The first week of rehearsal for Searching For Eden: The Diaries Of Adam And Eve is complete and it has been an excellent week of rehearsal. We've got the entire show blocked and are actually moving forward into scene work. Blocking (or staging) the play is the frist step with the actors but much pre-planning has already gone into the effort.
A director has already made many decisions before rehearsals start. Most of these start in production meetings where the design concept takes shape. Once a ground plan is decided upon that fits all the requirements of the play, the focus moves onto blocking or staging the scenes. I use my Tablet PC with a scanned in ground plan of the set and one of my favorite tools, InkyBoard, by Charlie Cassidy. Inkyboard is a simple white board application that allows you to take notes, or in this case overlay any image and annotate what is already there. You can adjust the transparency or opacity of InkyBoard to aid in this work.
Inkyboard at full opaque
Same shot as above but fully transparent.
Same shot but with the transparency level I use to work.
I use InkyBoard to create multiple sketches of what I'm thinking for the staging. It's a quick and easy way to think out loud as it were, and a simple clear the page allows me to start from scratch.
I can also save these images, including what I'm using as the background, into OneNote as a handy reference.
The beauty of this is both a time savings for myself and the set designer. While some shows require models for a director to have a sense of the space, some, like Adam and Eve, really only require a groundplan and a rendering or two. Rather than creating a number of hard copies of the ground plan, I can take a scan from the set designer and work from there. I can also carry these into rehearsal as a reference when needed in rehearsal.