Fall 2021 CoLab

 

Fall Departmental Production: CoLab 3.0

“OPENING UP"

Quicklinks:

How it Works | Auditions | FAQ

IMPORTANT UPDATE REGARDING TAKING COLAB FOR COURSE CREDIT:

 

We are sorry to report that, despite our best efforts to find a way to offer CoLab 3.0 for course credit, we have been unable to succeed. According to CUNY: If CoLab is a class, all participants have to be masked; if it’s a special project, they don’t. So the choice was either to list CoLab as a class with masked actors, or to do CoLab as a special project, where we can have un-masked actors. 

 

We tried to find a workaround, but there appears not to be one. In order for CoLab to be the return to in-person performance work that students overwhelmingly desire, and that we feel compelled to provide, actors must be able to work without masks, both in rehearsal and in performance. 

 

In light of this reality, we have decided to offer Apprenticeship credit for all students working with mentorship in CoLab this semester, including actors and playwrights (SMs and Directors will receive two credits for their more or less double workload, as usual).

 

We will continue to try and find a way to offer CoLab for credit, and there is a small chance that we'll figure out a workable solution to CUNY's mandate in the coming weeks. For now, however, students should proceed under the assumption that, for this semester, CoLab will not be available for course credit.

What is CoLab? At its heart, CoLab is a student led, faculty mentored production project. 

Through CoLab versions 1.0 and 2.0, both of which existed completely online, we learned that our students have benefited greatly from being in positions of mentored leadership. Another thing we have learned is that our students have a lot to say, and we want to hear how that might be amplified and expressed through the medium of theatre.

 

This semester, the productions will be written by student playwrights. Directors, actors, designers, technicians, stage managers, and production managers will all be students working under the guidance of faculty mentors and industry professionals.

 

We are doing all we can to make sure that the productions we undertake focus, first and foremost, on safety for all participants. This means we need to keep the number of people in rehearsals and onstage at any given time at a minimum. We are also trying, however, to provide opportunities for between 12 and 20 actors, so we have made the requirement that all plays must be written to be performed by a cast of no more than 3 actors (although those actors could, of course, play multiple parts).

Here’s how it works:

  • A committee of readers will choose from among the submissions (the deadline was August 20) a handful of plays that will work together to form an evening of performance (or series of evenings, depending on the number of plays selected; announcement of selected works: August 30)

  • Students interested in working as directors, designers, and production personnel can apply to participate between now and August 30 (we will do our best to be in touch with incoming transfer students).

  • During the first 5 or so weeks of the fall semester, mentors will work with participating students in design (set, costume, lighting, sound), production (stage management, production management, technical direction), direction, and playwriting.

  • Auditions will be held during the week of September 27, and rehearsals (including load-in and tech) will go from then until opening during the week of November 15.

  • Performances will take place with limited live audiences in the Loewe theatre, and they will be simultaneously live-streamed for those unable to attend in person.​

  • Participants will need to be available to work in person during the production process. If interested, e-mail huntercolab@gmail.com and please state:

    • Your name

    • Your major

    • Your level of experience (list any acting, directing, stage management, music, dance experience, etc.)

    • Your reason for wanting to take on this role

    • Any roles you would like to take on should this option be unavailable for any reason

    • Any theatre classes you’ve taken that have prepared you for this role (at Hunter or Elsewhere)

    • Your schedule of availability (times you are not in class or at work) Mondays - Sundays (if you have a variable work schedule, please explain).

    • Do you wish to take CoLab for course credit, Apprenticeship credit, or neither? (FULL TRANSPARENCY: at present, it is unclear how or if we will be able to offer this for course credit. Because of the current Covid regulations, all courses must require students to be masked during all class time. We are trying to find a way to allow actors to work unmasked during scene work, but this might mean that we simply cannot offer CoLab for course credit. We will continue to provide updates as we know more).

We do not have all the answers for this new exploration, but this sums up what we can know so far. We will be available for feedback, to answer any questions we can, and to listen to your ideas as we figure out how this exciting new project will transform from dream to reality!

 

Auditions

CoLab auditions are scheduled for:

 

Monday 9/27

The Loewe Theatre

1pm-4pm & 5:30pm-7:30pm

Tuesday 9/28

Hunter North 537

2pm-4pm & 5pm-8pm

 

Callbacks will also be Tuesday from 5pm-8pm.

 

If you are unavailable during these slots, please write to us at huntercolab@gmail.com to let us know. Other times might be able to be arranged on Wednesday 9/29 or Thursday 9/30, but it will be at the discretion of the directors.

To audition please fill out the audition form below and sign up for an audition slot!

 


CoLab FAQ

 


 

What is CoLab?

At its heart, CoLab is a student led, faculty mentored production project. 

Through CoLab versions 1.0 and 2.0, both of which existed completely online, we learned that our students have benefited greatly from being in positions of mentored leadership. Another thing we have learned is that our students have a lot to say, and we want to hear how that might be amplified and expressed through the medium of theatre.

 

This semester, the productions will be written by student playwrights. Directors, actors, designers, technicians, stage managers, and production managers will all be students working under the guidance of faculty mentors and industry professionals.


 

How are the plays chosen?

Students had the summer to write and submit original short plays around the theme “Opening Up.” Because we are doing all we can to make sure that the productions focus, first and foremost, on safety for all participants, we need to keep the number of people in rehearsals and onstage at any given time at a minimum. We are also trying, however, to provide opportunities for between 12 and 20 actors, so we have made the requirement that all plays must be written to be performed by a cast of no more than 3 actors (although those actors could, of course, play multiple parts).

A committee of readers will choose from among the submissions (the deadline was August 20) a handful of plays that will work together to form an evening of performance (or series of evenings, depending on the number of plays selected; announcement of selected works: August 30)

 

Where can I get a copy of the plays?

Selected plays will be made available in draft form to CoLab participants on an as-needed basis. After the plays have been reworked under the guidance of the Playwriting Mentor, they will be made available to students who need them for relevant coursework.

 

How can I get involved?

  1. If you are interested in being a Production Manager, Stage Manager, Designer, or Technical Director please write a letter of interest to huntercolab@gmail.com between now and August 30 (we will do our best to be in touch with incoming transfer students).​ Please state:

    1. Your name

    2. Your major

    3. Your level of experience (list any acting, directing, stage management, music, dance experience, etc.)

    4. Your reason for wanting to take on this role

    5. Any roles you would like to take on should this option be unavailable for any reason

    6. Any theatre classes you’ve taken that have prepared you for this role (at Hunter or Elsewhere)

    7. Your schedule of availability (times you are not in class or at work) Mondays - Sundays (if you have a variable work schedule, please explain).

    8. Do you wish to take CoLab for course credit, Apprenticeship credit, or neither?
      Deadline: 5pm, August 30, 2021
       

  2. If you are interested in being a Director, follow the above process; additionally, please answer the following questions, as well: Deadline: 5pm, August 30, 2021

 

  • What is the favorite play you have seen in person, and what did you like about the directing?

  • Why do you want to direct for CoLab 3.0?

  • What has prepared you to direct for this project?

 

Please submit your application to huntercolab@gmail.com. Late submissions will not be considered. 

**Directors should be prepared to make a serious time commitment in the fall semester. Each will be leading a large team and will likely be directing multiple plays** (Also note: Directors, with input from playwrights and faculty, will cast from joint auditions.)

 

Directors should be available for follow-up interviews later in the day on August 30 and during the day on August 31.

 

  1. If you are interested in being an Actor, please visit huntertheatre.net by September 20, 2021 for information about audition sign-ups.


 

What is the timeline for CoLab?

August 30: Announcement of plays

 

September 1: Announcement of leadership positions (Direction, Design, etc.)

 

September 27 - October 1: Actor and Designer auditions 

 

September 9 - October 8: Student directors, in collaboration with designers and playwrights, focus on research and design, and pre-production planning under the guidance of faculty/professional mentors.

 

The week of October 12: First actor rehearsal; design presentations (designers present storyboards, sketches, renderings, image research, etc. to share the world they’re creating for the actors to inhabit).

 

October 12 - November 7: Actor rehearsals, design meetings, and production meetings (schedule TBD). Designers will also attend some actor rehearsals as part of the design process for the performance.

 

November 8 - 12: Tech week

 

November 17 - 20: Performances (and websites launch)


 

What are the goals of CoLab?

 

CoLab is intended to provide a process that allows for maximum student involvement and creativity toward the collaborative creation of performances under the guidance of faculty and theatre professionals. One major goal is for students to have fun! Another major goal is for students to gain hands-on experience making theatre, thereby improving their craft and elevating their abilities as “theatre makers in the making.”


 

Can I register for CoLab for course credit?

 

FULL TRANSPARENCY: at present, it is unclear how or if we will be able to offer this for course credit. Because of the current Covid regulations, all courses must require students to be masked during all class time. We are trying to find a way to allow actors to work unmasked during scene work, but this might mean that we simply cannot offer CoLab for course credit. We will continue to provide updates as we know more.


 

Can I get Apprenticeship credit for CoLab?

 

Yes! Unless the option to take CoLab for course credit exists and you choose to take it, you may receive Apprenticeship credit. All Designers, Production Managers, and Technical Directors will receive 1 Apprenticeship credit; Directors and Stage Managers will receive 2. Actors are not eligible to receive Apprenticeship credit for CoLab (but they may register for it for credit, should that option be made available).

 

Are there other ways to get Apprenticeship credit this semester?

 

Yes! This semester, we are offering a number of Apprenticeship positions in the areas of Costume, Scene Shop, Lighting/Electrics, and Administration. These will be available on a first come, first served basis. For more information, contact Brad Krumholz at bkrumhol@hunter.cuny.edu


 

What is the time commitment for CoLab?

 

Different roles have different time commitments. Directors and Stage Managers will need to devote the most time to the project, since they will be at all rehearsals, design and production meetings. Actors will need to be available to be at most, if not all, rehearsals (depending on the process for that production). Directors, Designers, Technical Directors, Playwrights, and Production Managers will need to meet weekly with their mentors and attend all design and production meetings. Rehearsals generally take up at least 12 hours/week, depending on the number of plays selected and the demands of those plays, which will be determined in conversation with mentors.. Other meetings average at about 4-6 hours/week. There will also, of course, be work that needs to be done outside of official meeting times (like homework, which will vary depending on the process as it unfolds). 

 

During the first meeting with your mentor, you will go over timeline, schedules, expectations, meeting times, etc.


 

What roles are available and what will they entail?

 

Director - The directing students will sharpen their leadership and communications skills as they navigate collaboration with designers, actors, administrators, mentors, productions managers, stage managers, dramaturgs and technical consultants. Directors will also have an opportunity to work with a budget and learn the administrative side of directing.  There will be weekly meetings with directing mentor, professor Barbara Bosch to discuss the process as you work through it.

 

Actor - Actors will attend frequent rehearsals led by the student directors to develop the performance and will be present for all tech rehearsals and performances.

 

Scene Designer - Under the guidance of professor Louisa Thompson, Scene Designers will work with collaborators to support the director’s vision of the plays. The designer will help determine the use of space and composition as an active part of storytelling, as well as explore the use of images in creating the world of the play. Scene designers will be responsible for the initial storyboards used in rehearsal to help shape the production, and they will attend rehearsals as the work with actors evolves, helping provide suggestions for elements needed to support the visuals created in the storyboards. As with all theatre processes, the set designer will be a flexible and communicative collaborator with a responsibility towards the limits of time, support, and budget on this project.

 

Costume Designer - With professor Deepsikha Chatterjee, Costume designers will work with directors and actors, read and discuss the play, and come up with a concept of the play based on an assigned budget. The costume designer will then learn to research and design the characters and create a costume plot for the show. Costume designers will work on planning for the production by creating buy/pull/rent lists, planning design presentations for directors and actors, and planning for buying, renting, and fitting some costumes.

 

Lighting Designer - Under the guidance of professor Ian Calderon, Lighting Designers will collaborate with the director and fellow designers to establish a visual style for the world of the plays. The goal will be to support the voices of the playwrights and the directorial concepts. The team will research and develop a visual point of view for consideration and the exchange of ideas. Through the rehearsal process and staging sessions, the visual rhythm of the plays will emerge. The pre-visualization of dramatic transitions, mood-shifts and dynamic focus to help move the narrative will be documented for each scene. Through regular meetings with the director and the team, a visual storyboard will be developed to support the staging, the three-dimensionality of the space, the color and textures of the costumes, and the air and space of sound. The documentation will serve as the basis for the light plot, the focus session, and the building of lighting cues.

 

Sound Designer - Under the guidance of professional designer Beth Lake, Sound Designers will examine the practical, theoretical, and aesthetic bases of theatrical sound design. Participants will gain basic competence in the technologies of sound design in the pursuit of their productions. The goal is to give students the critical, auditory and technical tools necessary to create their own soundscapes and conceptual designs.

 

Playwrights - The playwrights will work with the playwriting mentor and directors to develop the plays as they go through the research and rehearsal process. They may also be called on to help as questions emerge during the rehearsal process.

 

Production Manager - Production Managers will oversee the scheduling, budgeting, and project management for their team. Under the guidance of professor Brad Krumholz, students will be responsible for creating a production schedule, organizing and leading production meetings, and overseeing all elements of the production process, including the collaborative design of the production website. Organizational skill and the ability to communicate clearly, especially over email, text, and Zoom will be essential to ensure that everything happens in a smooth, orderly, and timely manner.

 

Stage Manager - Under guidance of their mentor, stage managers will work with directors and actors throughout the entirety of the production. Stage managers begin the semester by helping to run auditions, and then will have weekly meetings to go in depth into skills such as developing rehearsal schedules, creating daily calls and rehearsal reports, tracking blocking and props, etc. Once rehearsals begin, the stage managers will be able to put their newfound knowledge to practice! Stage managers will also learn to collaborate with the entire production team, and will learn how to call a show.

 

Technical Director - Under the guidance of professor David Bean, Technical Directors will work with the design team, production management, the director and stage management to help facilitate any research, planning or realizations for the play. Students will help supervise the technical rehearsals. Whenever possible, students will also help determine and supervise the technical needs for the stage productions.


 

Do I need to have experience to do CoLab?

 

You do not need to have experience, but since there are limited roles, the level of your experience will factor into what role you will be assigned, if any.  


 

Is CoLab in person or virtual?

 

While it is the goal for rehearsals, meetings, and performances to be in person, there is a good chance that some production related activity, including meetings and some rehearsals, will happen over Zoom. We will do all we can to make sure that students have the opportunity to engage in hands-on work in the theatre spaces, scene shop, costume shop, and even in the design lab. This is all TBD, as many health and safety factors are involved.


 

Other Questions?  Contact Head of Production Brad Krumholz for CoLab questions (bkrumhol@hunter.cuny.edu) or Undergraduate Advisor Louisa Thompson for questions regarding credit, your plans for the semester, or how CoLab fits into your path to graduation (lthomp@hunter.cuny.edu).