Well that was a very long day indeed. Started on one stage, then moved to a different one over lunch, which always causes a certain amount of disorganization and flutter which falls — as everything seems to — on the shoulders of out assistant directors. One of the interesting things I’ve discovered this year is how much the cast and crew become the institutional memory of a show. The directors are critical for putting the episodes together and managing the creative vision of the show, but the assistant directors, the director of photography, the folks in construction and wardrobe and makeup and sound — and the actors above all — carry a weight of habit and understanding that I have to believe leaves directors in weird position of being both the boss and the new kind on the block.
Watching our first AD herd all us kittens and deliver the support and organization that the director needs to function is kind of amazing. Today alone, we moved through two sets, wire/teeter/crane work for three people and one large prop, maybe half a dozen scripted scenes (which means something like thirty setups), rehearsal for a sequence we’re filming later, five or six promotional videos and mini-interviews, and lunch. And dinner. Keeping something this huge and this fast on track happens because the assistant directors are ruthless, supportive, professional, and deeply educated about what the show is and what needs to happen to keep the process rolling. Everything from safety to time management to continuity rests to one degree or another on their shoulders. What they remind me of most from my ancient days working in community theater in high school is the stage manager. I can’t imagine what we’d do without them.
That’s not true. I can. But I was born with an unhealthy fondness for travesty.
Tomorrow morning, we’re headed in for another round, and it promises to be just as rowdy as today, with a couple extra things on the side that will pull one or both of us away for a few hours. It should be amazing.
Also and unrelated, I heard a bunch of amazingly juicy gossip about another production that I would be sued into oblivion if I shared. So that was fun.