You have a good show. Now make it great.

I’ve been working real hard with my drama group, getting ready for our Christmas show coming up the first week of December. We’ve spent a lot of hours working the 10 different scripts we’ll be performing that night, and I’ve been really happy with how they are coming together. It’s going to be an enjoyable evening of drama and music. The audience is going to laugh and cry.

But today, as I was starting to see the entire show coming together, I finally had time to start looking at the little details of the show which could make it even more memorable and enjoyable for the audience.

I thought of a between-sketch one-minute dance number which could be added to help introduce one of the sketches. The actor of the sketch, who loves to dance, loved the  idea and is now working on the choreography. A minute minute dance bridge which will keep the audience enthralled.

I thought of other things as well: light dustings of snow in some of the sketches to help with the visuals. A painted stage which will have two red and green triangles which will look like the outline of a Christmas tree. Candy or gifts for the audience. I’m simply at the beginning  of ideas now; I’m sure many more are to come.

I firmly believe it’s these little touches which will add tremendous depth and enjoyment for the audience. So if you’re producing a show, perfect the script, but then dig deeper. Where else can value be added without breaking the bank or without taking too much time?

This will help make a good production into a great production. If you come to our show, be looking for these little touches. I hope everyone enjoys them.

Rlt christmas poster 4 sizeA5

Thank (or hug) a Drama Director

If you’ve ever enjoyed a theatrical production, take a minute and thank a drama director today. Now I’m not saying this so someone will thank me, but there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into a show, 99% of it is never seen. But the laughter you enjoy, the poignant moments that send tears down your cheek, don’t just happen. They are created out of months of work and hundreds of hours of dedication.

This topic hit me as I was planning out my week ahead of me. Now please understand, drama directing is not my full-time job. I volunteer to do it because I love it. But all of these items I’m planning to do this week – 5 weeks before the show – is what I’m currently working on as we prepare. Every director or producer will have their  own list of crazy busy-ness. Here’s mine:

Spent hours yesterday creating our show’s first flyer.

Spent many more hours yesterday and today creating individual fact  sheets for each of the 10 sketches which will be part of our show.

Coordinating our first flyer print.

Sending questions to actors for their informational sheets.

By the way, the program isn’t finished yet.

Rehearsal from 3pm to 6 pm tomorrow.

Have to schedule special rehearsals this week for 3 other sketches.

Contacting the box office about our first poster.

Meeting with tech on Monday to print cue sheets.

Coordinating sound tracks with composers.

Beginning to create the actor informational sheets.

Putting posters around campus and town.

Planning on staging. (Lights, stage painting)

Trying to track down the lost shipment of Christmas hats from the supplier.

Having impromptu photo-session for one actor who missed our regular session.

Photoshop has become a permanent part of my fingertips.

These are the items I’m working on 5 weeks out from the show. Imagine how crazy it will be when show week arrives.

All producers and directors feel this. And on top of all of this, we  worry whether anyone will show up and whether or not we will meet all our costs. Nothing is guaranteed.

Oh, and by the way, we also hope we have a good show to put on!

Lots of moving parts. Lots of sleepless nights.

Thank a director today. Or better yet, hug a director.


My Afternoon Poster

I was supposed to finish my novel this afternoon,  but I just received some photos from our drama photo shoot, so I couldn’t resist putting together my new show’s first poster.

I’m no photoshop expert, but I’m learning, and it is quite fun. I hate fonts, and need to learn about them. But I was happy with how it turned out. Lots more design work needs done, but this gives me my first promotional tool.

I’m real excited about this show. I wrote it over the summer and we’ve been rehearsing since August. Now only 5 weeks away and still a ton of work to do. But I love it! If you are going to be in Penang …

Rlt christmas poster 4 sizeA5

Gearing Up: Final Weeks before my Next Show

I’ve been on break this past week and what a gift it has been. I’ve had substantial time to write, enabling me to get a fair chunk of novel five written in my Scrivener. I also wrote a short play and dabbled in a few other projects I’m working on.

But as my precious break comes to an end, it’s going to be all drama from here. I have my new show I wrote for my group of young amazing actors – The RLT Players – and it’s coming up quickly. What’s it take to put on a great show? A lot of time and cooperation. Here’s a brief run-down of what will be keeping me busy:

Oct 27 – full rehearsal followed by photo-shoot Oct 30,31, Nov 1 – more rehearsals

Nov 3, Nov 5 – rehearsals

Nov 8 All Day Rehearsal

Nov 10, Nov 12 rehearsals

Nov 15 All day rehearsal

Nov 18 Stage Painting

Nov 19 Lighting design and set-up at theatre

Nov 20 Afternoon dress rehearsal – Evening Preview Performance

Nov 21 Evening performance

Nov 22 3pm and 8pm performances

All of that is focused on the acting and performances. What else do I need to do?

Ticket sales: We must cover our costs, so I’ll be running lots of promotions starting this week.

Design: I’ll take the photos from the photoshoot and create a display board for all nine of the skits we will be performing.

Programs: Can’t forget about the programs. Need to be designed and printed.

Cue: Cue sheets. The dreaded cue sheets. Must be created for both sound and lighting.

Front of House: Must find some people to take tickets and usher.

Sound FX: need to find and edit appropriate sound effects

Music: Must choose and edit music for before, during, and after the show

Hmmm. Is that it?

And this is all on top of my normal teaching job. No worries!

“The RLT Players present: For All Generations” – Nov 20-22 @ penang performing arts centre.


Our Passion is Creativity

I’ve been putting together the program for my RLT PLAYERS performance coming up in two weeks, and I came across this paragraph which I wrote for a program two years ago. I can’t seem to get away from it and put it in every program that I write – simply because it’s still true. So here’s a little glimpse into what we put into our shows.

“Our Passion is Creativity. Even beyond the stage. We believe in creative writing and unique productions, which challenge the way we must approach our material. We could easily purchase many fine plays to produce, but there is something almost magical about a production that has never been staged.  It takes dedication, perseverance, and, yes, faith-building, sleepless nights to see a show through from conception to opening night.  After months of writing have faded into months of rehearsals, the actors take the stage, bathed in the glow of the spotlight, backed by the pulsating music, poised to create a work that has never before been seen. 

That’s what we do. Writers—Actors—Producers—Storytellers

Thank you for being part of this journey.  Enjoy the show.