Today, we had our first Production Meeting.
Today, for the first time ever, I sat down with Designers, Staff and Stage Managers and discussed the plan of attack for a play at Williamston Theatre. In the scheme of things, it was a little later in the calendar than I would’ve liked, but we HAD it!
For those who aren’t familiar, a Production Meeting is a big part of the creation of a play. They happen regularly before and during the rehearsal process for a play. The Director, Designers, Stage Managers and Producers all get in a room and talk.
The Producers and Stage Managers deal with the nuts and bolts of things; “This is our schedule, this is the budget, here are your contracts.”
The Director talks about the “feel” of the show, throws onto the table what he/she wants to do with the play, the “concept” (a horrible word, often a horrible directing choice, but appropriate for this conversation.)
The Designers share their thoughts on the play, and how they see their department contributing, what the design they envision is.
Then everyone bounces ideas around, some decisions are made, some are postponed, discoveries are made, the play begins to take shape on paper. This process leads up to rehearsals, where the director and actors do their creative/interpretive work and actually stage the play in 3 dimensions.
Today, this process began. In a building that’s not quite a theatre yet, but will be in a few more weeks. The process began with a company that’s building it’s own infrastructure as it builds a play. The process BEGAN!
In our meeting, I had a “moment”.
Michelle, our Stage Manager, opened the meeting with the scheduley/detailey stuff, as she should. Then she said “Next on the agenda, Artistic Director; any opening comments?” and she looked at me.
It took me 3 seconds to realize she meant me.
I’ve been in, literally, hundreds of production meetings. Nearly 2 dozen professional shows directed, nearly that many stage managed, plus a whole bunch of miscellaneous design or producing responsibilities have put me into a lot of production meetings. Always before, when the Stage Manager would say “Artistic Director”, I would listen with the rest of the table to the Artistic Director’s opening Rouse The Troops speech.
This time, she meant me. And for a second, I was lost in a realization. “Artistic Director.” The only thing I’m Artistic Director of is Williamston Theatre. And it was my turn to talk. At our first Production Meeting. Which means only one thing:
We’re making this work.
I was sitting at a table in a building that we moved into 4 and 1/2 months ago.
There were designers there, with ideas about a show that we were creating.
There were people there, collaborating on a play.
A play that will have an audience for the first time exactly one month from today.
In one month, I get to say “Welcome to the first performance here at Williamston Theatre.”
There are obstacles. Oh, boy, are there obstacles. “Opportunities in work clothes”, as my friend Dana would say.
Opportunities is right. Obstacles, challenges…and opportunities.
Today I sat in a room, and collaborated with a Production Staff.
Today, we began the process of making a play.
Today we had a Production Meeting.
It was marvelous.