Friday, July 18, 2008

"In" stages

The audience's experience is a key component of an Endstation Theatre Company production. What will they feel? What will they see, smell, and hear?

From the moment our guests arrive, happily outfitted Endstation volunteers are waiting at the box office with tickets, programs and hospitality. Our kind volunteers also have been urging our guests to peruse the art gallery which is currently running an exhibit called 100 views of High Peaks which showcases the Blue Ridge's beauty 100 different ways.

Volunteers Nancy & Lauren Kershner wait at the Box Office to greet our guests.

Meanwhile, the cast and crew man their positions backstage waiting for the house to open. Props have been set, the actors are in costume and wait for information from Stage Manager Maria Hayden.

Hey Thomas, where' ya goin'?

Lucas Hayden, Sound Board Operator

From the very beginning of the design phase, the seating was being set on stage. Many audience members wondered why we would waste a whole empty 800 seat auditorium and only use the constructed seating for 60 guests. Our answer is this... it would be a very different show seeing it from that far away. "When you are within 5 feet of the heartache, the awkwardness, and the long pauses of silence, you become those things along with the characters in the play" remarked one audience member. And that is exactly it, having the viewers right on stage with the action makes the audience inherently part of the show.
Company member, Andrew Becker waits to escort guests onto the stage.

Thus far we've gotten great responses to the show. People who remember the tragedy relive moments in a positive way. People who have heard the stories from family members and friends connect with characters who retell the tales. One of our audience members commented on how the air smelled in the theatre... it was moist and filled with an earthy odor, thanks to the debris pile. We even got some complements on our miniature version of a HAM Radio tower... it acts as the pedestal for the projector and is operated from the lighting booth.
Welding together our mini HAM tower.

Just over 2 years ago the Endstation Theatre Company planted its feet at Sweet Briar College. Here's a peek inside our office. This is where it started and congratulations to everyone on a very successful summer festival.

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