February 28, 2014

Thinking about space and "Encanta"

I've been giving a lot of thought to space recently.

Aside from the cost of getting rehearsal and performance space for Encanta, I've also been thinking about what kind of vibe I want the space to have, the kind of atmosphere I'd like to evoke.

The closest parallel I can think of is Congo Square, a place I only know about through via description and some photographs. This New Orleans website describes it this way:
Within the park confines is historic Congo Square. Formerly known as Place de Negres, it took its name from the tradition of slaves who gathered there on Sundays, their day off, to sing, beat drums, sell home-made goods, and celebrate.
This is exactly the kind of atmosphere I'm going for. It's crowded and noisy and colorful and the smells of all these different types of food. It's a complete sensory overload with music, food, dancing, conversation, and beautiful Black and Brown people everywhere.

When I think about the kind of space Encanta should occupy, I don't see it in a proper black box theater. I don't even see it indoors. I see it smack dab in the middle of where everything happens.

I don't see the audience sitting still and being quiet in perfectly aligned seats. I see them eating. I see them getting up and moving around, browsing the wares, tasting the food, listening to the music, talking to each other.

And here's the weird part: I don't even necessarily see Encanta happening in one sitting. I can easily split the play up across a three-day event: Act One taking place during the day, Act Two taking place at dusk and/or night, and Act Three happening once again during the day.

The question, of course, is how to make this happen without breaking the bank.


  1. The only ideas I have about this are going in directions that wouldn't produce any income, and might require completely re-writing the play, but maybe you can find some use for them anyway.

    What if the play were written, produced, and promoted in such a way that it could be performed in one or more public places, without renting any space or equipment?

    That brings up a question: What *are* the expenses involved, anyway? I'll go do some research on that.

    Anyway, what if the play could be written, produced, promoted, rehearsed, and performed in public spaces, in ways that don't require all the usual expenses?

    If Encanta could be what you want it to be, but without producing any income, could you produce it anyway, and would you still want to?

    1. I don't make enough money for not generating income to be an issue, so yes, I would be interested.

  2. I don't have any specific ideas yet about how Encanta, or something that could serve the same purposes, could be produced and performed without the usual expenses, if income is not an issue. I was hoping you would. :)

    I'll be pondering that. First I need to learn what the usual expenses are.

  3. The biggest expenses would be: rehearsal space, performance space, hiring cast and crew, set and lighting design (and building), props and costumes, advertising, and miscellaneous expenses.

    I have produced staged readings and workshop productions. It's not a lack of knowledge that is the issue. The issue is a lack of access to resources I need to put on my plays. Namely, rehearsal and performance space.

  4. This is aside from finding a way to produce the play without all the usual expenses. It's about where to get whatever money you do need for the production.

    I'm aware of the hazards of funding from institutions, but what research have you already done on grants you might apply for? I'm thinking of looking into that.

    1. Very few grants go to individual playwrights and producers. And those are extremely competitive.

      I appreciate what you're trying to do, but that's not the kind of help I need.

  5. What legal, production and other issues are involved in rehearsing and performing in open public spaces like parks, for example?

    1. You may need a license to do something like that. It all depends on where you want to do it.

      It's possible, but feasibility is another matter, especially when you consider practicalities like enough light to see/read by
      (especially during the evening, which is when most people can see a play and most actors can rehearse), seating, weather that is not too cold or too hot or too wet, and so on.

      Churches, schools, and so on are other options, but I would have to build a relationship with such a place before I could ask them to give me free rehearsal and/or performance space. And even they have to be in the right location that is accessible to the people who will be performing in the play and/or attending it.

      I've looked and thought about all this long before I wrote the original post. The people who can help me most are people who can help me build relationships with the folks who make the decisions about these matters.

    2. Sorry, I got sidetracked on the part about not breaking the bank.