Downstairs Maestro and intermission

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Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby gene » February 17th, 2013, 12:00 pm

I did my first downstairs Maestro last night. While it was fun, there was a lot of confusion of dealing with the space and what to do during intermission. A lot of folks have not played or directed Maestro downstairs yet, so in the interest of lessening the learning curve, let's discuss the new challenges and opportunities presented by the downstairs space.

What should we do/go during intermission? The energy got better after intermission, but I can imagine it going the other way too. I've heard that Rich Ross says that we should go out and interact with the audience. I'm not crazy about that and what works in SF may not necessarily work here. I'm in favor of a keeping a wall between the audience and the players until after the show. Definitely don't bemoan bad scenes in earshot of the audience.

Should we eliminate before or after intermission?

Will that platform be permanent or is it just for the Fandom show?

Where is a good place to put the scoreboard? Where it was located last night was very accident prone.

What's good sideline etiquette now that there is no clear demarcation between the sideline and the stage?

What's a good time to pimp out classes and other shows?
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby kbadr » February 17th, 2013, 12:47 pm

What should we do/go during intermission?

Where ever you'd like. The coffee house is going to get pretty crowded (that's the point of intermission), so hanging backstage is probably the best bet.

Should we eliminate before or after intermission?

Before. I don't think this is even an issue or consideration. TIme-wise, we should have eliminated before intermission. Intermission seems to work best if you do it in the middle of a round, around an hour into the show.

Will that platform be permanent or is it just for the Fandom show?

I don't see what this has to do with Maestro. We are still working on what the permanent setup will be in the downstairs space. For now, the platform will be there, as it provides extra levels. It's up to the performers to remember that it is not "the stage", but part of the whole playing area.

Where is a good place to put the scoreboard? Where it was located last night was very accident prone.

We haven't had accidents before. Where was it? What sort of accidents?

What's good sideline etiquette now that there is no clear demarcation between the sideline and the stage?

Players in the sides should not be talking and whispering to each other. People do that in Maestro sometimes, I think because they forgot that sound traveled even when they couldn't be seen in the upstairs theater. Be invisible unless you're making a choice not to be.

What's a good time to pimp out classes and other shows?

The end of the show, as always. Intermission doesn't affect this.

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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby mpbrockman » February 17th, 2013, 1:33 pm

Where is a good place to put the scoreboard? Where it was located last night was very accident prone.

We haven't had accidents before. Where was it? What sort of accidents?


It got run into/knocked over once or twice b/c it was on the side near the entry (high traffic) . I asked them to put it there b/c I needed to be on the other side near the snake since I was running through the house system. The scoreboard was originally set up on the other side, but I would have been playing behind it - unable to see the performers' faces or the audience - if we had left it there.

Of course, if we had put my gear on that side then it would have been run into.

I think the scoreboard is going to need to be on that side when you have a musician. I would suggest putting it on a more structurally sound foundation than two wooden chairs placed side by side. I would also suggest redoing the nametags/scorecards in big, bold caps so the audience can read them. There are some written so lightly and small that I couldn't read them just from the other side of the stage.
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby acrouch » February 17th, 2013, 2:02 pm

Good questions! I think this is definitely a learning process for all of us.

kbadr wrote:
What should we do/go during intermission?

Where ever you'd like. The coffee house is going to get pretty crowded (that's the point of intermission), so hanging backstage is probably the best bet.


Mingling with the crowd is great if you're comfortable with it, but if not, probably just do your own thing in the backstage or upstairs greenroom (which might not always be available, but is for now). And definitely follow good audience etiquette in general (take compliments gracefully and don't grouse about things unnecessarily).

kbadr wrote:
Should we eliminate before or after intermission?

Before. I don't think this is even an issue or consideration. TIme-wise, we should have eliminated before intermission. Intermission seems to work best if you do it in the middle of a round, around an hour into the show.


You MUST eliminate before intermission. It's the whole point of the format and to let it slide for an entire half of the show is unacceptable. I think we're still trying to figure out what works beyond that. Last time I directed, we worked hard to get the third round done in time to eliminate twice before intermission and then come back for round four with about 7 or 8 players still in the show - and that seemed to work pretty well. We've talked about trying to create some suspense by taking intermission before the last scene or two of round three. We'll have to keep playing with it.

kbadr wrote:
Where is a good place to put the scoreboard? Where it was located last night was very accident prone.

We haven't had accidents before. Where was it? What sort of accidents?


We're working on a more permanent solution for the scoreboard, but that's going to take some time.

kbadr wrote:
What's good sideline etiquette now that there is no clear demarcation between the sideline and the stage?

Players in the sides should not be talking and whispering to each other. People do that in Maestro sometimes, I think because they forgot that sound traveled even when they couldn't be seen in the upstairs theater. Be invisible unless you're making a choice not to be.


Look attentive and engaged (which we should be anyway so we can support scenes)
Try to limit talking on the sidelines, especially during scenes. Some amount of chatter and socializing between scenes seems to work fine.
And my personal preference is that we not lead the laughing or clapping - let the audience laugh louder than us and clap when they want to. We don't need clapping before each scene; play energetic music in the blackout before scenes and let them clap when we've earned it.

kbadr wrote:
What's a good time to pimp out classes and other shows?

The end of the show, as always. Intermission doesn't affect this.


Yup. The general place for the pimping is once the scoring is settled and before you announce the Maestro. You have their undivided attention at that point.
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby Jon Bolden » February 17th, 2013, 2:40 pm

acrouch wrote:And my personal preference is that we not lead the laughing or clapping - let the audience laugh louder than us and clap when they want to. We don't need clapping before each scene; play energetic music in the blackout before scenes and let them clap when we've earned it.


Absolutely and I hate to single people out, but there's a few individuals that really believe in forcing to get the audience clapping between scenes. I think it's always awkward and rarely gets the audience on our side. Let's set the expectations low, be calm and casual, and let the work speak for itself. It makes the ramp up and the pacing of the show so much more satisfying.

A few nit-picky things I'm noticing lately:

1. When you are eliminated, you should leave the show. You can come back in and watch, but the audience should have the impression that you are gone and the room is smaller. Don't sit down in the front row. It should feel more intimate. You can support future scenes but I think this would be a rare and special occurrence. I think it takes away from the arc when we are shouting things from the back after being eliminated (yes, even in sermon speeches). We can join in on the fun that the audience is having after the fact.

2. In regards to all the Rich Ross talk, don't miss his underlying point: don't do anything religiously, unless it's a mechanical thing like let's eliminate before intermission. It sounds contradictory, because there are some "let's absolutely do this" and some "let's absolutely don't". But Rich Ross would never want you to feel like you have to talk to the audience. It's simply an option. People's complaints against it are also sounding like they care too much about winning (not referring to you, Gene). That's the crux of the problem, right here.

Would folks that are casted a lot be interested in a semi-regular rehearsal to talk about these topics?
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby gene » February 17th, 2013, 6:35 pm

Sorry if I came off as complaining. For the record I loved having the platform and I hope some of it survives.
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby Jon Bolden » February 18th, 2013, 10:31 am

gene wrote:Sorry if I came off as complaining. For the record I loved having the platform and I hope some of it survives.


Naw, I think these were great questions and concerns that are already in discussion. After so many years of upstairs, there's bound to be some adjustments, especially for Maestro since it's mostly people playing in that space for the first time.
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby happywaffle » February 18th, 2013, 11:30 am

Jon Bolden wrote:
crouch wrote:And my personal preference is that we not lead the laughing or clapping - let the audience laugh louder than us and clap when they want to. We don't need clapping before each scene; play energetic music in the blackout before scenes and let them clap when we've earned it.


Absolutely and I hate to single people out, but there's a few individuals that really believe in forcing to get the audience clapping between scenes. I think it's always awkward and rarely gets the audience on our side. Let's set the expectations low, be calm and casual, and let the work speak for itself. It makes the ramp up and the pacing of the show so much more satisfying.


Feel free to single me out :) I'm a believer in the pre-scene clapping, just for energy purposes. I also believe that the audience WANTS to clap, but isn't sure whether to, and some restrained applause from the sidelines accomplishes two things: (1) lets the audience know that it's okay for them to clap too, (2) lets the players onstage know that they have support from the sides. A well-placed energetic musical cue can substitute, but we often don't have one of those.

All this is discussing the top of the scene, mind you. I definitely agree that the players shouldn't be the loudest laughers or clappers during and after the scene, that seems forced and awkward.

Jon Bolden wrote:When you are eliminated, you should leave the show. You can come back in and watch, but the audience should have the impression that you are gone and the room is smaller. Don't sit down in the front row. It should feel more intimate. You can support future scenes but I think this would be a rare and special occurrence. I think it takes away from the arc when we are shouting things from the back after being eliminated (yes, even in sermon speeches). We can join in on the fun that the audience is having after the fact.


Agreed completely. Don't throw out suggestions, just enjoy the show. Unless you need to use the potty or something, I'd be in favor of running right up the center aisle to take a seat in the back (if available) upon being eliminated.
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby Brad Hawkins » February 18th, 2013, 3:33 pm

gene wrote:Sorry if I came off as complaining. For the record I loved having the platform and I hope some of it survives.


I'm not in love with the platform for Maestro. With my knee, it can get a little painful, especially during Pan Left/Pan Right and Tag Team Monologue.
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby Jon Bolden » February 18th, 2013, 6:00 pm

Brad Hawkins wrote:
gene wrote:Sorry if I came off as complaining. For the record I loved having the platform and I hope some of it survives.


I'm not in love with the platform for Maestro. With my knee, it can get a little painful, especially during Pan Left/Pan Right and Tag Team Monologue.


Oh, I would say definitely don't use the platforms for that. In fact, it would make sense to use them far less than they are being used now. There is a lot of space below.
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby Jessica » February 18th, 2013, 6:50 pm

All of this discussion is great. I'm so glad that we are getting used to the space enough that now we can start talking about what works and doesn't work in the scenes.

I think it has been hard to move spaces and still keep the vibe of "anything can happen." We need that fun silly energy. We need to break rules and enjoy ourselves at the show. But we also need to be aware that we are there for the audience.

In general, I'm not really a fan of hard and fast rules. But in general let's say:
1) During intermission - hang out where you feel comfortable. Take that as a time to check in with the directors, but don't bitch in front of the audience.
2) Eliminate before the intermission.
3) Try to hit intermission around 11:00.
4) Try to hit the end of the show at 11:45
5) On the sidelines - be respectful and attentive, and always looking for how to support.
6) Don't cross back stage unless you are sure you can do it with out tripping :)
7) Once you are out of the show stay out unless you are brought back on.
(The confusion here was my fault. This weekend we were doing a sermon, and I noticed that the audience was a little quiet, so I called out an "Amen, brother." Then other imps picked that up and ran with it. I think when you are in the audience you can do what an audience member could do, but once you start becoming an actor in the scene - especially a solo scene- then you've overstepped your bounds.)
8) After the show exit out the front and casually hang around to say good night to the audience.
9) There is no point to "getting it right" or "figuring it out." This is Maestro and curve balls make it delightful! So relax, enjoy yourself and have fun.
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 19th, 2013, 10:52 am

feel free to single me out with Kevin as well. i'm a BIG fan and proponent of clapping before scenes. it feels awkward to me otherwise. and i agree with Kevin, i think a lot of time the audience isn't sure if they should clap there or not (since there's no real hard fast theatrical etiquette on this), so hearing someone else clap first gives them permission. we used to pimp it out at Ultimate Improv with a simple "show them some love," and clapping as we left the stage. and that's the primary reason i do it whether the audience does or not: to show my fellow players some love.

also, the platform will be further upstage for Strange Worlds, so there should be more "unelevated" space to play in.
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby Jon Bolden » February 19th, 2013, 11:00 am

To clarify, I think clapping a few times in the beginning is great to let the audience know that's a thing they can do, but I'm firmly against forcing it between every scene.
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 19th, 2013, 11:14 am

i'm not forcing it. i'm just doing it. the audience is free to join in. ;)
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Re: Downstairs Maestro and intermission

Postby Jon Bolden » February 19th, 2013, 3:33 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:i'm not forcing it. i'm just doing it. the audience is free to join in. ;)


Fair enough! To each his own.

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