CoLab Spring 2021
What is CoLab?
This semester CoLab will focus primarily on the collaborative creation of a performance of Antigone by Sophocles (translated by our own professor Gregory Mosher), which will take place over Zoom. Two groups will participate in a student led, faculty mentored process of research, exploration, discovery, and creation to bring to life this play to the best of our ability at a time when live theatre has yet to awaken from its pandemic slumber.
How was the play chosen?
A group made up of both students and faculty proposed a big list of plays that they felt would work over Zoom, offer flexibility of design options for this project, accommodate roles for a manageable number of actors, and last but not least, provide substantial material for an exploration of depth and learning for those involved in the process. They then narrowed that list down to 19 plays, divided up into reading groups, and then returned to discuss them in further details. Finally, after a lively and productive discussion, the committee voted for their favorite plays, and we came up with a ranked list. Antigone was at the top of the list, and the faculty met to select it officially as our CoLab production for spring, 2021.
Where do I get a copy of the play?
How can I get involved?
1. If you are interested in being a Production Manager, Stage Manager, or Dramaturg please write a letter of interest to email@example.com.
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 plan to take CoLab for course credit (i.e., enrolling in THEA 40159 through the registrar), Apprenticeship credit, or neither?
Deadline: 2pm on Thursday, January 28, 2021
2. If you are interested in being a Director, follow the above process; additionally, please answer the following questions, as well:
What is the favorite play you have seen in person, and what did you like about the directing?
Why do you want to direct Antigone?
(Given that it is still early for this question) What story do you want to share with your audience as director of Antigone, and how do you envision your approach?
What has prepared you to direct this Antigone?
Deadline: 2pm on Thursday January 28, 2021
Please submit your application to firstname.lastname@example.org. Late submissions will not be considered.
**Directors should be prepared to make a serious time commitment in the spring semester. Each will be leading a large team.** (Also note: Directors and faculty will choose designers from among applicants, and Directors will cast from joint auditions)
Directors should be available for follow-up interviews later in the day on January 25 and during the day on January 26.
3. If you are interested in being a Designer or Technical Director, follow the process in #1, above.
Deadline: 5pm on February 1, 2021
4. If you are interested in being an Actor, please join the Zoom Room below during designated audition hours. No sign-up necessary, just join the audition room.
Monday, February 1st, 8:40pm-10pm &
Tuesday February 2nd, 6pm-9pm
Callbacks will be held on Wednesday, February 3rd, 6pm-9pm & 8:40pm-10pm.
What is the timeline for CoLab?
January 21: Announcement of play; call for director, PM, and SM applications
January 28: Director applications due
January 29: Directors chosen
February 1 - 4: Actor and Designer auditions
February 8 – March 12: Student directors, in collaboration with designers and dramaturgs, focus on research and design, and pre-production planning under the guidance of faculty/professional mentors. During this phase, Actors will work with the CoLab acting coach in preparation workshops.
The week of March 15: First actor rehearsal; design presentations (designers present Zoom storyboards, sketches, renderings, image research, etc. to share the world they’re creating for the actors to inhabit).
March 15 - April 18: Actor rehearsals, design meetings, and production meetings (schedule TBD). Designers will also attend some actor rehearsals as part of the design process for the Zoom performance.
April 19 – 23: Tech week
April 28 – May 1: 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 a Zoom performance 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?
Yes! Once you have been accepted into CoLab, you will be given authorization to register for course credit. The course number is THEA 40159
Can I get Apprenticeship credit for CoLab?
Yes! If you do not choose to register for CoLab for course credit, you may receive Apprenticeship credit. All Designers, Production Managers, Dramaturgs, 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.
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 email@example.com.
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, Dramaturgs, 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. 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 a meeting with directing mentor, professor Adrienne Williams each week to discuss the process as you work through it.
Actor - Actors will focus during the first phase of work on “how actors prepare” with mentor and professional acting coach professor Nemuna Ceesay. After that, they will attend frequent rehearsals led by the student director to develop the performance, which will be streamed live over Zoom, while working on rehearsal techniques under professor Ceesay's guidance.
Scene Designer - Under the guidance of professor Louisa Thompson, Scene Designers will work with collaborators to support the director’s vision of a Zoom production of the play. The designer will help determine the use of space and composition as an active part of storytelling in the Zoom framework, 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 Zoom 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 Zoom production by creating buy/pull/rent lists, planning virtual design presentations for directors and actors, and planning for buying, renting, and virtually 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 play. The goal will be to support the voice of the playwright and the directorial concept. The team will research and develop a visual point of view for consideration and the exchange of ideas. Through the rehearsal process and Zoom staging sessions, the visual rhythm of the play 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 Zoom 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 Zoom production. The goal is to give students the critical, auditory and technical tools necessary to create their own soundscapes and conceptual designs.
Dramaturg - The dramaturg will work with the director and designers under the guidance of dramaturgy mentor, professor Peter Romano to pinpoint the authenticity of the given circumstances and genre of the play - including location, time, place, landscape and culture of the playwrights/directors chosen setting. The dramaturg will also create an information packet for the acting company that gives an overall understanding of the given circumstances of the play, genre, and playwright--including word/phrase origin and meaning, social morals and rituals of the time period, culture and location. The dramaturg may also be called on to help research 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 Hunter theatre alumna, Sarah Shea, stage managers will work with a director and actors throughout the entirety of the production. Stage managers begin the semester by helping to run auditions, and then will have weekly meetings with Sarah 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 through Zoom.
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 Zoom Play. Students will assist the Software Advisor and Streaming Consultant where possible. Help supervise the technical rehearsals. Whenever possible, students will also theorize the technical needs for a live stage production of the play.
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 entirely virtual?
Yes and no. All rehearsals, meetings, and performances will be online. However, there is a chance that some students will have the opportunity to visit the Hunter campus facilities to engage in some hands-on work in the theatre spaces, scene shop, costume shop, and perhaps in the design lab. This is all TBD, as many health and safety factors are involved.
What materials/resources do I need to participate?
Since we will be working over the internet, a decent computer with a decent WiFi connection will be important, for connectivity and also to run whatever software you’ll be using. However, if you do not have access to these resources, we will do our best to provide them for you. All other necessary materials will be provided for you by the department (software licenses, necessary tech, production materials, etc.).
Contact Head of Production Brad Krumholz for CoLab questions (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Undergraduate Advisor Louisa Thompson for questions regarding credit, your plans for the semester, or how CoLab fits into your path to graduation (email@example.com).