Theatrical Performance: What Goes into Every Drama Act Preparation Process
The life of a new actor is a waiting game.
Waiting for the next acting project or audition is frustrating and loaded with unwanted stress and anxiety.
As a beginner artist, this can make you feel powerless because the progress of your career is totally reliant on other people.
The most empowering endeavor you can ever pursue as an actor is producing your own work. It gives insight into the theater industry and how it works and diversifies your artistic skills.
It takes a proactive attitude and action to excel in this industry. Pull a show together and put yourself in the limelight to get the reputation of a go-getter artist.
Let the industry know that you’re passionate about being an actor.
You’re not “just another actor” trying to make a career in the industry.
Where do you start and what do you have to do to prepare for a show? Here’s what goes into preparing a dramatic act for your first theatrical show:
4 Steps to Preparing an Acting Drama for a Theatrical Show
- Find a show
The first challenge in putting up your own show is selecting the right show.
Be realistic when choosing a show. Determine if you’ve got enough funds or the cast for a “Shakespeare.”
Is there an audience yearning to see your show? Do you have the right age or height to take up the role of your lead character?
Has a similar show been done in your city previously? If yes, what do you intend to do differently? Is it enough to stage the show again? Be honest when answering these questions.
Make sure you have enough resources to guarantee your show’s success. Find a show you can easily cast and suits your budget atop being versatile for staging.
Do research and go through various scripts to choose anything from modern shows to short plays by seasoned actors. Find script resource sites to begin your search for a show.
Alternatively, buy your favorite authors’ collections to find great plays. Look for hidden gems often overlooked by large acting companies.
To deliver something unique, think outside the box.
You also need to get rights to avoid getting sued.
However, the process for getting performance rights to produce a show can be sophisticated, long and tiring. What’s more, the rights are usually unavailable for varied reasons.
You can begin the process with an email to the script’s author. Do a simple Google search to find leads to the agent or publisher of the script to initiate a discussion with them.
Rights cost money, with pricing dependent on various factors such as season length, number of seats and whether the season is amateur or professional.
- Find a good theater space
You need space to put up a drama act or show. You can find space in the following ways:
- Hiring a “found space.”
- Making submissions to theatre companies
- Festival registration
Most theaters have submission seasons for accepting show proposals from the local community.
The submissions are made three months to a year before the onset of a performance season. So, organize yourself and prepare your proposal for submission.
Check theater websites of your city for upcoming submission seasons.
Email the company that manages the theater. Ask questions to get information, make better submissions and increase your chance of getting space.
“Found space,” on the other hand, involves finding a modern theater space and renting it for the period or season you’ll be using it. This is a perfect option if you intend to make your first show.
It gives you freedom and lets you reign over the entire season length without competition from other actors. Options include:
Look into the logistics before opting for any specific option. For instance, can you fit in seating and light the space? Can people easily get to the venue or is it too noisy?
If none of the factors above poses a challenge, choose your preferred space to begin making your first show.
You may also need a portable generator for power backup in case of blackout when rehearsing or putting up a performance. It may also come in handy later on when spending time outside with your cast.
Fringe Festivals are the best option for picking a festival to make a show. A large organization is available to assist you find the right space and sell your show’s tickets.
The pay-to-play scenario offers an excellent learning experience during the fringe season. It’s also profitable and offers lots of fun for attendees.
Fringe festivals occur worldwide every year. Find one near you before the next registration.
- Putting a team together
The cast isn’t the draw card to a successful show as you may think. It’s actually the least important part of your production team.
You need a good director and producer. The producer will ensure that your business aspect is covered and get to sell some tickets for the show. On the other hand, the director is responsible for ensuring the show is up and looks good.
Theater has several jobs and for good reasons; every job or role requires a unique set of skills.
Find a stage manager to direct communication lines between the creative roles, cast and production team. The position also involves:
- Setting up props
- Organizing rehearsals
- Fostering smooth running of the show every night.
Opt for designers to work on lighting, costumes, set, and sound for professional shows. Otherwise, hire freelance designers for simple productions.
Send emails to get contacts or reach out to people you’ve worked with before. People who love theater and work independently will be happy to work on inspiring shows with a great team.
Be accommodating and professional to fill up the roles in your team. Take up some roles if you want.
Seek professional advice first.
4. Cast your play
Use your connections and network to find the right cast for your show. You don’t have to audition people you know can take up specific roles because you trust them. Simply offer them parts.
Make sure each role is age appropriate; don’t let a 26 year old take up the role of a 50 year old in a show; that’s only allowed in drama school.
Use online casting resources and audition people in your local acting community to find actors.
Find space for auditions to make your project look professional. Allocate time, clarify how you want the audition done, and be clear about potential payments to those being auditioned.
Find people who’re passionate about drama and available to dedicate their time to rehearsals and actual show performances. The success of your show depends on a good cast.
Whether your first drama or show excels or fails, it’s simply a learning experience. Develop working relationships with professionals in the industry to get inspired and learn from them.