Written by Chloe Vieth, Production Assistant of Little Shop of Horrors
Working on Theatre Three’s Production of the Little Shop of Horrors has been an immense pleasure and a fascinating process to partake in. It’s been particularly fascinating considering how quickly we had to turn this around. You may not know this dear reader, but we went from production to performance within a few short weeks! It was an incredibly rapid turn-around. The fact that we did so in such a spectacular fashion is a testament to the dedication, talent and hard work of everyone involved in this production. From production meetings with all of the Theatre Three staff and designers to long rehearsal nights with our fabulous director Joel Ferrell, our whimsical music director Cody Dry and our talented choreographer Ani Vera-Hernandez, it all gets potted together to create what you see on stage with our knock-out cast. We really couldn’t have asked for a better combination of talent both on and off-stage to make this all possible. It’s been one of my first experiences since college and it’s really shown me that one can make a living working within theatre given all of the craft and time spent.
From my Production Assistant side of things, some of my favorite experiences while working on this have largely been the little moments of discovery and connection with my fellow theatrical artists. There’s much to unravel be it in the rehearsal or performance process, but I’ll be brief. For the rehearsal process, working on making everything as smooth and streamlined as possible has been a reward. Just seeing what everyone is working on coming together and knowing you have a hand in making it function is such a wonder. I have had to keep track of props, where they are/when they’re being used, quick costume changes and actor entrances/exits as they pertain to the needs of both. This involves making sheets that track where props initially live on or off stage for easiest access for the actors and what we call a run-sheet that lays out when something needs to happen back or onstage by myself or my crew member, Bryan. It’s an involved process that really makes me feel like I’m a part of the action when it all flows together. The cherry on top has been seeing all the joy the actors bring to the table and how they incorporate what the designers give for them to play with. This isn’t even getting into how the cast has had to navigate our space.
Another insider fun fact for you: Our rehearsal space and our performance space were wildly different from one another!! We rehearsed largely in the Norma Young Arena Stage at T3, which is much less angular and much less vertical than the performance space at Samuell-Grand. It was yet another challenge in making the show come together as well as it did! With my adept stage manager, Ashley Newman, we had to work together to best configure and make the Norma Young work for our needs that would eventually come once we occupied our performance space. Of course, things changed, but in many ways we handled many of the challenges of staging with Joel fairly well in the rehearsal space. Aside from that, most of the experiences in the performing process have revolved around the challenge of how best to handle a costume or set quick-change and working on the fly to fix tiny issues that arise. There’s also the smiling faces of the cast and crew and knowing we’re coming together to tell a story and have fun. It has felt very peaceful and made me feel at home. As much as a florist shop on Skid Row can feel like home anyway. Mushnik at least gives us a warm place to work and every other Monday and Tuesday off.
But we wouldn’t have this story or be able to live within it without you, our audience. You make our theatre thrive. For a night, you’re a part of our story. So far, unlike Audrey II, our audiences have been incredibly receptive and continue to grow. We’ve given you jokes, you’ve given us laughs. We’ve given you songs, you’ve given us claps. If you’ve already seen the show, feel free to come by again to say goodbye, we’d love to have you over. Two-ie will play nice…. maybe. And if you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? Seeing our production might not be a Faustian Bargain but it is a Bargain of a deal to come spend a night this coming last weekend of performances with us. You’re a part of what makes this magic possible. We play with you and you react and in turn it acts as an energy we feed off of. We feed each other. If you’ve enjoyed our production, this brief behind the scenes look or any theatre whatsoever, I urge you to continue to explore and nibble on what theatre has to give. Be it as an audience member or otherwise if you’d like to give it a try. It’ll offer you a lot of thrills.