Introduction / History
Works Selected
Writers & Composers
The Annual Competition
_________"Stories 1.0"__________

Stories 1.0 Directoral Notes

Stories 1.0 is a full-length musical, the armature of which is a solid—even conservative—theatrical architecture and dramatic structure provided by judiciously-crafted building blocks placed in carefully designed sequence. The framework is finished with spare intersticial material and slight theatrical diversions, the importance of which should not be underestimated.

The keys to directing and staging Stories 1.0 lie in the acceptance that individual segments are products of inspirations which allowed full exploration in this format, and that the entire show exists as a complete theatrical experience and would suffer if substantially rearranged or reconstituted.

Much overall coherence and continuity is provided by extrinsic production considerations which, being obvious, may be initially overlooked or discounted. (The same voices and performers appear throughout, the musicians and orchestrations are consistent, general lighting and stage design continues, and so forth.)

Stories 1.0 provides an elemental look at how musical theater in many disparate forms works. This insight supports unusual opportunities for staging the show. One possibility, for instance, is in furthering the “plays within a play” design through exposing many of the backstage mechanics of the theatrical experience. (For instance, it’s conceivable that dressing areas might be in plain view of the audience, and even the printed program could have the look of a “mock-up”—complete with scrawled notes in the margins from the editor to the typographer and paste-up artist—etc.)

The critical caveat in any directoral approach, however—including this one—is the absolute necessity of avoiding cuteness! The segments in Stories 1.0 are less than 2% of the works considered by The Ten-Minute Musicals Project, and that statistic may underscore the quality throughout. It is the stories themselves that are of paramount interest to audiences, not trappings and trite conceits placed upon them. Directoral “embellishments” must be immediately discarded if attention is distracted from the books, lyrics, scores and performances.

Concerning direction and staging of the segments themselves: conservative treatment which trusts the material yields the best results. Each segment must be approached individually, with primary direction and staging conceptions deriving from the librettos. Musical and dramatic styles vary so widely that an attempt to create stylistically consistent direction and staging in all segments is not only inappropriate but critically counter-productive to the whole.

However, segment transitions are not addendums to the show, but integral to it, requiring attention from the very beginning of rehearsals. Continuous action is imperative, and it is essential to stage each transition as seamlessly and elegantly as possible—often mimicking cinematic dissolves. (The objective is to engage the audience throughout, however—not simply to speed from segment to segment.) Further, it is important to occasionally preclude or pre-empt applause breaks—to not allow them to occur as a matter of predictable course after each and every segment.

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