The Blood of Kings — It’s All Over… Essay Time!

Topic: Arts and Culture 13 years, 1 month ago

After more than two months of work, fun, frustration and elation, it’s finally over. The last show for The Blood of Kings played on Saturday night, to a sold-out audience in Studio 1. For me, who has never been Producer on a theatre production before, it was a crazy, brilliant, rollercoaster ride… but one that was more than worth a trip on.

It actually started shortly after O-Week this year, when Clairie first mentioned that she was looking for someone to produce a play that she had written. I made comments to the effect of: I don’t know anyone suitable and well, I had no experience in producing theatre. When Clairie later told me she had found someone interested in producing BoK though, I was, of course secretly disappointed. ;)

That other person turned out to be Jess, who I was eventually meant to co-produce BoK with. I say supposedly, but I’ll come back to that. This is where the adventure starts, after all.

Throughout the course of the production, I ended up putting in a lot of effort and doing things that perhaps shouldn’t entirely have been my responsibility. I was up till the early hours of the morning multiple times on this project, whether it was putting the proposal together, designing posters or the program or just fixing artwork so I could send out promo playing cards to print — the latter with a broken arm (Lucy was amazing and came over just to help me select objects in Illustrator and move them around, which I couldn’t do with one hand).

I don’t resent any of it, but I feel it’s worth thinking about now. I think there were a number of reasons for all this — some of them my fault, some of them not.

I Think I Did a Bad Job, But Got Away With It!

In hindsight, I think I did a pretty poor job of motivating people to do a good job and making it easier for people to do their best work. I can see now that I should have, you know, been more assertive in helping set objectives and targets and holding people to them. But like I said, this is all hindsight.

For instance, my Co-Producer was a busy girl and had to juggle the various demands of uni, work, sickness at times and numerous other commitments and hence wasn’t always able to be around to help. Likewise, my Publicist, was holding down a full-time job while trying to work on BoK and deal with a designer who only communicates via email. It’s tough, it’s not easy… I understand. But the end result was that I did have to pick up the pieces.

I’m increasingly aware that it’s very hard to care about things and put in effort when everyone around you isn’t… and this criticism of course applies to myself as well, because it became easy for me to just think “well nobody else is doing anything anyway” and then just do the same too.

So what’s the point? Well c’mon, it’s my blog, so indulge me if I rant a little! :P

Seriously though, I’m just surprised and disappointed I didn’t do a better job on this play. I mean, with my years of experience in student organisations, I should have known better how to run a team effectively. I still feel bad we never got hoodies printed for the cast and crew. But I’ll learn… and besides, the story only goes uphill from here!

The Fun Part: the Script, Cast and Show Week!

This last week has been just awesome. Things actually started off a little less-than-ideally and by the end of bump-in and tech/dress rehearsals, we were probably a day behind in terms of where we wanted the show to be. People got stressed at times, but somehow everything stuck together and we had some great times. Hell, I actually look back upon bump-in fondly now!

What made everything go so well was the people — from Mo (our Stage Manager), who was initially tired and gravel-voiced, but turned cheery and ended up being a lot of fun to work with, to Josh who stepped in to do sound op when it turned out nobody else could do it. The cast, as usual, were amazing, putting up with everything and soldiering on… even Peter, in-between naps. ;)

By the end of the week, we were zooming ahead… the cast nailed performances, everything ran like clockwork and we all enjoyed doing the show immensely. I hadn’t been so happy about doing anything since well, O-Week! I’ve met some great people doing this show, and gotten to know others much better. I’m so glad I had the chance to be involved in BoK and I had a ridiculous amount of fun doing so.

Along the way, someone told me something that went a bit like this: in doing shows, you always ended up with some people who you just couldn’t get along with after the show because that was the only way the show got done (and you had to accept this), and some people with whom you had to survive the show together no matter what because you couldn’t lose them, and hence you did. I can’t help but think that I (and everyone else) ended up with nobody in the former category at all and as for the latter category, I’d happily do this with them all over again anyway. And that makes me happy.

It’s really amazing having a chance to help bring something like this to life for the very first time, but what’s truly amazing is to see what the cast can do with it, playing characters they know nobody has ever played before. I’m so glad I got the chance to witness it! I have also definitely fallen in love with Clairie’s play, and she knows that originally I wasn’t totally convinced by it. Now though, having seen it on stage a few times I well and truly think it’s brilliant, funny and very intelligent… and my kind of thing!

OK, but enough from me. This has turned into a thousand-word essay! Heartfelt thanks to everyone who I’ve had the chance to work with on The Blood of Kings. I really appreciate it.

Now hang in there for the DVD and documentary! :D

Definitive: GIF is Pronounced “jif” 30 Days of SPAM: This Guy is My Hero!

2 Comments Add your own

  • . Adam Searle  |  13 years, 1 month ago

    Very cool essay. DTA needs more of this!

    Yes, great work on the play, we are proud of what you guys achieved. Was exciting to come along and see it. My only regret is I had a mental image of popping all this champagne as you emerged from studio 1 after the show, except.. the round house was closed and we had to drive back to jasons! A very fun night

  • . Johnny  |  13 years, 1 month ago

    Hey mate,

    Congrats on the show! I didn’t really expect this kind of thing, it being totally different from what I imagined.

    It was entertaining none the less.

    Well done Stevo, I’m proud of ya.


  • . Susie  |  13 years, 1 month ago

    Oh. I saw “Essay Time” and came here to make a comment about what a massive nerd you must be to start on essays in week three. My bad.

    It’s a feeling that’s so common as a producer, you feel like it will never end and it’s torturous and so hard and you can’t get anyone to do any publicity or designs or anything, but it somehow comes together in the end and then the run flies by, and before you know it it’s over!

    And as Kate Bartlett once said: “A NUTS show will tend to go in spite of itself”. No matter how convinced you can be as a producer that it will never actually happen, they always do, and well :)

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