We know the past 18 months have been hard on everyone, and the time-off gave us time to reflect on how we do this and, more specifically, how we can make things better for the members of our group. With auditions nearly here, we wanted to take this opportunity to share with you our intentions for our upcoming rehearsal season. This way, you can make the most informed decision for how much you want to participate with us.
The Vision (not the Marvel character):
Our overall vision for this season is reducing the overall time commitment for members and encouraging members to invest their energy in activities in which they are most interested. To facilitate this, we have 3 big changes:
First: In the past we have had full-day "Rehearsal Saturdays", where we asked everyone to stay the full day. This year, Saturdays are divided with two separate events - Performance Rehearsal in the morning, and AOA Fun Times (name pending) in the afternoon. So, members are not expected to stay the entire day unless they want to.
Second: The afternoons will rotate guild-related seminars and workshops throughout the month. (For more information about our guilds, click here) The following is an example of what that might look like:
1st Saturday of the month: Music/Dance
2nd Saturday of the month: Seminars
3rd Saturday of the month: Sewing/Armor Workshop
4th Saturday of the month: TBD
This way, members will only need to attend the days with their preferred activities. Also, guilds that are used to preparing stuff every week will only have to prepare for something once or twice a month AND will have a larger chunk of time allotted to them.
Third: Attendance requirements for our cast will be based on importance to the show. Members cast as primary or fighting roles will be asked to attend Performance Rehearsals at from the beginning of the season, while secondary roles will consistently meet starting in January, and tertiary roles will start attending in March. So, depending on the role, members will not have to attend rehearsals the entire time.
Our Show Goals:
Back in July, we asked those who attended our Annual Populace Meeting whether or not we should do a Human Chessboard as our major performance submission for the Medieval Fair of Norman this year. More people voiced positive opinions about doing a chessboard than negative, so we have been working hard to make that happen.
This year, we selected a script that requires AT LEAST 20 people, divided into 16 named characters and 4 stage hands. The 16 characters occupy the back rows of pieces, and we can use dummies for the pawn pieces. This can be EASILY adapted if more than 20 people show an interest in performing with us this year. So, here's a breakdown of what to possibly expect:
Best Case: 32 people or more show an interest in performing.
If we get 32+ people, we will not have to build/use dummies for the pawn pieces. The 16 cast members will be asked to attend all/most of the season, while the 16 pawn pieces will only need to start attending around February or March. In addition, pawn pieces will be able to choose their own characters from Arthurian legends and wear any appropriate garb they want.
By-The-Numbers Case: 20 people show an interest in performing.
If 20 people show an interest in performing, we will cast as the script is currently written. Depending on how many more members show and interest, we may be able to fill out some of the pawn pieces, and use fewer dummies. The 16 cast members will be asked to attend all/most of the season, while the stage hands will only need to start attending once we are ready to practice with the dummies.
Backup Case: Less than 20 people show an interest in performing.
If less than 20 people show an interest in performing, we will not submit or rehearse a chessboard for the Medieval Fair. Instead, we will do a backup scripted fight show using characters from the current script, so we do not have to recast anyone.
We understand that COVID-19 still poses a risk to our community, and most of what we do is best done in-person. So, we will be following CDC Guidelines for indoor events to the best of our ability. We will require all attendees to wear a mask while indoors and encourage physical distancing when we can. In addition, we will keep updated to trends and developments in Oklahoma, and will cancel events should we determine the risk too great.
The AOA understands that it can be a demanding hobby, and our leadership is actively trying to make it less stressful and more fun. Not everything was covered in this post; however, we hope it helped anyone make a more informed decision, especially if they were hesitant due to the time commitment.
If you look at our website, we added an Events Calendar, where we will update events as they become more finalized. This will let you know ahead of time what events we are doing on which Saturday.
This new season is going to be great! We're excited about our changes, and we hope you all are, too!
With Faith, Hope, and Love,