Phase 1: Research
Before, we can build a show, we need to all dig in and understand the world in which it is set, the characters that might inhabit it, and the dynamics and aesthetics of the time period where it occurs. This looks a little different for every show: some shows are historical, and require more factual resources. For purely fictional shows, we might look for analogous inspiration or aesthetic guidance. If research is going to be heavily historical, we bring in a dramaturg to help. But whatever the research looks like, this phase of our process is one week of table work guided by director and playwright, and the entire ensemble and production team participate in the research, owning tasks related to their discipline or character or even just their personal interests.
We encourage production members to continue their research after this formal period of table work ends, and use email, Slack, and Pinterest to share ideas, links, and images that might inform the final story. Feel free to follow along on our boards as we pin, or our blog as we share our progress. This phase of our creation process is all about possibilities as we explore What Might Happen and How Could We with the ensemble and production team. For the ensemble, this will also involve brainstorming sessions where we zero in on the facets of our research that we find the most compelling. For our design team, this ends with our Big Idea Meeting, where we throw out ideas unconstrained by budget to open us all up to the possibilities of the world we are building.