This series of opinion pieces about theatre personnel is reprinted with the kind permission of The Lovers, The Dreamers and You. The Lovers, the Dreamers and You consists of some very creative minds. They create a Podcast about passion, inspiration, loving what you do & following your dreams. Read their blog & download their podcast. They can be followed on twitter at @LoversDreamersU
Set Designers are crucial the a show’s success. They are also crucial to the creative process of the director – at least they are to my creative process. No matter what the play or musical is about, if I don’t have a set design, then I can’t see the show coming to life in my head and in turn I will have difficulty in bringing that vision to the cast for them to give it life.
I’m a pretty visual person, but I work kinetically on a play. This means that I need to be able to feel in my gut what is the crux of a scene and give it some truth in the physical relationships of the characters involved. That holds true if it is a musical number or a dramatic, tension filled scene and the spatial relationships of the players can really affect the kinetic feeling of the scene.
A great Set Designer will read the play. Then they’ll read it again and then they’ll talk with the director and eventually be able to give them some plans, either 2D or 3D – preferably both – to help them show the entire team the world that they will be living and working in for the life of the show. The sooner a Set Designer can provide this, the better. If you don’t know the layout of your apartment, for example, how can you go shopping for furniture?
A superb Set Designer will solve script problems. Sometimes problems that you didn’t even realize were there. They’ll be able to give you solutions to scripts that read more like movies – many authors seem to forget that it is hard to transition from the dining room of a tavern to a seaside in a matter of seconds. Your Set Designer can have creative tools up their sleeve to help to tell the story in a seamless manner. They will also help to tie in the colour palate of your show and give the whole world a real sense of belonging.
Aside from knowledge of building and a good aesthetic sense, a flexible personality is necessary for a great Set Designer. They need to be able to take their artistic sensibilities and skills and apply them to the whole vision of the show. They will consider the movement of the actors, the potential difficulties of costumes and the location and operations of lighting and sound equipment. They can give a director levels to play on and moveable pieces to bring an imaginary world to an audience. And they will probably finish their design long before the other members of the crew will finish theirs. A good set design will inform the whole production – and the whole production’s process.
It’s a big job. And we always need someone to do it. Could that someone be you?
What makes the best …
The best Lighting Designers will read the script. And read it again, and again, and probably again. Their medium is very, very visual and ephemerally so.
the show belongs to the Stage Manager. It won’t happen without them. No calls are given, no audience is admitted and no curtain goes up without them.
Creativity goes with the entire job – and is vital to every aspect of being a director. You’ve got to be creative in everything you do and always be on the lookout for new ideas.
It’s a tough job. Sure it can be fun, rewarding and at times even lucrative, but acting is one of the toughest gigs in the whole business of show. Here’s why…
Good people. That’s what you need more than anything is good people who are willing to give their time to a project. Then you got to let them run with it!
Great Costume Designers deal with diva’s who don’t want to wear what has been chosen for them and directors who know exactly what they want and others don’t.
A Music Director is in the Director’s corner and has his/her back on the artistic decisions that affect the show. They know how to take that vision and translate it into the music
Producers are tough, because no two are alike and no two see their roles the same. Some folks like be very hands off and others demand to be in the thick of the production.
For Choreographic work in Theatre the skills are specific. The dance should, whenever possible, further the story or service the plot in some fashion.
Ceris Thomas is a creative person. She teaches by day – and finds as much creativity in her job as she can and by night, (and during every spare minute she has), she creates through directing/choreographing and performing plays, drawing, writing, podcasting and now, sewing puppets.
She likes to help others find and nurture their creativity and she loves finding out about other people’s path to their own creative projects. The Lovers, The Dreamers and You can be followed on twitter at@LoversDreamersU