ACT 1, SCENE 1 “And So We Start.”

        Monday was a busy, but exciting day for our production team and cast. It was the first day of rehearsal, but before rehearsal could start our set had to be “spiked”. This involves getting our set designer, stage manager and director into the rehearsal space, which also happens to be our performance space as well. Armed with the floor plan and spike tape our team began measuring and marking the outline of the set, taking precaution to make sure that all of the measurements are correct. It is crucial that the outline of the set be exact to the floor plan, our director and lighting designer rely on these markings to represent the set while the set is being built. The director uses the markings for blocking purposes, and the lighting designer uses them to ensure that when they are focusing their light fixtures, the beam of light is hitting (or not hitting) the set the way they wish.

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    Set Designer Angela and Stage Manager Aaron use chalk line



     Durring rehearsal Assistant Kate Boswell and I gave a little Waltz lesson to Actresses Jessica Quindlen and Courtney Bennett. We used poster board and construction paper to create a dance mat that layed out the basic steps.



Unique One-Of-A-Kind Halloween Costumes?






     This past summer I was a costume intern for the Sterling Renaissance Festival and now I have the pleasure of working in the costume shop this semester. We have a mass amount of costumes in storage, and our costume shop supervisor Judy McCabe, costume designer Kitty Macey, and costume students have been doing a large amount of downsizing over the past few weeks. What will we be doing with all of the costumes? The Theatre Department is having a Costume Sale just in time for Halloween! If you are looking for unique costumes, masks and hats that are all one of a kind (and under $20) then come out to our costume sale. It starts October 20th and goes to the 22nd. If we have any costumes left we will be having the sale again the 22nd of October to the 29th.

     The sale will take place in Tyler Hall’s lower lobby. Hours on Tuesday and Thursday are: 9:15am-11:00am, 1:00pm-4:00pm. Wednesday it is 1:00pm-5:00pm.





A Peek Into The Actor’s Packet

     I completed what we call an “Actor’s Packet” on Friday for those involved in Blood Relations. The packet contains most of my research that I have compiled since last semester.  The actors read the packet to help them gain a better understanding of the play and the Director’s concept as it relates to the play. My focus is making sure that the production team as well as the Actors understand what the Playwright’s intentions were. This particular packet included; a production history with photos, biographical information on the playwright (her life and her work), clarifications within the text, historical information on the time period, Lizzie’s place in society, a compilation of criticisms made by other artists and critics, and finally, biographical information on each character.
     I decided to try something a little different as well and made each actor a “Case File”. This included newspaper articles and cartoons surrounding the case that were printed on newspaper paper, crime scene photos, documents, and a detailed account of the day of the murders. The idea around this is that the Actors have objects from history that have been recreated. Rather than reading the historical information surrounding the murders, they can pick the items up, look at them and feel them. The Actors will have the items to aid in their journey back to that time period, and back to that day. I decided to call this Actor’s Packet a Dramaturgy “Tool”, and it will be referred to as such throughout the text rehearsal period.



Dramatrgy Tool

Dramaturgy “Tool” Contents.

“Lizzie Is Dying To Know, How Much Blood Will You Be Giving To The Red Cross”

    This week, the Theatre Department will be hosting a Blood Drive to help promote “Blood Relations” but more importantly, to do something good for our community. The Blood Drive will be Tuesday, September 22nd though Thursday, September 24th. Each day, the Red Cross will be in the Campus Center (above the ice rink) from 11:30 A.M, to 5:30 P.M to take Donations. Walk-ins are welcome, but if you would like to make an appointment you can e-mail RedCross@Oswego.Edu. Everyone who comes out and donates blood will be entered into a drawing to win prizes. Each day, one lucky winner will receive two tickets to see “Blood Relations”!
     For those who are donating, please remember to eat a big breakfast and drink lots of water before your appointment. Students from the Theatre Department will be there to hand you juice and a snack once you’ve finished.

     For those students that need to see “Blood Relations” as a requirement for their class, donating blood is one way to (have a chance to) receive free tickets, another way is through the “Take Your Students to the Arts Program”. Approach one of your teachers and ask them if they can take you to see the play.  Every Faculty/Staff member who purchases a ticket can bring up to three students to the show for free.

     For more information about “Take Your Students to the Arts Program”, you can go to:

Come out this week and support the Red Cross, we will see you there!

Dramaturgy’s Guide To An Axe Murder

     I am a Theatre History/Criticism major, and a chunk of the work I do involves an art form (and yes, I said art form) called Dramaturgy. American Dramaturgy today tries their best to recreate the successful models found in Germany and Europe, however this makes our jobs vast, ever-changing, and difficult to define. Out of all of the published definitions I could find, Dramaturg Mark Bly (The Alley Theatre) describes the job best in the introduction to the book, The Production Notebooks, Theatre In Process:

The Primary task for a dramaturg is to aid the artistic director in creating a long-ranging artistic vision and plan for their theatre and then implement short-range action to accomplish that goal… The dramaturg supervises the commissioning of new plays, cultivating relationships with the playwrights; and rereads the classics, searching for those works that make deep cultural connections. The Dramaturg takes the lead in season planning helping to select plays that fulfill the theatre’s commitment to its artists and its overall vision. Dramatugs work with directors to challenge fixed notions about new plays or classics being considered for staging. When possible, the dramaturg assists in picking the artistic team for each production…. [and] also serves as a resource and active collaborator during the planning stages of a production and throughout the rehearsal period. The production dramaturg is optimally that artist who functions in a multifaceted manner helping the director and other artists to interpret and shape the sociological, textual, acting, directing and design values. (Bly, xxii-xxiii)

Bly goes on to explain about dramaturgical work in text preparation, production casebooks and actor packets, and the necessity of attending rehearsals and previews so that, “The dramaturg will know the source of the creative choices. This will inspire ‘doable’ note or staging solutions and not merely obvious diagnostic commentary.” He then goes on to sum up his task during the rehearsal process into to words, “I question…I strive to be a supportive but questioning force, never an ‘echo’” (Bly xxiv).


Actor from "HAIR" (“HAIR” Actor: Paris Remillard)

     This summer I had a chance to talk to a few actors from the musical, “HAIR”. I asked if they had a theatre historian work with them, or if they had a dramaturg (doubting that they knew what a dramaturg was). To my surprise, not only did they know what dramaturgy was, but they said that their assistant director was the one who took on that role. I have only been to one Broadway show recently that had listed a dramaturg in the playbill and that was “August: Osage County”. Roundabout Theatre Company, located in NYC, has a dramaturg for every production. The dramaturg also does presentations for the audience prior to the show every Tuesday night. I discovered this when I went to go see “Hedda Gabbler”. The dramaturg did a short presentation where he spoke about the playwright, talked about the society of the time, and conclusions made by cast and director on why Hedda was the way she was. I unfortunately missed the Dramaturgy presentation for “Waiting For Godot” a few months later, so if you are able to see a Roundabout show on a Tuesday and are interested in dramaturgy, be sure to ask when the presentations are.

     This semester I will be the dramaturg for Sharron Pollock’s “Blood Relations,” directed by Keegan Bushey. “Blood Relations” is a play about Lizzie Borden and the events surrounding the murder of her parents. The playwright poses the question, “If you were in her place, what would you have done?“ This is an exciting opportunity for me because I was a part of the Play Selection Committee last year and was able to voice my love for this play. I presented the faculty with a list of things that could be done for this production with research and publicity. I was excited to hear that the play had been chosen for the season, and that I would be involved in the show. “Blood Relations“ is this year‘s Student Honors Production. Students submit resumes, go through an interview process and are selected to be lighting, set, and costume designers, directors, dramaturgs. Our crew is made up of students as well. It is essentially our first steps, with our mentors beside us to catch us if we start to stumble. I had the pleasure of working with a fine group of peers for last year’s Honors Production, and I am excited to work with the brilliant minds of this year. We do have some Faculty designers involved this year, which makes the experience even more interesting, learning from those who have had many years of experience.



Next Step, Auditions.

See you there.



Works Cited:

Bly, Mark. The Production Noteboks, Theatre In Process. New York, NY: Theatre Communicaions Grop, Inc., 1996. Print.