Friday, November 14, 2014

The Boardinghouse...A Stage Production

One of the many benefits of living in my nice community is having so many activities, groups, and clubs to choose from. One of those clubs is the CountryPlace Players.  I quickly became involved with them after we moved here, mostly because many of my neighbors were involved, but also because I did quite a bit of stage acting while in College.  I was a member of the student Entr'actors and performed in a number of musicals and dramas.  It's fun...I love being on stage!

Over these last several years I've done everything from acting to prompting, lighting to sound.  As our Players group have gotten more and more ambitious, so have the demands on sound and sound effects.  When the club took on the very ambitious South Pacific a few years ago, it became apparent that the sound booth needed to move into the 21st century.  So I donated a laptop computer to the club and quickly became the sound effects 'expert' since no one else seemed to have the computer skills needed to manage, "rip," edit, splice, and otherwise manipulate sound files.

We've staged some fantastic productions, none of which would have been possible without the use of computer sound effects.  Our most complex and brilliant production was a play entitled 'Black and White TV' written by one of our residents.   It included scenes from a number of familiar 50's and 60's TV sitcoms - I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, to name a few - and had many TV commercials from that same era:  Alka Seltzer, Timex, Texaco, and many more.  It was so much fun producing this clever and brilliant ensemble!  I sourced, edited, spliced more than 35 sound effects including all of the commercial jingles, sitcom theme music, noise effects, using some unusual and unconventional and "suspect" methods to obtain some of them.

There are usually 3 productions a year:  a musical or broad comedy, a mystery, and a melodrama.  This fall we produced a hilariously funny comedy called The Boardinghouse, filled with eccentric and funny characters and ripe with puns, double entendres as well as subtle humor and many layers and "threads" of continuity.  We were commenting among ourselves how, every time we watched a rehearsal, another tiny thread became obvious.

Rehearsals - view of the stage from the sound/light booth.
Sound effects files queued up on the computer

The sound effects were relatively simple but timing was critical.  In addition, we had a cast of 10 actors and at times, they were dashing on and off the stage in rapid succession, making the microphone sound board a real challenge.  At times it took two of us to manage it.  But it was fun, the play was one of our better efforts, and the audience really enjoyed it.  We marveled at the times that the audience consistently laughed at lines that we didn't realize were truly funny.

Play program and my annotated script for sound, lights,
and microphones.  A busy time in the sound/light booth!

The best part?  We had 3 new actors on stage, two of them men.  We really need those additional men added to our troupe.

My covered dish....a vegetable platter with blanched
asparagus and blanched green beans, hummus, and greek
cucumber yogurt dips.  

Our club has its traditional cast party after the last dress rehearsal and everyone usually brings a covered dish and BYOB, and it's a fun and relaxing time for everyone before the actual performances begin.  It's at these rehearsal dinners that the new actors are recognized.  They're given little statuettes with the name of the play and the date inscripted on the base, gag gifts really, but all in good fun.

I wonder what our next production will be??

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like fun. You are so good about being active, both in life and in your community. Good for you.