H. Caitlin McLeod / Drama

Proposal: to produce an undergraduate Drama student-created work of theater, transport the show to New York, and produce it for two nights in an Off -Off Broadway Venue.

A devised theater piece will be conceived, designed, produced, and performed by the students with no cost to the audience, to which we could invite various industry contacts in NY theater, presenting a showcase of our students talents to possible employers. This type of small-scale, more collaborative, micro-budget theater is of great interest to many of our students; the opportunity to self-produce would be a cornerstone experience of their undergraduate life.

Devised Theater:
In standard theater, (dramas, musicals, etc.), there is a strict delineation of roles in the design, direction, and acting of the piece. Recent movement away from that model, (partly due to the growing expense of producing good quality theater), has been a real development in “Devised” or “Collaborative” Theater. Essentially, an ensemble works to develop a script, lighting, sound, costumes, scenery, etc.
The rolls of participants may be delineated differently to give more developmental authority to the actors and designers. For example, a designer may not perform but he/she might have a voice in the writing of the script so the design responds to the work of the performers. Normally, the designs (particularly Scenic and Costume) are long-finished before the actors begin rehearsal.

Contract of commitment:
A typical devised theater process might start with all the participants creating a contract of commitment. This might include rehearsal hours, etc., but it would also cover the structure by which the creative work will happen Will there be a meeting at the end of every rehearsal to address any script development? Will design meetings work into the rehearsal day, or will they occur separately? What is the process for vetting material? How will the Direction unfold? (Perhaps a rotating position or a team approach.) A timeline will be drawn up: at what point in the rehearsal process do we start scripting? On what date do we stop adding new material?

Development of the work:
Once the commitment and logistics are set the participants develop the work: brainstorming sessions, workshops, and working in smaller groups. After a certain number of work sessions the ensemble would come together for a “showing”: An informal presentation with critique of a work in progress. As the work develops there might be a re-group meeting about progress, and then the piece starts to become set, hitting deadlines for script drafts and cut- offs for new material.

New York Performances:
Nina Morrison, a NY colleague in the industry is a long time producer of small-scale theater. Nina knows the venues, the publicity outlets and the limitations. She is eager to work with us to produce the show, and she can do it for $3000. We are able to provide the student labor therefore the production costs will be minimal. Stock scenery, props, and costumes will be provided by the U.Va. Department of Drama.
Students will cover their own travel, room and board, not unusual for Drama students who travel to NYC several times each year. We have a vast network of recent grads in the city, and everyone agrees that there are enough couches to go around. Amongst the 20+ colleagues of the Drama Department, and through social media outlets, we are confident that we can get members of the casting and producing community to come observe the work of our students.

Orientation/interest meetings and reading assigned: First week of classes , Fall 2012
Contract meeting: Within first two full weeks of classes
First rehearsal: Week of September 17th
Rehearsal schedule: 1-2 weekly, 3 hours each
Showings: Week of October 22nd / December 3rd
J Term rehearsals: intensive week of rehearsals
New York performances: weekend early in Spring semester, 2013
Friday a.m: load in to theater
afternoon: tech rehearsals
eve: first performance
Saturday Evening: second performance
Post performance: load out
Sunday: props and people return to U.Va. with a NY credit under their belt

Please find below a rough budget for two possible theater options in NY selected for location, proximity to theater supplies, etc.
Other theater options may be researched.

http://www.horsetrade.info/ – The Kraine Theatre on East 4th St. is a 99- seat house located in the East Village.

http://producersclub.com/theaters/crowne.html – The Crowne Theater on West 44th St. is a 60-seat house located in the Times Square Area.

We will have some reserve for the possible need for truck rental, for student stipends, or for a reception for the performances.


Personal pillars and tone for the theater piece:
I want these students to have the opportunity to say what they want to say. That said, being eternally optimistic, I do plan to establish several fundamental pillars to the piece:

First and foremost – I want, in some way, for good to triumph over evil. Being fairly relaxed on how they get there, I want to walk out of the show with a feeling hope. With regard to obscene or hateful themes, I will have veto power over material. I won’t mind the student “making a point” nor must it be PG, but the final product may not include offensive material.

Second, I want the student to develop some audience interaction. Perhaps the audience will select who plays which roll (hence one actor knows all parts.) Possibly the audience picks the order of a series of episodes. Maybe they decide the end of the show by texting in votes. As these students are highly used to electronic communication, this could be a study for them as artists, and interesting to me as instructor.

Two Night UVA Student Work                    
Friday and Saturday, January 2013 @ 8 PM                    
PC Crowne Theater (60 seats, Times Square location)     
HT Kraine Theater (99 seats, E. Village location)     

http://producersclub.com/theaters/crowne/rental-information.html      http://www.horsetrade.info/     

    Rehearsal Space: $ 0 provided by Drama Dept.
    Costumes: $0 provided by Drama Dept.
    Props: $0provided by Drama Dept.
    Lighting Design: $0 provided by Drama Dept.
    Venue Rental    Full Day Friday     $ 650.00-800.00     Friday full day rental to load in and tech in morning and afternoon, performance in evening
    Venue Rental    Saturday Eve     $ 415.00-525.00     Saturday performance night
    Insurance         $ 180.00     
    Fireguard    2 nights     $ 150.00     
    Projector    2 nights     $ 100.00   not sure if we will need projector, added it just in case
    Photographer         $0  provided by Drama Dept.
    Videographer         $0 provided by Drama Dept.
    Printing/Copy Fees         $ 200.00     
        Subtotal     $ 1,365.00-1,955.00     
Contingency 10%             $ 136.50-195.50     10% contingency covers unexpected costs
        Total Expense     $ 1,501.50 - 2,150.50