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karuna

Stagehands or Performers?

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22 minutes ago, N.E. Brigand said:

Mechanical issues not infrequently cause trouble for stage productions. Last year for opening night of one of our shows the turntable didn't work, so the actors had to add extra choreography into their moves to get from point A to point B where they normally would have been carried by the automation.

Which can be done, in a stage production, in particular with performers who are used to  improvising.

On a drum corps field, large scale, with performers who are taught to "hit their dot".... perhaps not so much.

NOT a knock on the drum corps performers, who are great at what they do, and what they're taught to do.  But let's face it.... it's a different medium. There's less flexibility (with both time and physical space) to deal with unexpected issues on the fly. And a seasoned stage pro most likely has much more experience in dealing with an improvisational situation.

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Bottom line, for me... I like props. Always have. I say, bring on the bells and whistles when they're used well, enhance the program, and aren't a distraction from whatever else is going on during a corps' show.

But stuff like, for one example, those towers in that 2013 Cadets' show... I found myself watching the kids pushing those oversized props around more than I did the actual performance. Not good.

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Yeah kind of hard to improvise with all the bodies on the field. 

High school memory of Cinderella’s coach breaking just before it was to go on stage. One of the ladies dressed as a horse sat on the axle to tie her shoe. Four “horses” come out without the coach and Cinderella and fairy godmother stare at each other with their mouths open. Then Cindy walks off behind the horses. End of act for Rodgers and Hammerstein. Still remember “don’t you you know who I am?”CRACK!! Pit orchestra (including me) saying wth was that.

Edited by JimF-LowBari

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3 hours ago, N.E. Brigand said:

For what it's worth: actors have to do this all the time in theater.

(And because the actors' union requires additional payments if actors are doing work that could be assigned to stagehands, directors work hard to stage prop movements so that they appear to be "in character".)

Yeah that’s not going on in DCI.  MMs stopping their performance, pushing a prop,(very often showing effort) , picking up their equipment, and then resuming the performance.   There’s nothing finessed or subtle about it. 

I think all the stages being created are cool.  But breaking character is a giant strobe light on the field.  Watch a guard member transition to the side line for an equipment change.  Never breaks character and the whole process is choreographed to a fare thee well. Yet when it comes to the props hey just push ‘em around willy nilly.  

And I doubt it’s 5% of their performance time.  Bet you for some it’s more like 25%. 

IMO the whole thing works fine without elaborate sets. Create your story with music, shape  dance and color. And let the performers perform. 

Edited by karuna
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Props take away two things that I always dug most about the experience of a corps' time on the field- both as a former member and now audience member: the taking of the field and the trooping of the stands and leaving the field like professionals.  A few things that I loved and will always stick in my mind:

the Scouts in their Mighty Men glory days doing their "extreme slow" march onto the field...  The Blue Devils doing backfield warmup tuning sequence while the drums ripped through "Ditty"...  Cavies trooping the stands to "Iowa" whilst the crowd clapped in unison...

These were true rock star moments which made the whole thing seem so much more "big league", plus gives the corps lots more actual performance time and entertainment value since the "show" is happening from the time they enter the stadium until the time they disappear in the tunnel to their street beat.  This stuff has been lost to the chaos of running props on and off the field.  It all feels more amateurish and unfinished, it is awkward to watch them setup and tear down.  

 

Edited by Guitar1974
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On 7/22/2018 at 1:11 PM, mjoakes said:

Sometimes the prop movements bother me, sometimes not. If this, like other things that can be annoying, are either rewarded or not penalized by judges, then it’s just part of modern DCI.

if they can do it in a way that doesnt catch my eye...unless it's supposed to....doesnt bother me. it's just where things are now

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11 hours ago, Terri Schehr said:

Yes.  Jim helped assemble them before shows when he was driving that year.  It took three people 15 minutes to assemble each one.  And they were heavy. 

Wow, you'd think they would have learned after 2006 to not make the props heavy as hell. And I hated how they took a fairly straightforward show and added all the stupid emoting, climbing on the towers, mello on a stick, etc. (but what else is new for that corps) This is what I was getting at with an earlier post--the props require so much energy to move, pack, disassemble, haul onto the field, that you're beat before you even start to perform.

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3 hours ago, Guitar1974 said:

Props take away two things that I always dug most about the experience of a corps' time on the field- both as a former member and now audience member: the taking of the field and the trooping of the stands and leaving the field like professionals.  A few things that I loved and will always stick in my mind:

the Scouts in their Mighty Men glory days doing their "extreme slow" march onto the field...  The Blue Devils doing backfield warmup tuning sequence while the drums ripped through "Ditty"...  Cavies trooping the stands to "Iowa" whilst the crowd clapped in unison...

These were true rock star moments which made the whole thing seem so much more "big league", plus gives the corps lots more actual performance time and entertainment value since the "show" is happening from the time they enter the stadium until the time they disappear in the tunnel to their street beat.  This stuff has been lost to the chaos of running props on and off the field.  It all feels more amateurish and unfinished, it is awkward to watch them setup and tear down.  

 

I dunno, I'd rather haul a pink bench with one hand and a tuba in the other, as the steel supports bang into my legs, than take the field in a ###### block... :34_rolling_eyes:

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The show at Stanford last month was the first one I'd attended in about 4 years. And I was floored at how elaborate the props had gotten. Yes, they can add to a show, but they can also be a major hindrance.

I thought the props were more of a distraction with the Academy. It looked more like the performers were battling with the props than actually performing. That was a show where the props got in the way very often, and did not add enough to the show. I heard that they made a lot of changes to their show afterwards, so I haven't seen whether they figured out how to make the props work more in their favor.

With the Vanguard, I thought it was a wash. The nesting cages are a great platform for the choreographed bits, and the visual of the guard and corps hanging on the outside is great. But, the transitions do occasionally hinder the show's momentum. All in all, for them the props give and take away in equal pieces.

Among the corps I saw, I thought the Blue Devils did the best job with integrating the props into the flow of the performance. They're all separate props that come together at the end to form that reproduction of the famous Nighthawks painting. But, in the meantime, the separate props still work as staging for the earlier pieces.

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For me--- the --- Couchmen--- this year have gone totally overboard with the heavy and awkward to move "sleeper sofa". 

 

:withstupid:

 

 

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