know then ask beforehand. “I didn’t know where to sign in” after the fact doesn’t work. If you are running late or an emergency comes up call and let the right person know. Plan for this possibility ahead of time and have the stage manager’s phone easily accessible at all times when you are on a gig.
Who’s Job is What?
Every production is a team effort. Whether opera, musical theater, recital, or rock concert it only happens if the team can work well together. So be a team player. Do your job well and be willing to help others to theirs if you are in a position to do so. Being proactive is wonderful but make sure you ask permission before making assumptions about what you think someone else needs help with. You can have boundaries of what you are willing and not willing to do. The earlier you communicate those boundaries the easier it will be for people to work with those boundaries. The success of teamwork is dependent on constant and clear communication.