Last Friday evening I met with our inimitable director, Harley Venton, to plot, scheme, and bat ideas around. Harley is a real mensch... and a real professional. (Go ahead, Google his name!) I hope to lure him into writing a blog post at some point in the not-too-distant future. He brings a lifetime of experience which is helping to calm my nerves, since I feel that the stakes are high with this production. Not only is this my first fully-staged piece in five years, but it carries with it greater significance than anything else I've ever written.
We've agreed that, regardless of how much money we're able to raise, we need to compensate our actors for their rehearsal time. We've also agreed that a stage manager, also paid, should be present during the entirety of the rehearsal process. I'll be serving as Harley's A.D., but since I'll also be kept busy with a myriad of production duties, it's best that we have a third party on hand who can help ensure the rehearsal process stays on track, keep an eye on the book, and so on.
As with any Fringe production, we're going to cut the physical requirements down to a reasonable minimum and focus on the script to tell the tale. The Fringe presents many challenges, but chief among them are the fact that venues are assigned late in the process and access to those venues is severely restricted. Thus, rehearsals have to start "blind." Once a venue has been assigned, you next have to theorize based on nothing more than a floor plan. Only one rehearsal opportunity in the performance space is provided, typically a day or three before opening, and usually lasting about twice the running length of the play. That has to serve as an unholy hybrid between a tech and a dress rehearsal, and based upon that there are usually a flurry of last-minute tweaks which need to be made.
If all of that sounds like a steep climb, it is. The Fringe is not for the faint of heart, but that's true of the performing arts in general. Having hashed things out thus far with Harley, however, I feel assured that we'll be able to present a piece of top-rate work to our audiences.