BWW Blog: Lauren Ward - The Good News and the Bad News: Pulling a Show Together with a Time Crunch
Anyone who's ever been involved in theatre can probably give you a mile-long list of stressful events and situations they've encountered on the stage and behind the scenes. Of course, you rarely ever notice these times when you're watching us perform. That's part of our job; we have to be able to work around the kinks for the sake of the audience. However, some of these matters are slightly more pressing than the usual "kinks." As it should happen, my school has just started work on its production of the classic musical Oliver! The set show dates are May 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th. We started working with little more than a month to put the whole thing together. This isn't the first time that a lot of us have dealt with such circumstances, and for anyone else who can relate to them, I've developed a short list of pros and cons, playfully entitled "The Good News" and "The Bad News."
The Bad News: Everybody involved with the show is going to be pressed for time, all the time.
The Good News: Since there's a definite and close deadline, it'll be easier to set a pace to prepare the show adequately for that deadline.
The Bad News: The less time until opening night, the less time everyone has to learn lines and/or songs.
The Good News: Since it'll be exponentially easier to fall behind as far as being off-book, that probably means the cast will have more motivation* to get their stuff down.
*Results may vary
The Bad News: If your costume committee usually pre-orders costume pieces online or from a rental place, doing so under a time crunch will be difficult, what with collecting measurements, developing costuming visions, etc.
The Good News: Thrift shops like Goodwill as well as overstock outlets are likely to have things the costume committee or the cast members themselves can purchase to use for bargain prices! (As always, exercise caution when approaching an item with unusual stains)
The Bad News: Pressure is probably going to get to everyone at some point, and there's a chance tensions will arise between cast members as a result of underlying stress. (Note: Refrain from taking this stress out on your castmates, especially in the form of physical aggression. Personal injury suits can be bad for morale)
The Good News: These periods of unease are generally pretty fleeting from my experience; once the show starts to come together and a rhythm is established, everything will cool down and bee like normal.
The Bad News: So much to do, so little time!
The Good News: Although it's unlikely that you'd be able to pull off Phantom of the Opera or other technically complicated shows in this time frame, there is a variety of musical that you are completely capable of producing. For example, for Oliver! the tech isn't very demanding at all, and most of the vocals are sung in unison with some very easy harmonies, totally doable with concentration and motivation.
The Bad News: With a smaller number of days with which to work, you'll probably have to endure longer rehearsals. If you're like me and have higher level classes (and higher level HOMEWORK), you may have to pull some late-nighters.
The Good News: After long rehearsals, I often find my mind is clearer and more alert, ultimately making it easier to concentrate on schoolwork. In addition, several studies have shown a link between participation in the dramatic arts and higher grades!
Although it'd obviously be preferable for everyone if time weren't such an issue, it's completely possible to pull together a smooth, successful show in a time crunch, even one of less than a month. Granted, everyone will have to put in that much more effort and focus than they might otherwise. It's especially important for the cast and crew to get in sync with each other and work efficiently. But that's just it; as long as everyone puts their mind to it and is motivated to make the show the best it can be, a shortage of time can be thought of as no more than a singular bump in the road.