Lots of work goes into staging a play
, 2014

Lots of work goes into staging a play

“How the Other Half Loves” will open at 8 p.m. March 8 at the Lancaster Playhouse in White Stone.

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The Lancaster Players’ production, directed by Becky Nunn, will continue at 8 p.m. March 9, 15, 16, 22, and 23, and 3 p.m. March 24. The theater will open an hour prior to curtain time.

For reservations, call 35-3776, or visit lancasterplayers.org.  Groups of 15 or more receive a discount. March 8, 15 and 16 shows are sold out.

When audiences go to a play, they are often unaware of the number of people, the number of hours, and the amount of work done beforehand to mount the show, said Nunn. The actors and the director rehearse for six weeks to make sure that all lines, characterization, and blocking are precise.

The set builders meet with the director and after the set has been designed, the crew begins the task of making a realistic backdrop for the actors.

The set for this production was designed by Nunn, director and vice president Ben Estes.

When construction begins, allowances must be made for sight lines, room backstage for prop tables, the proper placement of windows and doors, said Nunn.  Next, the set is painted and dressed. This process takes several weeks of long hours.

From the time the show is cast, the producer is involved in a whirlwind of activity.  Producer Sue Broadway has been scouring antique and consignment shops, local retailers, e-bay to gather all of the set pieces and props necessary for this show set in the ‘70s, said Nunn. She covers chairs, paints furniture, and hangs pictures, mirrors, and sconces.  Next comes the costuming of the show—costumes are begged and borrowed from the actresses, the director, the crew, and the Lancaster Players’ wardrobe.

Meanwhile, the director has identified all the sound and light cues and sent them to lighting tech Bob Walker and sound engineer Bruce Hamilton, she said. Walker hangs and positions lights to get just the effect the director desires while Hamilton hunts for and records all the sounds that will be needed for the production.

The Sunday before a show opens is the dreaded “Black Sunday” when rehearsal begins at two in the afternoon with a technical rehearsal, said Nunn. Each sound, light, and special effects cue is set up and performed over and over until it’s exactly right.

The light technician, the sound engineer, the stage manager, and the prop people are all in attendance to do their specific jobs. The actors and the crew then break for a potluck dinner and at 6 p.m., a full dress rehearsal with all costumes, make-up, light, and sound cues takes place, she said.

“How the Other Half Loves” is an extremely difficult show, because the timing has to be absolutely precise, said Nunn.

“One slip up and the whole show will go south,” she said. “After all the hours of preparation and the hard work of upwards of one hundred people to mount this show, we’re going to make sure it’s a perfect, fabulous production.”

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