|Organized chaos: Mockingbird set scene change|
Photo by Tony Targan
I run a lot of road races. At the starting line of every race, the starter’s commands are always “On your mark. Get set. Go!” Ordering events in this manner is universal and expected. You must get ready before you can set yourself to go. In fact, how could you do it any other way? When I was on the Mockingbird set yesterday during our seven-hour tech rehearsal, it occurred to me that staging a play actually reverses that process. We GO with just the words at the first read-through and do our initial blocking in the lobby. Then we design and build the SET as we continue rehearsals while walking through imaginary doors. We aren’t finally READY to stage the play as it will be seen until a few days before opening night. It is an amazing process to see the playwright’s words come to life, the action take shape, and the set, costumes and props give context to the play.
On tech day, this all came together in a very tangible way. The crew (director, assistant director, technical director, producer, stage manager, costume designer, sound designer and props manager) met in the Barn lobby at 10:00 a.m. We flipped pages through the entire script, identifying every light cue, sound cue and noting necessary props. The director’s vision was balanced against the technical director’s assessment of the feasibility of creating certain effects. At 2:00, the cast arrived to walk through the cue-to-cue, an abbreviated run-through that tests the timing and effectiveness of all the lighting and sound cues. We finished around 5:00.
Our staging of Mockingbird is somewhat unique in that there is no main curtain. Therefore, except for one 15-minute intermission, the action is continuous. This means that every scene or set change must take place in full view of the audience. There is no time to stop the action and get ready for the next scene before we go. The most imaginative transformation is the conversion of the Finch home and neighborhood into the Maycomb courthouse for the critical trial scene. Steve White’s creative set design and technical director Tim Timmer’s impeccable set construction have made this seamless transition possible. But to experience the full effect, you have to GO see the SET for yourself. We’ll be READY by September 30th!
Tickets at www.farmingtonplayers.org or call 248-553-2955. Find us on Facebook at "Farmington Players" http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000154976336