Pre-show calls to backstage
Example for a 7.30pm show:-
|6.55pm||Half hour call.|
|7.00pm|| Clear stage|
Give FOH Clearance to open house (If venue uses a half hour entrance period)
|7.10pm||15 minute call.|
|7.15pm|| Crew Call - check that all crew are in position and all equiptment is ready|
Give FOH Clearance to open house (If venue uses a 15 minute entrance)
|7.20pm||Five minutes call.|
|7.25pm|| Act 1 Beginners call.|
Warn first cues.
Check all actors present in correct places.
Cue beginners bell (if applicable)
|7.30pm||Await FOH Clearance|
|On Clearance|| Stand By opening cue sequence|
Cue pre-show announcement
|When Ready||Start Show!!!|
Similar procedure for the interval, depending on duration (use Five minute call, Act 2 beginners, and await clearance).
Adjust times accordingly for other start times. The backstage calls are always given relative to beginners, NOT to curtain up. In most countries, beginers is 5 minutes pre-show, however the US and a couple of other countries use a 2 minute beginners.
Some companies will require that you give a call to actors from in the dressing room when they are required on stage. If so mark these calls in the prompt script and allow plenty of time, 2 minutes is probably about right. Most companies take the view that this is the actors responsibility though.
Calling a show is largely dependant on the SM, however the information below is the defacto standard. You will find that most SM's will not use the word "Cue" when calling, as it is good practice to cut down on unnecessary sylables.
ie: "Warn LX 15"
Warnings should only be given when there is a large set up time (ie some deck cues) or when there is no time to stand the cue by. Warnings are often given a page or so in advance. A response should be given in the form of "LX Warned"
ie "Standby LX 15"
Give standby about 15 to 30 seconds before their Go. Multiple standbys are given as "Standby LX 15 through 18". To standby more than one department, "Standby LX 12, Sound 4 and Flys 3". Standby's should always be acknowledged with a "Standing by" (or "LX Standing By") and should not be given too early - as that will defeat their purpose.
ie "LX 15 ... Go!"
Always say "Go" as the last word to avoid confusion. Give yourself enough time to say the words to get the "Go" at exactly the right moment. (It takes practice!). NEVER false start the Go (ie halt yourself before completion of the word). Operators will anticipate the "Go" and this can result in misfires. The ideal time between the first part and the go is about 1 second. No-one on cans should ever say the word "go" other than the DSM at the appropriate moment. If anyone wishes to use the word in conversation (e.g. "I've been on standby for some time and haven't heard a go yet") you must spell it ("G-O") instead.
Abbreviations for the prompt script
- LX – Electrics/Lighting
- SD – Sound
- FX – Effects (occasionally used for sound, however it is frowned upon as it sounds too much like ‘LX’)
- Q – Cue
- S/B - Stand By
Write cues clearly in the prompt script, in pencil. Mark clearly on which word or action the cue should occur. Expect cues to change during the rehearsal period. Your master script should always be clear enough for someone else to take over if you’re ill or absent.