Little Fish doesn’t have a lot of performances on our schedule during the month of April. We have closing weekend of Chapter Two on April 4-6, and we have opening weekend of Looking on the April 26-27. If you think that means it’s a quiet time at Little Fish, you’re mistaken. The time in between shows is probably the busiest time of all. So, what exactly goes on during those three weeks?
By the time we get to closing night for our Series A shows, the next pair of shows have already been in rehearsal for three weeks and the sets have been designed. Rehearsals usually start about six weeks before a show opens, although that can vary wildly since rehearsals have to fit around the actors’ schedules.
The actors don’t get paid. (Yes, it’s true, they do it “for love.”) They all have day jobs that we have to schedule around. Rehearsals are held in our upper lobby and on the set of the current show while that show is still running. Props and costumes for the new show are all stored in the upper lobby and office until the new set is complete.
On closing night, the actors all stay late and help strike the old set and clean out the dressing room. The costume designer retrieves any costumes that were rented or borrowed, and our prop inventory guru puts away all the props. The next day, the set designer demos whatever is left of the set, sorts out what gets stored, what gets reused, and what gets trashed, and starts building the new set. Walls get put up, lights get taken down and moved around, things get painted. The entire process of building, painting, adding trim, hanging curtains, etc., takes a couple of weeks.
Once the Series A set is complete, the designer then has to figure out how to incorporate the Series B set, which is sometimes quite a challenge. In the meantime, the Series B show moves into the upper lobby for rehearsals and prop/set/costume storage; we are a busy little theater where the fun never stops.
The rehearsals move to the stage as soon as it’s no longer a hardhat zone, but still without most of the props and costumes. The actors and director won’t see the entire show with lights, sound, costumes and props until tech rehearsals, which happen only a few days before opening night. Light and sound cues and any special effects get adjusted at that time. On the final rehearsal day, the costumes go on, requiring last minute changes that only become obvious once you see the actress in high heels about to climb onto the couch and punch holes in the cushions with her stiletto heels. Oops! When you attend our shows and see the amazing final product, you would never guess how chaotic the final days before opening can be.
Does all this sound intriguing to you? Then I have good news. We now offer the opportunity to be an Honorary Producer or Designer. For a $600 donation (for Honorary Set Designer) or a $400 donation (for Honorary Costume, Props or Sound Designer), you’ll dialogue with a designer and see their selections before the show opens, spend the day as they pull items from our stock or accompany them shopping, and get sneak peeks of the play in production.
You’ll also receive invitations to attend the first reading with the cast and the Cast/Crew Party. Or for a more intense experience and a $2,000 donation, you can be the Honorary Producer of one of our 2013 shows. You’ll get to spend time with the producer and all the designers during the production, do all the things the Honorary Designers get to do, and you’ll also be part of the production team during the Talk Back Sundays, letting audience members in on the inside scoop – from your perspective.
If you’re interested, you can donate on our website (www.littlefishtheatre.org) or call us at (310) 512-6030 for more details. spt