The name of the play was Class Reunion, about the 50th class reunion for the class of '67 at a Catholic high school in Texas. So many of us are from that era, so it was just loads of fun being a part of this production.
A wide variety of songs from that era were chosen to follow the plot line - similar to how ABBA songs were used for the musical Mama Mia - with each song to be lip-sync'ed by a character in the play. I began attending the writers' meetings in early April. This helped me, as the sound booth person, to understand the concept and the plot, and to begin to prepare and to even contribute in part, as they continued to polish and fine-tune the script.
Being involved so early also gave me plenty of time to source all of the music and sound effects, of which there were many. Most of the music is in the public domain and I was able to download much of it for free. Those that I couldn't, I found on Amazon Digital and could purchase for less than $1.00 each.
I edited most of the songs for length, and added a number of sound effects that would enhance and add "color" to the various scenes. Then I assembled all of the songs together in order of appearance in the play and burned a couple dozen CD's for the actors to use to rehearse with before we started formal rehearsals on stage.
Once we got the rehearsals underway, the play really started to come together! It was so much fun watching it come to life on the stage!
|My Adobe Illustrator artwork for the poster. 30"x 20" with|
an added 12" pop-out off the top left corner
|The finished poster, on an easel in the social hall|
I began to work on the poster, the advertisement artwork, and the playbill even as rehearsals got underway. We had the idea to use the iconic Zenith transistor radio as part of the artwork, so I got to work in Adobe Illustrator and created the artwork for the radio itself. Then our very talented props crew made a giant replica to hang on the set for the play.
|My Adobe Illustrator illustration|
|The handywork of our props crew turned it into life|
The cast was so large that the playbill I designed had to be 11"x 17" and folded, the same size as the playbill I created for another play we did a year ago.
I really enjoy the artistic aspect of doing these plays. I get inspiration for the poster and playbill artwork from watching the rehearsals and interacting with the director(s) and, in this case, the writers. The same goes for the sound effects and music. Often I won't know exactly what music or sound effects I'll use in some cases until I start to participate in the rehearsals. So often I'll have an aha moment while doing something totally unrelated to the play, as my subconscious "wheels" start to turn and my mind ruminates on it.
|My view from my seat in the soundbooth|
More than 60 people were involved in this production, probably a record for our club's productions. The cast was huge, but so was the crew, including Makeup, Stage Hands, Props, Floor crew, and of course the writers, directors, and sound booth crew.
|Curtain call...cast and crew|
|Heard It From the Grapvine raisins doing their dance|
|Scene from dress rehearsal|
|View of the sound booth. Microphone manager working in booth with me|
Our attendance broke records, too! While attendance Friday night was typical and not a sellout, word got out and we had people lined up at the door trying to buy tickets on Saturday night. Sunday was packed, and the Floor Crew had to bring out dozens more chairs to accommodate the crowd. That was really good to see, as attendance at recent productions seemed to have been falling off.
All agree that this play production ranks right up there among our very best!
A couple of weeks later our club had its annual Christmas banquet. We put on a little skit in which I had the role of one of the inventors for an electronics company that was desperate to increase sales. It was corny but cute. But the best part was that I won the annual Len and Syd Covan Award for my contributions to the club's drama productions. Nice!
A great way to finish out the year with the CountryPlace Players!