Inside A Christmas Carol
Floor or Subway Map?
I stopped by the rehearsal room to see how the preparations for A Christmas Carol were coming. Hannah Woodward, the ASM of A Christmas Carol, gave me a little tour of the floor that she taped out (with the help of the two stage management interns and one of the directing interns). It took the four of them around five hours. Not only did they have to tape out each of the complicated set pieces for A Christmas Carol (like each individual step in the staircase!), but they had to tape each set piece in each of its show positions. For instance, the Scrooge/Fezziwig “Counting House” has two onstage positions (a downstage spot for scenes and a mid-stage spot for the Fezziwig dance) and one upstage resting place. The same goes for Scrooge’s bedroom. In other words, Hannah and her crew killed at least six rolls of tape.
At the end of the day, they ended up with what is, at first glance, a dizzyingly complicated floor pattern that looks like the outline for the Northeastern electrical grid, or perhaps like a subway map for some incredibly convoluted city. But, since each position has a specific color, when the actors are working in rehearsal they learn to pay attention only to the specific color for the scene they are in. Cool, huh? And after the show is done, they can use it as a schematic to build an engine…
By Adam Immerwahr, Associate Producer at McCarter Theatre, November 1, 2007