Saturday, January 29, 2011

In Review

Private Eyes has received three lovely press reviews. My mom asked me this week if reviews mattered. I think it depends on who you ask.

If you're an actor, not necessarily. A lot of actors that I know prefer to not read reviews. They don't want to be influenced away from the director's vision. Designers I think are different. I think it's always nice to see technical recognition as most people aren't aware that a lot of work goes into, say, lighting a show. And it is nice for the portfolio and getting future work.

If you're in the business of theatre, a good review is free press and a great way to get the word out that you have something special going on

Speaking of reviews though, one of the best reviews you can get is from audience members. If you've seen a show you loved, something you as an audience member can do to help is to spread the word. Go on Facebook and post a link to the show. Write a review on Yelp or Artsopolis. Write your own blog post about the show. These things all really do make a big difference. People like to hear about things that their friends like.

What are your thoughts on reviews? Do they influence you? If you're a techie or actor do you read them?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Importance of Audience

Last night was the audience preview of Private Eyes. We had a BLAST. Audience is so very important to a show, and not just because they pay the bills. ;) The energy of everyone performing is affected by audience. For example - last night's audience was AWESOME. They laughed a lot, groaned at puns, booed and hissed, and were generally entertained (and were entertaining). I wish that audience was in the house every night! It was so energizing and rewarding to see all the hard work pay off - the actors were just bouncing with delight when they realized that people liked their show. We loved hearing people's comments about the play - people were talking about it at intermission and afterward trying to lay the whole thing out.

I left after doing the dishes exhausted but exhilarated - it was a great reminder of why we all do what we do, and that's put on something that is entertaining and thought provoking and interactive with people.

We're doing it again tonight at the official opening. Tonight's performance costs a little but more because the show is followed by the opening gala - there's champagne and snacks and you can meet the actors and director.

See you at the show!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Private Eyes Teaser

Lessa, one of the talented Dragon staffers, and Steve, Dragon's genius graphic designer, put together this really fun teaser video for Private Eyes.

Tonight is the Pay What You Can Preview- this is a great way to see theatre on the cheap. Here's the deal. Show up at the Dragon Theatre at 535 Alma St. in Palo Alto between 7:30 and 8:00 tonight. Bring some cash. You can pay $5 or $25 or anything in between!

See you at the show!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Usual Suspects

Steven Dietz did an interview in which he explained that Private Eyes was originally conceived and written under the title The Usual Suspect. He wrote the play, had a staged reading of the script done, and then Christopher McQuarrie had a film script produced - the film called The Usual Suspects that came out and went on to be a big hit. Dietz decided to re-title his play.

It occurred to me recently that it's kind of funny as both stories are similar in that in both cases, the story being told isn't all that it seems. In The Usual Suspects the question is - Who is Keyser Soze? Have we met him? In Private Eyes, not all is as it seems. For example, in this photo, it looks like a fun party, right? There are sparkly hats!

You'll never expect how this party ends. It's fun.

How many of you figured out who Keyser Soze was in The Usual Suspects? I saw that film in theaters back in the day, and about 20 minutes in my friend leans over to me and says "I bet he did it" as a joke. He was right. I could have killed him, he ruined all the fun. We've been deliberately vague about Private Eyes so you can enjoy watching it unravel. But I will say this - pay attention. Some things are said for a reason.

See you at the theatre!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tech Week of Private Eyes

Private Eyes by Steven Dietz is the first show of Dragon's 2011 season and it opens to audience previews in two days. My name is Kim and I'm the Stage Manager for this production. This is the first show I've worked in about six years so I'm feeling a little nervous - and I don't even have to look pretty!

I'm often asked by my non-theatre friends "what does a stage manager DO anyway?" The short answer is: everything. The long answer is this: the stage manager, in many respects, is the unseen heart of the show. (And I'm not just saying that because it's me this time around.) The stage manager's job is to be the connection between the actors and the director and the show's designers. The stage manager has to figure out how to make things happen. The director starts a production with a vision. The designers are hired to make that vision become a reality. The actors are responsible for bringing that vision to life and delivering it to the audience. The stage manager is the person who juggles all that so it's an actual workable plan that gets consistently delivered every time the show is performed. Stage managers need to know a little about everything - lights, sound, costumes, props, and how to mesh it all together. A stage manager sometimes has to say "no" but then come up with an alternative or compromise.

At Dragon the stage manager runs both the lights and the sound during the show. Sometimes a stage manager just "calls" a show - that is, the stage manager is on a headset and tells everyone (the light operator, the sound operator, people backstage, etc.) what to do and when to do it. Sometimes the stage manager does more, like in this case. It's pretty fun and is actually an art in itself - I have to practice button hitting like I'd have to practice the piano to make sure my hands are moving at the right time to get certain looks timed correctly.

Stage management isn't for everyone. In fact, I'd argue it's for the insane. ;) It requires organization and flexibility and creativity - and the ability to work on no sleep sometimes. I, however, find it terribly fun. I get to be creative and bossy and and anal retentive all in the same job! No two days are ever really the same. The problems that come up are often hilariously bizarre. Today, for example, I'm mixing up juices to get the right shade of merlot, but will have to taste test it to make sure it's palatable enough for the actors to drink it live on stage.

I've been really very fortunate that my first show back has been a dream to work on. The cast has been just outstanding to work with - no drama (no pun intended) and they're all so willing to work and help me out. Lennon, the director, is fabulous - she has a very clear vision but is very down to earth in her approach. All the designers have been incredible and true professionals in every sense of the word. I've had such fun getting back into the theatre and I'm genuinely excited to go to work every night. I think we've put together a really funny, thought provoking show and I can't wait till an audience sees it this week.

If you've ever wondered what a stage manager sees during a show, here's a photo I snapped on my phone last night during a tech run.

Anyway, I should get in gear - I have a show to put on!

I hope everyone comes out to see Private Eyes - it's really quite funny and unlike any show I've ever seen. I guarantee you will leave the theatre at the end of the night talking about (and possibly arguing about) the show. It's fun like that.

January 21 – February 13, 2011

Thursdays – Saturdays @ 8pm, Sundays @ 2pm

Pay-What-You-Can Preview, Thursday, January 20th

Opening Night Gala, Friday, January 21st

Talk-Back with cast Sunday, February 6th

Buy your tickets today online or by calling 1-800-838-3006!

2011 is an All New Year

Welcome Dragon friends to the new Dragon blog. The goal of this website is to peek behind the scenes of Dragon Productions Theatre to allow a look at what it takes to put on a show and keep a theatre company running. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears are poured into every theatre production and we thought it would be fun to sometimes highlight the people who don't often get the spotlight and the ovations. We'll be showing photos of rehearsals, talk to some of the designers and builders and people who make the pretty happen. We'll talk to some actors to see why they do what they do - they have to learn lots of words, do crazy things with props, and look good while doing it - and it's harder than it looks. We'll talk about the business side of running a theatre. And we'll solicit input from you, the audience, to see what your thoughts are on why you choose to go to live theatre performances.

So welcome - we hope you will enjoy the blog!