Pimprov Set 4-20
I often times tease about how Second City has its own term for things. Its not a Show its a Revue…its not rehearsal its workshop (I should clarify Sheldon Patinkin said this is what SC use to say. I think they have gone back to rehearsal). And a term that I am still getting my head around is the Assistant Director or Assistant to the Director. During my program I was AD for Blue Co and History of Chicago. Both very very different experiences. While with Blue Co it was more an extension of my classroom. A chance to watch very talented performers work and get to know the ins and outs of the building by running for props and scripts to aid that work. It wasn’t a job that couldn’t be done by a Stage Manager but if free’d him up to do other things like actually watch the show he was about to light and run cues for. The AD was the unsung hero of picking up what falls. Especially with the touring companies that move at such a fast pace to change almost constantly the show they are doing. With the History show TJ treated me more like a traditional Theater AD asking for my thoughts and input on the show. Asking me to help with lighting and movement and also doing some of that running around that was needed. In both cases it wasn’t completely traditional because of one thing…THE BOOK. You see (and it still hasn’t been explicitly explained to me so this is my take away) an AD needs to keep track of THE BOOK. The final script that will come from all of this madness. You can be aided by video camera, laptop, original pitch word doc…but your greatest responsibility for being in the room is to at the end of process turn in the final book to your producer. Now in Touring Companies they are working with mostly archived material, or they are creating for very specific events (like Christmas or a College show for example) and they aren’t turning in a book. But that doesn’t mean while they are working out a new scene I wasn’t asked to take notes or make beat sheets of what they improvised so they could work on it later.
For my process I don’t have an AD, so I have been using my camera as my AD. I would recommend it if you can. I tape every pitch and scene we improvise in workshop and put it up password protected on vimeo so the actors can look back at it before we do shows. Also helps if someone missed a rehearsal and we have decided to make it a full cast scene they can see what we worked on and catch up fast. I am also taping the sets we do so from the two tapes we can create books of the scenes.
My Blue Co Stage Manager said when he lost his two AD’s he felt like he lost his right and left hands the same day :)
So when you see the actors at the end of the night thank the Stage Manager, and Musical Director just take a second to wonder who the AD was and thank them in your head.
This is by far the hardest week for the cast. We had reho yesterday and we have THREE sets this week. If that’s not dedication I don’t know what is. Over the three sets we will try 47 min of material. We have already tested 39 min and we are doing a 45 min show. So it’s safe to say we are in a good place. Tonight 7:30 sketch test above Fizz Bar. It’s free so you should come by and tell me what you think.