CALL FOR DIRECTORS
Call for all aspiring directors wishing to direct a play in the MADC annual One Act Play Festival to be held in September 2017, is now open. Scripts must be submitted by not later than Friday 31st March 2017.
Submitted entries will be accepted on a first come first serve basis, preference being given to those applicants who are fully paid up members of the club and to directors who have not participated in this festival before.
The following is the criteria for entry:
MADC ONE-ACT PLAY FESTIVAL
SCRIPT AND STAGING
1. Choose a play that you like and which is practical to stage and to cast. Since this festival is there to give an opportunity to actors as well as directors it is recommended you choose a play with at least four characters and with as many parts for women as possible as these outnumber men at all auditions. In this festival plays must not run for longer than 30 minutes. A practical way to cut lines from scripts is remove any undue repetition. If necessary ask The Artistic Director for help with this.
Read your script at least three times to ensure you have a clear picture of the characters and the plot and if possible also of how you are going to stage it. Eg if it is a scene in a room decide which side of the stage will lead to the ‘front door’ and which to the rest of the house apartment etc. Keep in mind that there is just a small passage on Stage Left which is, more often than not taken up with sets, leaving you with just a small area down-stage (in the window recess) where a person might be able to exit to and re-enter. The best side to put your more frequent and important entrances and exits is Stage Right. Remember that the directions in the script are only there to give you a guideline for blocking.
2. At auditions you may be given a selection of either A (experienced) or B (less experienced) actors, depending on who turns up, to choose from and each director will be allowed a similar number of either A or B actors. Since casting ultimately depends on the turnout of applicants it is customary for the directors to compromise on the final selection for the benefit of all concerned.
3. A meeting will be arranged with the festival stage manager as early as possible so that he or she can decide the practical order for the plays to be performed. For this meeting you must prepare your list of furniture, scenery and props required. It has become a policy to keep these to a minimum since backstage space is very limited.
4. Rope in a good friend to do ‘book’ or ASM. This person must be capable of attending as many rehearsals as possible, especially once the actors have learnt their lines, and also of being available at each performance to sit in the wings on stage and prompt the actors as well as give the light and sound cues to whoever is working the lights and sound. It has become the norm for most directors to work their own sound cues during the performances. One operator is used to set (prepare) and work the lights for all plays. Let the Artistic Director or the executive producer know, if you have problem finding an ASM.
5. Once your play is cast ensure you have everyone’s contact numbers and ask your cast if there are any particular days when they can’t attend rehearsals. Make up a draft Rehearsal Schedule, based on the rehearsal schedule you will be given by the executive Producer, so that you ensure that every scene or section of the play is included.
6. Decide on a practical place to rehearse since the clubrooms are not available to everyone every day. The Executive Producer will be giving you a rehearsal schedule indicating when it is your turn to use the clubrooms especially as the Festival approaches.
7. At rehearsals try to work on the way lines are delivered so that the meaning of the words is correct enabling the entire audience to understand what is going on. If you feel actors need individual help get in touch with the Artistic Director and she/he will do her/his best to assist. As artistic director of the club she/he will be popping in to see your rehearsals and offer advice which may ultimately help to improve (a bit) your play.
8. You also need to work out the ‘moves’ of the actors in the play and it is advisable for actors to jot down moves in case the ASM is not present at all rehearsals. These moves might have to be changed many times as you all become more familiar with the play’s requirements.
9. You will be called to attend two very important meetings. One will be with the stage manager so that you can inform him/her of your set and furniture requirements, as previously explained; the other with the lighting technician so that you can inform him/her of your lighting requirements.
10 You would also need to meet with the person responsible for the club's props department, for any small props you may require for your play. Any props purchased for your production remain your property.
11. Meetings must also be held with the Wardrobe mistress to discuss your play’s costume requirements and whether such costumes are available from our extensive wardrobe. Make-up is provided by the club only if specials make-up is needed (eg aging, scarring, etc) otherwise actors apply their own. If the help of the make-up artist is needed please inform the Executive Producer so that he/she can contact our club make-up department to advise you.
12. As the Festival week approaches you will be advised by the Stage Manager and/or by the Executive Producer of the order of the plays and days and time of your technical rehearsals. These are run in the order of performance since light cues are set during these rehearsals and the dimmer board must be programmed in the order of the plays as they will be performed.
Each play will be allotted a 3 hour rehearsal time. Technical rehearsals will run according to a predetermine schedule based on the sequence on which the plays will be performed on the night.
13. Technical rehearsals are a busy time for all concerned but especially for the backstage crew as this may be the first time they are actually physically involved in working on the production. Try to ensure they have attended at least one of your run-throughs so they have a good idea of the sequence and technical features of your play.
14. The dress rehearsal is an exact replica of what you will be performing on the night of the actual performance. All costumes, props, lights and sound cues must be the same as those used on the night. Try to ensure that all your cast are there in time for make-up and to get their costumes in order when it is their turn to use the dressing room.
15. Dress rehearsal will be held on the Tuesday for those performing on Thursday and Saturday and on the Wednesday for those performing on Friday and Sunday. These rehearsals start at 7.30pm
FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE NIGHTS
16. These commence on a Thursday for a paying public at a time still to be stipulated, continuing with the second night on the Friday. On Saturday a replica of Thursday’s programme will be performed for the public as well as a judging panel. Same on Sunday (same plays as Friday). The judges will do their best to give an overall critique of each play as well as a short one on each actor nominated. Awards are for Best Production, Best Direction, Best Actress, Best Actor and Most Promising Actor and Most Promising Actress. There will be three nominations for each award whenever possible.
Here the judges will be able to go into more detail about each individual performance and each director and actor will be able to openly discuss his interpretation/performance.
18. Surprisingly early in your rehearsal process you will be approached by your executive producer or by the person in charge of publicity to prepare information to go inside the Programme.
You would need to write up a plot synopsis of not more than 50 words as well as list your cast in order of appearance. The name of your ASM must also be included. If you have any other friends who are helping you on the night their names are to be passed on to the Stage Manager for inclusion with the backstage crew.
All the above details must be submitted by not later than the end of July.
20. A copy of your final script must be forwarded to the Administrative Secretary, but not later than the 1st August so that she will be able to compile the judges booklet.
Below some are technical details you need to decide on and for those with less experience than others, also some terms used on stage
Order of Plays: These will be performed mainly depending on which play needs most time to set up. Usually these are the first plays of the evening.
Scenery and Props: The scenery (or Set) could simply consist of a back-drop (back wall) made up of the long curtains at the club or you may opt for a painted flat with windows or a door or both or a scene of some sort. Keep simple please.
Also part of the scenery is the furniture to help you create the scene you require, say a garden bench and a couple of plant pots if it’s meant to be a garden etc., etc.
PROPS are the small objects like teacups or piles of books etc., whilst personal props are those objects usually carried on stage by an actor eg a briefcase, umbrella or letters in pockets etc.
Lighting and Lights plot: It is up to the director how he wishes to light up or darken the stage or acting area of the play. The club stage lighting is not very extensive but plan what effect you need and make sure actors are aware of where they have to stand if you are using some sort of spot on them. Check whether you need a table lamp to light, etc.
You will need to tell the Lighting Technician, at a pre-arranged meeting, your lighting requirements and the effect you want to create. Due to the constrains of the lights available the lighting technician will do his/her best to give you exactly what you want but please keep in mind that she/he may not be able to accommodate you fully. These sets of lights or light cues, must then be numbered and noted in the place on your main script (which is held by the ASM) exactly where they must come on during the run of the play. The director and ASM must be clear when the light cues are so the ASM can
Sound: with the help of a technician or these days just with the help of your computer (!) prepare a CD with the various bits of music or other sound effects (birdsong or car arriving etc.) that your play requires. Probably you, the director, will sit in the little lighting gallery with the lights technician to work your sound cues during your play. Speakers are permanently rigged up at the clubrooms. If for some reason you can’t work the sound or when you are one day working in a more major theatre, sound cues also have to be noted in the main script and cues given to the sound man by the ASM.
Stage left is on the left of the actor on stage as he faces the audience
Stage right is on the right of the actor on stage as he faces the audience
Up-stage is toward the back of the stage (i.e. furthest from the audience)
Down-stage is toward the front of the stage (i.e. closest to the audience)