B.4 OUR FORMATS
the years we have settled on a production season consisting of five “public”
preparations plus the touring shows of the SPU University Players.
Each year we also strive to accommodate a number of “invitation-only”
class and laboratory productions as they are brought forward and can be fitted
around the dates and energy requirements of the remainder of the season.
It is the belief of the faculty that any fewer productions will not adequately
satisfy student needs for experience—the number of production preparation
opportunities and the needful variety of stylistic exposures—but
that any consistently scheduled additions will (given our present personnel and
financial limitations) send us all into hiding under our desks.
Actually, under your desk is not a bad place to be when other sanctuary
fails. Who bothers to look?
Our seasonal plan acknowledges the fact that theatre can and does exist
in all manner of circumstances:
It can be highly formal in its presentation, carefully
controlling the company-to-audience messaging process, or as informal
as a group of friends showing off for each other like children at play, creating
nothing but delightful interaction. We are obliged
to explre both formal and informal presentations.
It can be performed
nearly anywhere: outdoor amphitheaters, specifically designed and well
equipped performance spaces, “found” (and usually poorly equipped)
spaces, church sanctuaries, gymnasiums, classrooms, even grassy patches.
Most anywhere. We must be prepared for all
to extend experience in all these preparations, our production schedule
is divided into mainstage, studio, laboratory, and touring formats, the latter
primarily through the work of the University Players.
important to note that our program attaches no value to the artistic
distinctions between the various types of presentation.
For example. when you are cast in or stage manage a studio production,
the artistic requirements of your task are of equal value to similar work you
will do on a mainstage production. Designing and operating
the sound plot for a University Players show demands the same creativity and discipline
as does the similar assignment for either a studio or mainstage presentation.
The learning you gain from directing and putting together your own material
for a laboratory production, or designing the light plot for a studio production,
or costuming a student production, is of equal (and oftentimes greater) value
to your development as an artist as is effort expended
on a larger mainstage production.
lie, of course, in the scope of the artistic task.
But the size of the role or the length of the script are false measurements
of artistic achievement. As are the number of people
in the audience for a given performance, or the aggregate number who see a given
production. Is the production of Cats
on Broadway of greater value than The Three Little Kittens in
an elementary school? Of different
value, perhaps, but greater?
are questions for you to wrestle with during the period of your training.
But for our purposes, the University Theatre production program must
focus on artistic viability and on educational appropriateness for measurement