Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Media Attention!

Media and Communications at Ithaca has worked on developing more attention than usual for this particular show since Brett is a student, a senior, at Ithaca and a student created musical or play has not been produced in the main stage season in 25 years.
At the first dress rehearsal on April 23rd at 8PM, IC Media and Communications interviewed Brett and video taped the show. Media and Communications also took pictures of a rough draft of the score as well as other production artifacts. Brett, Susannah, Britney, Gregory Woodward (Brett's composition teacher and mentor) as well as others have been interviewed along the way for various newspapers and online articles. Brett also got the chance to talk with Friends of Ithaca after the show on April 29th.

Links to various media and articles on The Count of Monte Cristo at Ithaca:















Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Honors Convocation Performance!

Today from 10AM-11AM, the School of Music held its annual Honors Convocation to recognize outstanding music students and their achievments in music and academics. Brett was recognized for his composition achievements, including his work on The Count in writing the lyrics and libretto as well as composing and orchestrating it.

At the end of the convocation, Brett accompanied Michael Mott and Aaron Morris in their duet from the show, Pieces on a Chessboard. The choreography was only slightly changed to fit the fact that the two actors could not use the props they usually have during the show. It looked and sounded great!

Lessons in stage combat!

The actors, above their normal lessons for any show, have had lessons in French diction as well as stage combat. There are a few scenes between a few different characters in the show who take part in friendly sword fighting. For the past few weeks of rehearsals, Casey Matteson an IC Drama major who is trained in stage combat, has given lessons to the actors that need it before rehearsals. Since late March, Casey has been giving consultation on fencing props and has done choreographing for the fencing scenes in the show. Both scenes look great!

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Dress Rehearsal!

Tonight was the formal dress rehearsal. It started a little after 8PM and will go to the end at around 11PM. The dress rehearsal includes the actors in full dress as well as makeup this time. Everything is run as it would for opening night. However, there is still allowance for stopping in the middle of a scene if absolutely necessary to fix props, lighting, sound, etc. Tonight, the show needed to be stopped for fixing props on the revolve as well as fixing the lights.
For dress there is usually a small audience as there was tonight. The audience included ACE (Access to College Education), which prepares high school students for college.
Even since last night there are still changes being made such as a word added or taken away which Susannah, the director, is capable of doing since the playwright, Brett, is always at hand to ok it. There are also changes still being made to the props in order to make the show run smoother.
Everything is continuing to get really exciting!

Tech/1st Dress!

Yesterday the actors and production crew were all at the Hoerner from 12PM-5PM with a two hour break and then from 7PM-12AM. It was the last tech rehearsal as well as the first full dress run-through. The full orchestra was present providing the accompaniment. The orchestra includes keyboard, timpani, drum set, french horn, trumpet, clarinet, flute/piccolo, oboe, trumpet, bass trombone and strings. Adam and his assistants for lighting, as well as Britney were in their usual tech positions in the audience. Both have tables set up in front of them. Adam has computers to control and keep track of the lights and Britney has two tv screens, one showing Joel in the pit and the other showing the stage. The dress run-through is set up to go right through as if it would on opening night, however there is no audience yet so the show stops if some technical aspect needs to be fixed or smoothed out. Britney informs everyone of this through her mic.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A little taste of the SET!

The set only has one large piece to it that takes up the whole stage from bottom to top. It looks like the front of a building with an aged-plaster treatment. The color is black and blue. It includes 5 balconies about 12 ft. off the ground spaced evenly across the stage. The balconies have tall windows with shutters. There are also 3 windows with shutters on the bottom with 2 wide doorways in between. The 2 doorways are where the revolve rotates in order to bring props and actors on and off the stage. The props, lighting, sound, and a projection directly below the top, center balcony stating when the action changes to a different location all act as a means to change the setting. This is rather than having extra set changes.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Night 2 of tech rehearsals!

The first tech rehearsal was yesterday night. Tonight is the second night where everything is starting to be put together and really smoothed out! The first few hours of rehearsal started with mic EQ-ing which included one actor at a time going onstage and singing or stating lines as loud as they do during the show. This lasts for about 5 minutes or so at a time in order for Tina and Don, the sound technicians, to balance the sound of each person's unique voice on stage so that the audience will be able to hear them clearly. However, I'm sure there is a lot more to mic EQ-ing then this.

At 7:30PM, the tech run of the show continued. All of the actors were in costume as they had been during mic EQ-ing. Tech is always a very intense time for any production because it is when everything is being put together and smoothed out. It includes the actors going through scene by scene in order for all of the production staff to get all the lighting, sound and stage managment cues set up. The actors are getting many things asked of them at the same time. At one point, while the actors are standing in place on stage waiting to start the scene, they could be getting instruction from Mary and then shortly after from Susannah about choreography or lines while Greg, the Costume Designer, will go onstage and fix something on their costumes. At this same time, the actors also have to be listening for Britney, the Stage Manager, to give them the cue for when and where to start the scene.

During tech, Britney sits in the audience with head phones and mic so that she can be heard around the whole theatre, including backstage. She listens to everyone working on the technical aspects of the show in order to inform the actors on stage and backstage when everything is ready to start the scene and from what point in the scene they should start. It is a lot of starting, stopping and then re-doing whole scenes. This is so that all the technical aspects can be smoothed out to fit with what the actors are doing. Each light, sound, and stage management cue is tested and taken note of for each scene and transition between scenes.

At this point in the process, the assistant stage managers are working with the backstage crew to figure out where and when to move props for each scene. While the actors wait for their cue to start, they sometimes practice the scene on their own together and from right where they are standing on stage. They will run lines or speak or sing quietly through the song in the scene that they're going over. During all of this, Don, the head sound technician, walks around the theatre and even onstage to listen to the sound coming through the mics to check how it balances in the space, etc. At this time, there is still just piano accompaniment being used but from the pit down below in the front of the stage.

While tech is going on in the Hoerner, Gail, the Assistant Director, is working with the actors who are not onstage to go over and smooth out/fine tune any scenes that need it. This takes place on the red carpet outside of the Hoerner.

Tech will continue until Monday, which will be the dress rehearsal!