Gear Review

A sample schedule event for a mic check from Propared
A sample schedule event for a mic check from Propared
Propared reimagines the personnel and scheduling software bundle to offer a powerful project management tool

What if you could bypass the virtual stacks of schedules and contact sheets that are outdated moments after they are published? What if you could look at venues and personnel lists and see conflicts easily? Propared, the new cloud-based project management software, from the company of the same name, doesn’t want to offer just another communication widget—it aims to streamline the entire project, venue and personnel management as well as scheduling processes for live entertainment. 

Read more: Streamlined Software

Sets, Scenery and Rigging

Faye Armon-Troncoso and her Boston Terrier Bella. Photo by David Troncoso
Faye Armon-Troncoso and her Boston Terrier Bella. Photo by David Troncoso
How Faye Armon-Troncoso’s expertise serves today’s very best performers and productions   

Faye Armon-Troncoso is the only propmaster ever to win an Obie—but her reputation is even more sterling than that. Armon-Troncoso is known industry-wide as the best of the best when it comes to hunting down, building and/or teaching the use of unusual and challenging stage props and SFX. Armon-Troncos’s credits are stunning: she’s helped create the magical environments for visually arresting Broadway shows including The River (currently running at Circle in the Square) War Horse, Golden Boy, Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike, Clybourne Park and Golden Boy. Plus, Armon-Troncoso has worked with actors ranging from Al Pacino (The Merchant of Venice) to James Franco (Of Mice and Men) to Ethan Hawke (Macbeth); she’s meticulous about making certain that every company member she collaborates with feels comfortable and knowledgeable when it comes to handling virtually any item in any show.

Read more: The Actor’s Propmaster

Sets, Scenery and Rigging

Charlie Calvert designed the set for the fall 2014 production of The Crucible at Purdue University.
Charlie Calvert designed the set for the fall 2014 production of The Crucible at Purdue University.
CAD is helping sets become ever more complicated – and is also complicating the discussion about how to build them 

While it goes without saying that CAD has completely changed the design world, charting all those disruptions is a different thing entirely.  Scene shops are unique animals. The Vectorworks files for a million dollar touring show are going to look a lot different than the elevation drawings printed out from Vectorworks for the summer stock performance of A Streetcar Named Desire. And the methods for communicating the necessary information to both are not the same. 

Read more: Communicating with CAD

Sets, Scenery and Rigging

Charles H. Stewart’s Tangled Forest backdrop
Charles H. Stewart’s Tangled Forest backdrop
When it comes to set design and backdrops, a picture really is worth a thousand words

Here’s a gallery of sets and backdrops, with just a few words to set the stage. 

Read more: Make It Count

Feature

A website of your very own is mandatory in this day and age
A website of your very own is mandatory in this day and age
You need to do more with your work online than post pics to Facebook

Should a designer or technician have a website? Yes, for the simple reason that with little or no effort a potential employer or artistic collaborator can not only look at what productions you have worked on but see pictures of that work and get much more information than on a resume. For designers, it also works as an online portfolio, and for technicians, it can show the size and scale of the projects they have worked on and can give more details about the production than a resume. 

Read more: Virtual Presence Is Required

Feature

The production team of Good Person of Setzuan at Carnegie Mellon. In foreground, stage manager Devorah Jaffe and director Peter Kleinert.
The production team of Good Person of Setzuan at Carnegie Mellon. In foreground, stage manager Devorah Jaffe and director Peter Kleinert.
Former stage managers share what the job taught them, and how it helps them in their new position

The art and craft of stage management involves a particular set of skills for success. Yet those qualities are not unique to theatre; in fact they are applicable to many careers beyond stage management. Although these abilities may seem second nature to good stage managers, it’s gratifying to find that they are valued in many other professions. Recently I talked with three former AEA stage managers—who have taken their expertise successfully into other areas—about the portability of stage management, connections and surprises, and how they’d do returning to the field.

Read more: Transferable Skills

Answer Box

Duckworth in The Public Theater’s prop shop, assembling a “torch.”
Duckworth in The Public Theater’s prop shop, assembling a “torch.”
In order to create fire for an Iron Age King Lear, we needed something stronger than silk

"You’re obsessing again, we have the hand torches approved and ordered—just let it go.” 

So said Dan Sullivan, director for The Public Theater’s production of King Lear for their 2014 Shakespeare in the Park summer season. But despite his request, this Disney princess decided not to Let It Go.  

Read more: Where There’s Smoke

Sound Design

An archival shot of Among the Thugs from the Goodman Theatre. Sound design by Lindsay Jones
An archival shot of Among the Thugs from the Goodman Theatre. Sound design by Lindsay Jones
Chicago’s sound designers have an identity as particular as their city’s theatres, and both were forged together

identify myself as a composer/sound designer. But more specifically, I’m a Chicago composer/sound designer. And as I’m sure that every city has its story of how sound developed in their theatres, starting my career here in the mid ‘90s gave me the unique perspective of the evolution of what I consider the birth of artistic sound design in Chicago. 

Read more: Windy City Sound

Off the Shelf

Theatreland
Theatreland
Gift ideas for fun and enlightenment

With books and recordings suitable as gifts—or as a treat for yourself—the focus is on the appreciation and enjoyment of theater,

Filmed over six months in 2009, Theatreland tells the story of two London productions featuring actors Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen—Waiting for Godot and Breakfast at Tiffany’s—from first rehearsal to opening night. Set in the Haymarket, one of London’s oldest theaters, Theatreland’s fascinating eight episodes fill a two-disc DVD set that also includes a 12-page viewer’s guide. [Athena]

Read more: High Performance

Company 411

Flying by Foy is returning to Neverland with the new, live telecast of Peter Pan
Flying by Foy is returning to Neverland with the new, live telecast of Peter Pan
Flying By Foy revisits its origins in a new, live telecast of Peter Pan 

Peter Foy redefined stage flying with his introduction of the Inter-Related Pendulum and the dynamic aerial sequences he developed for Mary Martin’s Peter Pan on Broadway in 1954.  NBC’s live broadcast of the show attracted 65 million viewers, the largest single television audience in history when it aired in 1955.  This year, on December 4, NBC will air the first live telecast of the musical in nearly six decades, featuring Flying by Foy. Joe McGeough, Foy’s Director of Operations, spoke with Stage Directions about the company’s role in the new production. 

Read more: Return to Neverland

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