COMMENTARY: Insider’s view: Cast, crew dedicate hundreds of hours to performance

The Servant of Two Masters
Photo by Jacob Moore
Servant of Two Masters
Sarah Halbrook, senior English major, performs a scene with Daniel Poore, junior film studies major, in the Union University Players’ production of  ‘A Servant of Two Masters,’ which runs Nov. 14-19 in W.D. Powell Theatre. | Photo by Jacob Moore

It’s an entirely different world being on the production side of a play.

When the audience members walk into the doors and take their seats, in their eyes, the magic has only just begun.

However, what they don’t realize is the work that goes into bringing the play together.

Working with a new director, John Klonowski, in the comedy, “The Servant of Two Masters,” the 14-person cast has gone through laughter and stress as we scramble to prepare for opening night in just a short amount of time.

Klonowski is a new theatre professor at Union.

Daniel Poore, junior film studies major, plays the character of Truffaldino, a servant, in the play.

“I try to visualize the character. I’m more of an outside-in actor,” Poore said. “I focus on what he looks like, how he walks, how he moves, and end up working three to four hours on characterization.

“After that you have to memorize your lines; I would say I spent at least 15 to 20 hours. Put that on top of character development, which takes at least 15 to 20 minutes a page!”

Cast and crew members put in many hours for the sake of the production – hours that are not necessarily realized by the audience.

Design crew work around the clock to construct the set, a towering cast of a building that spans the width of the stage and reaches to the ceiling of the W.D Powell Theatre.

The set was designed by Klonowski himself, who used to work on the technical elements in the shows at Universal Studios in California.

A week before the play opens, the sound and light crew come in to design and program the sound and light cues. Actors slowly go through the two-hour play cue by cue while the crew works to adjust each light and musical montage with meticulous precision.

The lights, easy as they may sound, are actually one of the hardest parts on the technical side of theatre.

Before the cast comes in to run through the lighting cues, the crew and Klonowski must physically rearrange all of the lights mounted on the ceiling in order to bring out the best effect in the set.

The cast has put about 80 hours of on-stage rehearsal into this show, not including memorizing lines and practicing characterization with other cast members outside of rehearsal.

“Some people say that you have to love the process more than the performance, and I kind of disagree,” Poore said. “The process drives you almost – you do it because that’s who you are. You love it, but there are times that you hate it.”

As actors, we perform for our audience to make them laugh, cry, gasp and cheer. During rehearsals, it can get a bit discouraging to deliver a line well and not hear a response from the viewers.

In offering the audience the best performance we can give, and rehearsing for four hours a day until dress rehearsals, we as the actors learn from our director, the play and each other.

All in all, the actors take the most away from working together in a production such as “The Servant of Two Masters” and can only hope that we give back as much to you as we have learned in our art.

Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream
About Sarah Halbrook 7 Articles
Sarah Halbrook, a senior English major and theatre minor, is the arts and entertainment editor of the Cardinal & Cream. She enjoys copy editing and critiquing and has had experiences in editing many academic papers, theses and young adult fiction. When Sarah is not writing or editing, you can find her with the Union theatre and improv team. She hopes to not only get a position in the editing and publishing industry one day but to also get her own work published.