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In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Clemency - Assistant Director Eve Summer on "Prep Week"

Jan 17, 2013 1:38:00 PM
By BLO Staff

Just before months of discussion, research, designing, and preparation
give way to a flurry of rehearsals, production meetings, and performances,
'Prep Week' at BLO gives the artistic and production staff a chance to either reacquaint
or get to know one another, and to immerse ourselves, all together, in the
details of the production.  We talk music,
set, costumes, props, lighting, schedule, and chocolate chip pumpkin cookies before
we transition to the rehearsal studio.  In order to be ready for opening night in a
matter of only weeks, we spend Prep Week discussing, with a great deal of specificity,
the outcome we are seeking for essentially every hour of the day for the next
three weeks.  We talk about what scenes
we will rehearse, what meetings we will need to have, what form of
transportation the artists will take to get to the costume shop and how long
exactly it will take for them to get changed before technical rehearsals.  We talk about when we might take a ten minute
break two weeks from now, and we even talk about how hard or soft the lead in
our pencils needs to be for optimal note taking!

Since CLEMENCY is my first production with BLO, I've been so pleased to
have the opportunity to get to know the team before rehearsals begin.  I'm a free-lance stage director and
choreographer and I normally work from my home when I'm not in production, so I
get a real kick out of having a week in an office environment.  Though I'm tackling the same tasks I would be
doing at home, there's so much to be said for the rapport and camaraderie, not
to mention efficiency, the team builds by working on our pre-production duties
all together in one room.  I'm sure my
fondness for my temporary cubicle will start to wane soon enough, but by that
time my prep work will be done and we'll be ready to move into my favorite
place in the world to be; a rehearsal studio! 
If you're wondering what an assistant director does before they're in a
room with a cast to assistant direct: I'm preparing the blocking book in which
I record all of the staging for this exciting new production; I've auditioned
the cutest bunch of budding thespians in order to find a 7 year old
supernumerary to join the cast; I'm drafting and re-drafting the staging rehearsal
schedule; I'm working with Karen, our Production Stage Manager, to schedule
costume fittings and keep tech week plans on track; I'm listening to the music
and studying my score; I'm touching base often with Andrew Eggert, our stage
director; I'm re-reading all the ground plans, the source material, and my
research; and I'm thinking about all of the incredible stories that inspired the
texts for our production.
Bring on the staging rehearsals, now I'm ready to really get to work!
- Eve Summer, Assistant Stage Director
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