We just had our final design presentation for MACBETH yesterday and it honestly could not have gone better. Our amazing design fellows (Ed, Joe, Felicia, and Barbara) really came with their best in our design process together. They came with amazing ideas about what the world of MACEBTH is and how that environment can precipitate the action of the play. I’m hoping to get some pictures of the maquette once Joe is finished building and rendering everything, to give you a better idea of where we are going with in this production and really making it truly OURS.
One of the great things abut the Hangar is that we are living practically right next door to our designers. This could also be problematic, but luckily we are doing a good job of separating our “work” time and our “play” time. Everyone of the designers has been truly great about sharing time, as well as staying professional in all of our meetings. However, I do think that one of the reasons that I feel so at ease with this group of creators is the fact that we are living together and going through a lot of the same experiences in the same locale.
I have been a part of so many processes where the designers are there for 1 or 2 meetings at the start and then come back for tech and previews and that is the extent of their involvement in the process of creating a show. I always really grow to (for the most part) really like my designers and the design fellows here are no different. I just wish that we could have them involved as a more integral part of the entire rehearsal process. Not just one or two weeks. So how can we get designers to take a more active and integral part in the daily existence as a theatre? Won’t this help and deepen our work over time?
Let’s have designer actively involved in the rehearsal process. Why wait till tech? Let the designers come in and experiment with their thoughts and ideas and have the actors respond to it. How many problems could this avoid when we do move into the theatre space for technical rehearsals?
I would really love to see a designer be an associate AD or have another STAFF position at a theatre. Someone who has teh ability to oversee all of the technical departments of a theatre who can then keep the artistic mission of the show in full view, while serving the needs of an individual show. This person could then also design a few (or more) shows a year to keep flexing those muscles.
Also, perhaps a few theatres could pool their resources together in order to give a designer, whose work is really exciting, a whole seasons worth of work in the same geographical area. This would be an amazing opportunity for a designer to become really indispensable of one community. Also, this would give a designer the chance of a “normal life” where they can take their kids to soccer practice and have a family game night. Affiliated artists are not a bad idea.
I’d also like designers to be featured just as prominently as actors at things like donor meetings and fundraisers. The people who come to these events, in my opinion, are so interested in the artistic process and how ALL of the pieces fit together. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they could talk to a lighting designer about the quality and creation of their design? Wouldn’t this give our patrons a better idea of who we are and what we do? Designers I know are some of the most engaging people I’ve come across. Lets use that natural magnetism to move the life of the theatre closer to what we want it to be.
I really do believe, as a burgeoning artistic leader, that we need to take care and establish long terms relationships with our artists. This is not limited to just actors. The more that we can create a vocabulary and have a long term relationship with our designers, the better our work will become. Also, as a theatre we will be able to give designers some security in their lives and then they will have a tangible stake in the life of the theatre and how it grows. Not just on the show that they are working. How amazing would that be?