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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Books/resources for full scale stage production (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dr Spektor
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I'm develping a full scale mystery presentation for stage... and am now looking for a few books/resources on the essentials of what is needed... from ideas for the essential crew cues, what a director can do for you, lighting, etc. I checked out the Stage fora but the topics really don't cover it. I'm looking sort of like a Maximum Entertainment or Win the Crowd book devoted to Stage excellence. Although I have been doing a lot of presentations which have included stage work for up to 200-700 people... I want to bring my performance abilities (knowledge, skill and professionalism) up to the next level.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
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There are a lot of resources available on the various disciplines in theatre, almost too many to list.

A good place to start for anything technical (especially their links to resources pages) is with the Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology, and the United States Institute for Theater Technology.

These are the organizations that oversee sound, lighting, staging, carpentry, safety, standardized information forms, and much more in the field of technical theater in North America.

Neither is a commercial organization, they're both non-profit and exist to further the craft of technical theater.

Bill Ligon
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There is an old book by Henning Nelms (yes, that Henning Nelms) on stagecraft, acting, set design, prop making, stage movement, etc. that is well worth looking at. Play Production, Barnes and Noble (College Outline Series), 1950. It is excellent.

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Dr Spektor
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Thanks guys!
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
Tony Iacoviello
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Technical Theater for Nontechnical People by Drew Campbell
The Perfect Stage Crew by John Kaluta

These are two books I've found very useful.
George Ledo
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I've covered a fair amount of this in my columns here in the the Café, but here's the Cliff's Notes version of the Cliff's Notes version:

There's a huge difference between being a performer, a stage designer, and a stage techie. It's not just the skills involved, but also the mentality and the temperament. Sadly, too many "tech theater" books and courses show you the technical stuff, but don't even give you a clue as to how to apply it to a real performance: a piece of "art" for the stage.

There are lots of people out there designing sets, lighting, and so forth, who are really techies in training and mentaily. There are also working techies who were trained as designers, or who should be trained as designers. Then there are "both of the above" who really wanted to be performers but ended up backstage. IOW, there are a lot of people who are frustrated because they're in the wrong end of theater and don't always know it.

If you want to be the performer, focus on your show first: who you are and what the audience will see. Lay it out, script it out, and figure it out. Then, once you know your show, you can decide where you want to add technical stuff and can begin to ask questions that will help you focus on those details. Or better yet, hire a consultant who works on concerts and such and can help you go in the right direction. This will also help you cut to the chase instead of going in circles for months and months reading up on stuff that you either don't need or is totally out of date. It'll be a fantastic investment in your show.

As far as the books mentioned above, they're okay as a start. However, I'll have to disagree with Tony on "The Perfect Stage Crew" by John Kaluta. This book reads like it was intended for high-school or low-budget community plays and such. I would not recommend it to anyone wanting to do a professionally-staged production.
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