What can you expect on a Festival day? Please read the following carefully for information on props, costumes, stage lighting, and other details on performing at the Secondary School Festival.
Dressing Room Facilities: We strongly encourage you to arrive already in your costumes and make-up. If you do need a dressing room, you may use the Lower Lobby. There is a men’s room and a women’s room, each of which has a small anteroom. Morning groups may change before the first performance of the day; afternoon groups may change during the lunch break. In extreme circumstances, you may change during the performance before yours, but you must arrange this ahead of time with the Education Department! Costumes may not be stored in the changing areas; they must be kept under your seats, on your bodies, or hung on the coat racks in the Exhibition Hall. Keep the dressing room rules in mind when designing your costumes and makeup:
The dressing room will not be your private space (other folks need to use the toilets!), so please change as quickly as possible.
You must assign a crew member or other responsible person to clean up the dressing room and clear out all your gear as soon as your group is made up.
After your performance, immediately resume your seats in the theater. Students may change back into street clothes at lunchtime or during the afternoon break.
Music: If you wish to use recorded music, bring your own battery-powered box. You may not plug anything into an outlet. One of your crew will be responsible for operation of the player during your performance. Live music is great, but it must be performed by students who are an official part of the cast.
Props: The Box Rule! Each group will provide its own small props. They should be carried in a roadbox—one box—labeled with the school’s name. The box should be no larger than 3 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet, and it should be sturdy enough not to fall apart as the day wears on. Footlockers or plastic containers are definitely preferable to cardboard. (Don’t bring furniture—the Folger will provide the basics; you can check it all out at the walk-through.) Your stage manager will be responsible for your roadbox. And remember: if it doesn’t fit in your one box, don’t bring it. Do not plan on bringing valuables of any kind to the Festival—things get lost.
The prop box is not the place to put costumes—the box will be stored backstage, and you won’t have access to it again until you are performing. Costumes can be worn, stowed under your seat, or hung on racks in the Exhibition Hall.
Forbidden Props: live animals, food or liquid (even if not consumed), anything breakable (this includes wine bottles), fire, stage blood, confetti, glitter, non-theatrical weapons (this includes anything that could potentially harm someone if dropped or misused), or anything that has to be taped to the stage or set. Also, anything that could be mistaken for a real gun is not allowed: cap guns, no; pink plastic water pistols, okay.
Safe Stage Combat: Be sure that all stage combat is safe, choreographed, and practiced (and practiced and practiced!) Safety first! If audience members fear for the safety of the actors, they are no longer connected to the story of the play. The “victim” of any stage combat is always in control. Any characters that fall down on stage should do so safely (and painlessly!)
Stage Manager: Each group is expected to include a student stage manager to work with the Folger stage manager.
The student is responsible for:
Stowing and retrieving the roadbox and its contents.
Attending a meeting with the Folger stage manager at 8:30am on the day of your performance.
Supervising your crew in the manipulation of props on and off stage.
Immediately removing all small props from the stage or backstage at the conclusion of your performance.
Lighting: You will all have the same basic lighting. No blackouts.
Balcony: No playing is allowed on the second level. No one is allowed on the second floor or basement backstage unless escorted by staff. Performers are allowed to play in the aisles and to enter from the back of the house. Be aware, however, that you cannot exit to backstage and then re-enter from the back of the house—there’s no way to get from one place to the other without being seen.
Understudies: You are encouraged to have understudies. Please include understudies on the cast list. (Don’t forget to ask for seats for them.) If you do have a last-minute cast change, please provide that information at the beginning of the day. The change will be announced by the Mistress of Revels so that the audience and the commentators will know who’s who.