<i>Production Process</i>
Sarasota Stage Director Choreographer Adjudicator Cory Boyas
  • © 2022 Cory Boyas Contact Me 0

Production Process

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PRE-PLANNING:

  • Meet with the production team to discuss budget, logistics, vision and scope of the project.
  • Hold auditions and cast the show.
  • Begin assembling the "Show Bible" which will contain (as applicable) History, Dramaturg, Character Breakdowns, Show Script, Mood Boards, Set Design, Costume & Prop Ideas, Lighting Notes, Blocking Charts, Preliminary Rehearsal Schedule with breakdown based on company availability and opening date.

PHASE I: MASTERING FOUNDATIONS

• Distribute scripts and/or librettos and vocal scores to the cast.
• Table read.
• Musical? The Music Director leads initial rehearsals and teaches vocal parts to the cast.
• Musical? The Choreographer teaches principle movement to attach to the music and vocals.
• The Stage Manager creates a shared Dropbox and/or private group page on Facebook of all movement videos and accompaniment audio tracks for cast review/independent study.
As a former dancer, I'm accustomed to telling stories without words.

I approach each production questioning what can be added in terms of subtext through movements and gestures to support or enhance the storytelling.

Sometimes a script is less clear or it may not offer what I consider adequate time for character or relationship development, so as a director, I have to get in there and find creative ways to get the audience to care about what they're watching.

It is always my goal for the audience to be able to clearly understand the connections between the characters, regardless if they are comprehending the dialogue.
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PHASE II: ESTABLISHING FRAMEWORKS

  • Create and post Stage Write blocking charts for the production.
  • Establish each actor's track. Physically walk all principle blocking with cast so they have a GPS outline to follow.
  • Tie up all loose ends with any special needs of the production, i.e. blocking, stage combat, choreography and/or vocal numbers.
  • Stumble through of the entire show to evaluate cast retention and get an "up to now."
I believe the three greatest gifts a director can give their cast during the rehearsal process are time, repetition and the freedom to fail.

The human condition is funny. We are taught very early on that failure has a negative attachment to it, but when we take a closer look, the measure of our successes are really just making a marked improvement upon how well we did on the previous attempt. That's the benchmark.

Once you have mastered that concept, it gives you a tremendous amount of freedom to push yourself and try new things and still be okay if your attempts fall short.

The rehearsal space is a sacred and safe environment for the actors, and should always be treated as such.

Trust your process.

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PHASE III: EXPLORE, ADAPT & REFINE


  • Scene dissection. Discuss character body language, motivation and subtext.
  • Define character arcs for each character.
  • Work and rework to establish tone and eliminate superfluous actions.
  • Reevaluate/update whatever isn't translating or reading authentic in the material.
I can always tell when a production is getting close to "ready for prime time" when I catch myself not observing scenes as a technician.

The rehearsal notes have stopped flowing from my brain and I realize I'm no longer watching the performance analytically— I'm genuinely being entertained in this moment.

The timing of that gag we worked on last week is perfect, nothing is pulling my focus and the pacing has me right in the pocket with the actors on stage.

For me, the most rewarding part of the process is watching the actors' confidence build as they grow into their roles and the symbiosis of all of the technical and performance elements coming together.

That's where the magic lies for me.
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PHASE IV: EDIT, PACE, POLISH & TIGHTEN

  • Edit or simplify any trouble spots or eyesores with music, blocking or choreography.
  • Finalize scene pacing and continuity.
  • Continue to offer support, give feedback and zhoush.
  • Perform a minimum of 3-5 full run-throughs before heading into tech week to cement and tighten the pacing and allow the cast to master their individual tracks.