Function and Distribution
As was noted previously, the director, stage manager and performers are the folks in the rehearsal room. Many others, such as producers, designers and technicians need to be kept abreast of what is happening in the rehearsal room. To accomplish this task, the rehearsal report. Rehearsal reports are distributed to the producers, and the entire creative team. In professional productions, the rehearsal report also serves as the time card for the actors, allowing them to be paid correctly.
For a performance, the stage manager, the performers, and the crew are the only people guaranteed to be there. Since directors, producers, and designers need to know about problems, issues etc. the performance report serves a similar purpose as the rehearsal report.
Traditionally these reports were generated, photocopied and hand distributed or faxed to the key personnel. Today they are more likely to be distributed via email. The email distribution has caused a change in how some reports are generated. Traditionally a form would be created and hand filled in by the stage manager at the rehearsal or performance. The next evolution was the form being created in a word processor and filled in on a lap top. The word processor version would need to be sent as an attachment in Email. Some productions feel it is better to just copy and paste the information into a body of an email instead of attaching a file. Whatever version the production team decides is best, the information on the report remains the same.
With so much information that will be eventually placed on the report, it is important that the layout is consistent from day to day. Although all production team members should read the report in its entirety, most will only look at the sections that directly pertain to their duties. With this in mind, if there are no notes or information for a particular department, that department still needs to be listed on the report, with a simple indication of “no notes.” Additionally, information that pertains to two or more departments (such as a particular prop needing to fit into a pocket of a costume) needs to appear with the notes for each department (in the example props and costumes). One other note that is important to remember: these reports are widely distributed. Some information, especially that of a sensitive nature about a cast member, should not appear on a production report. If that information needs to be shared, it should be shared via a separate email to the key people that need it, or over the phone.
As stated above, each production will develop its own report structure and lay out. Regardless, the following information needs to be on every report:
- Including the production name, date of rehearsal, name of the stage manager who prepared the report.
- Detailing what the plan was for the rehearsals.
- Notes of the actual start, end and break times. These are important for payroll.
- Cast/Crew called. This is who was expected to be at the rehearsal.
- Late/Absent cast or crew. People who are not there for the full call time are often paid less than those were.
- Accomplishments. This is a list of what items were rehearsed. This differs from the Agenda which discusses what was planned.
- Next Rehearsal: Call time/location of the next rehearsal and what is planned for that rehearsal
- NOTES: The notes are broken down by department. Depending on the organizational structure of a particular production there may be some additional departments, or some listed departments may be merged together.
- General Notes: These are notes to everyone reading the production report. Some stage managers list weather conditions, positive information (cast member birthdays) or an overall assessment of the mood of the cast.
- Accidents/Incidents: These include injuries or other unforeseen problems of a general nature. (i.e. rehearsal interrupted by a fire alarm, or the inability to unlock the door).
- Fight/Choreography/Other specialty staging
- Distribution: Many stage managers put a complete distribution list at the bottom of the report. This allows individuals to know who will read the report.
Performance reports function very similarly to rehearsal reports, except that they are more focused on what happened at each performance. The format must be consistent from performance to performance.
- Header: including the name of the show, the scheduled date and time of the performance, name and contact information for the stage manager preparing the report
- Schedule including call times for cast and crew, the start and end times of each act, the overall run time of the show (from start until the conclusion of bows)
- Cast and crew called for the performance
- Late/absent cast and crew. This is also the area to note if understudies were used for the performance
- Next Rehearsal (if one is called), location, cast and crew that are called, what will be rehearsed
- Next Performance (date/time, and if the show is a tour list the location)
- General notes: Overall assessment of the performance/audience response
- House: How many people were in the audience (The house manager will provide this information), any issues getting the audience in or out, and injuries or accidents involving the audience
- Incidents/Accidents: Any unusual incidents that apply to all production team members (starting late due to fire trucks being called for the building across the street), accidents or injuries involving the cast and crew
- Hair/Make Up
- Distribution list.
Items such as issues with the house are important for the producer to be aware of. The run time of the show often gives directors a good idea if the show is being performed as directed. Professional productions generally vary less than 2 minutes between performances. Anything that might cause a huge shift in the run time should be noted.
- Headset Chatter website on Stage Management forms (including Rehearsal and Performance Reports)