Smartphones have found their way into theater management to improve live performances
There’s nothing like the excitement of putting on a live performance. There’s so much that can go right — turning the audience into a standing ovation of fans — but there is also so much that can go wrong. While a lot of credit goes to the actors running around the stage, there’s a lot happening behind the scenes that is necessary for a successful performance.
Without the stage manager, lighting designer, sound tech, and props assistant, the actors would be performing to a dark and silent house. Fortunately, smartphones have made theater management significantly easier. Here are four ways theaters are thriving with the help of smartphone technology.
Multimedia Content Is Easier to Create
Today’s shows aren’t just limited to what they can do on stage; more companies than ever are testing the power of multimedia content within their performance. They might film a flashback and present it on a screen or use a projector to display an image or enhance the background. Even “The Wizard of Oz” has started to utilize multimedia content by digitally broadcasting the flying monkeys in the background.
Fortunately, community theaters can get in on the multimedia trend even if they don’t have expensive video equipment. Thanks to the Galaxy S7’s powerful camera, they can take photos or film footage that looks as real as that from a professional television studio. This way, the audience isn’t lost during the jump from on-stage action to on-screen action.
Stage Managers Can Take Notes Outside of the Booth
Throughout rehearsal — and even during the performance — stage managers are typically running around making notes of what needs to occur to make a flawless performance. Where do props need to be placed? Where do lights need to be adjusted? There’s no way they can remember all of these notes, but they don’t have time to run up to the booth or carry their laptops around.
This is where smartphones come in. They can quickly take a photo of what needs to be changed or make a note for their to-do list. By utilizing tools like Google Docs, all of the information is collected into one location so they can send it out at the end of the night.
Smartphones Make Rehearsal Management Easier
Most directors try to schedule rehearsals strategically so the entire cast doesn’t have to give up their whole week just to sit around and say two lines. They will map out which scenes just include the leads and which scenes include the entire cast, and then decide what should be rehearsed and when. This is a lot of mental organizing and can be frustrating to keep up with.
More directors have adopted smartphones as a way to juggle their rehearsal schedules. They can make spreadsheets about what needs to be rehearsed and when, and then send out calendar notifications to the cast. This helps to make sure that everyone has adequate time to rehearse, and that no one’s time is wasted.
Actors Learn Lines Faster Through Apps
One of the biggest challenges actors face is learning their lines. With a paper script, it’s almost impossible to read cues for your lines without seeing what your line is, which is why so many actors struggle to go off the book. However, there are multiple apps that help actors memorize their lines, including Rehearsal 2. This app allows actors to record scenes. When they do a playback, the gaps will be where their lines are so they can learn their cues while improving their memorization.
Plus, digital rehearsal allows actors to rehearse in the car or at the gym without having to keep a script in front of their faces.
Most people turn to the theater because they love the communities they work with and enjoy coming together with their friends to create amazing projects. Running through a play can be one of the highlights of their week or year. However, the stress of a production takes its toll. By eliminating these sources of stress with the use smartphones, managers, directors, and cast members can focus on the fun and community of the performing arts.
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