[Menvi-discuss] methods for navigating the stage
Brandon Keith Biggs
brandonboy13 at comcast.net
Sat Jan 14 22:13:56 PST 2012
I don't have a dog, so what I do is all with the Cane.
I first move around the set multiple times, feeling and touching all the
overhangs and floor with both my cane and hands till I have it all mapped
out in my mind. I then ask to walk through the stage on my scenes to find
where all the props are laid out. I feel all the stage props with my hands
and cane and memorize how far it is around everything. I run my rout several
times gradually becoming more daring. I try to get to the point so I can run
through my routs at twice speed without my cane.
I forgot to say that the first thing I do ever before I see the props is
walk the perimeter of the stage. I feel where the edge is, and find if the
edge is strait or curved. I also check for floor mics, sand bags, ropes,
curtains and the back wall and drops. Also if there is going to be a scrim
in my scene I make sure I know where that scrim falls and whatnot.
In rehearsal I make sure I know where all the other people are within 10
feet of me and I find someone who I can walk behind going off stage. That
way if I'm getting lost I can grab their upstage arm real unobtrusively.
I am also very hands on with the other people on stage, being super
energetic so I can keep track of everyone around me. If you come across as
very hands on it doesn't look odd when you walk off stage arm and arm with
I didn't have very complex blocking for my solo work on the multi tiered
stage, so I'm not sure what you'd do if you were walking solo in that
situation. Perhaps you can do the age-old counting steps! :)
If you are having the problem of other characters grabbing the back of your
costume trying to keep you from running into things I would ask for them to
walk in front of you so you can grab their arm. Because people grabbing you
is much more unsightly than you grabbing their arm.
Please don't use the cane or dog on stage, see if you can keep the audience
from noticing you're blind! It's fun when you walk back stage and people
walk up to you and exclaim that they had no idea you were blind till so and
so told them, or until they read the program.
Hope this helps and break a leg!
Brandon Keith Biggs
From: Julie McGinnity
Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2012 9:22 PM
To: This is for discussing music and braille literacy
Subject: [Menvi-discuss] methods for navigating the stage
I would like to know your ideas and possible methods you use when
navigating the stage whe participating in an opera or musical. I have
no problems navigating the stage when I am performing in recitals or
for master class, but at those times I have my guide dog with me, but
right now I am in the beginning of dress rehearsal week for opera
scenes. I think about this every year, but this year it is more
pressing since I have a small solo role. I find it much harder to
navigate the stage when blocking the opera scenes since I cannot use
my dog or a cane in the show. I do take my dog on stage before we
begin blocking to get a feel for the general layout of the stage, but
things can change, and in my opinion, things change so much when you
don't have that input from the dog or cane to help you. I do have
some vision, but I can only use it when the stage is well lit, and I
shouldn't depend on it entirely. What techniques do you guys use in
these situations? I am also working hard to make my movements look
natural on stage, and I know I don't succeed at this all the time. I
am not graceful. Hey... Being lady like is hard! :)
I am thinking that I can concentrate on working on these things for
next year and for the spring opera scenes. Thanks for all your help.
Lindbergh High School class of 2009, participating member in Opera
Theater's Artist in Training Program, and proud graduate of Guiding
Eyes for the Blind
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that
everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal
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