Page: 1

Amateur productions of Rent.

cages/wings?
Stand-by
joined:2/13/08
Stand-by
joined:
2/13/08
Amateur productions of Rent. #1
Posted: 3/16/10 at 8:09pm
I saw my second amateur production last night and I've been raging ever since. I know that I'm a totally OTT obsessive geek about Rent, but really, I couldn't decide whether they intended the whole thing to be a farce. I still can't decide, in fact. I think it should be a requirement that people wanted to put on a production on Rent read the script at some point during the process, and maybe try to understand the story.

I apologise now for the length I can feel this will end up, but I can't think of anyone else who may understand!

Firstly, how many people would you say you needed in the ensemble? This production had 21. It looked a bit ridiculous at times, especially as the stage was quite small. Which brings me onto the design. I am all for people thinking outside the box, and I don't think the Nederlander set should just be copied (as was the case in the other amateur production I saw) so I was quite happy to see that the design was completely different and I was interested as to how it would work. Turns out, it didn't. The backstage crew listed in the programme number 6 and I think there were at least 4 of them wandering on and off all the time. The set was constantly being changed, you got absolutely no sense of place and struggled to follow where you were supposed to be. This culminated for me during Angel's funeral, when I nearly walked out. Collins was alone on stage singing and it was going quite well - the lights were under control for perhaps the first time and he was mainly hitting the notes - when 4 stage hands dressed as if they were ensemble wandered on, picked up a table and walked off carrying it on their shoulders pallbearer style, as if this might make it OK! I failed to understand why, if they must have so many changes, they couldn't get the innumerable cast to do it. There were times when there were over 30 people on a stage not much bigger than 6x4m. Impossible.

The one thing that bugged me most was Angel. The costume (singular - Santa outfit all the way through) was inappropriately short and the wig looked like some sort of wild animal flopping around everywhere. That, combined with the actor's (I use that term loosely) comedic style made a complete mockery of the character and made the whole storyline pointless.

The rest of the costumes were totally bland to the point of being annoying. There was absolutely no attempt at picking even a relevant decade. This was also reflected in the old style video camera used (occasionally) by Mark combined with the shiny new Mac used for projection in the finale (not that there actually was anything projected). Another reference pointed us to 1982, but I'll come to that later.

I've already mentioned that the lighting was completely disastrous but I am willing to be a bit more lenient about this as it was the first night and an awkward space to work in. However, noticing every single light cue, the colours being really off and plenty of blackouts at the wrong time and not there when needed makes for a very negative feel.

The first time I saw an amateur production I expected there to be songs missed out and lyric changes, and I was pleasantly surprised that there were none. I was bit shocked last night to notice plenty of gaps - Collins' and Joanne's introductions in the first act (I'm sure there were more omissions but I can't remember them), the whole of Hallowe'en, and from the end of Goodbye Love to the beginning of the finale. Think, "Vampire welfare queens" skipping to "December 24th..."

Some spectacular lyric changes included:
"I hear your drug dealer's shooting down the street" (which I fail to make any sense of, although perhaps I have misunderstood the original line)
"Vaclav Havel, the Sex Pistols, A B C!"
"your footage of the riot - a one-time feature segment..." (which makes me think that NO ONE involved has ever listened to the music before)
There were plenty of lyrics missed out along the way, but I think this was mainly down to the actors's ineptitude rather than random cuts.

Oh, and I don't think any member of cast or crew understood more than 20% of La Vie Boheme references, but I'm not going to detail all those mistakes.

Finally, a poster. These were on the walls around the space - I'd add an image but the only one I have has been corrected in red pen with the intention of sending it to the director, so you'll have to make do with a description. I think there are 5 mistakes but I'd be interested to see if people agree.

RODGER DAVIS AND THE BOHEMES
[picture of Mark, Roger and Angel not in drag]
GIG AT CBJEEBIES
15th - 17th MARCH 1982

***
Apologies again for the length of this. I could go on for much longer. Congratulations if you got this far!
LizzieCurry Profile PhotoLizzieCurry Profile Photo
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/7/05
Amateur productions of Rent. #2
Posted: 3/16/10 at 11:26pm
Aren't those changes illegal?!
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
CONAries Profile PhotoCONAries Profile Photo
CONAries
Broadway Legend
joined:10/7/08
Broadway Legend
joined:
10/7/08
Amateur productions of Rent. #2
Posted: 3/17/10 at 3:10am
Yes they are, with Am Dram you can usually get away with making the odd cut here and there, however, there is no way in hell you can get away with changing ANY of the libretto!
cages/wings?
Stand-by
joined:2/13/08
Stand-by
joined:
2/13/08
Amateur productions of Rent. #3
Posted: 3/17/10 at 6:15pm
Really, it's illegal to do that? I didn't know.

I have only calmed down about this a tiny amount.

I know someone going tonight who knows all the music inside out but hasn't seen it on stage before, so I'm looking forward to hearing his opinion.
figgy1978
Chorus Member
joined:9/21/06
Chorus Member
joined:
9/21/06
Amateur productions of Rent. #4
Posted: 3/18/10 at 9:49am
RODGER DAVIS AND THE BOHEMES
[picture of Mark, Roger and Angel not in drag]
GIG AT CBJEEBIES
15th - 17th MARCH 1982

1. It is Roger.
2. Set in the late 80s. Angel didn't meet them until part way through the show so how was she there in 82?
3. Not sure about CBJEEBIES
Zinone
Understudy
joined:9/5/08
Understudy
joined:
9/5/08
Amateur productions of Rent. #5
Posted: 3/18/10 at 1:45pm
I know some of the errors are huge, but perhaps they were following the School Edition template? I know Hallowe'en isn't included in that...