I have this Taiwan project weighing so heavily on my mind that it’s impossible for me to sit still. In the middle of my recent Hawaiian vacation, I was actually relieved in a way to see that due to a little bit of an emergency, The Rocker needed me to schedule the whole festival for him in a 24 hour period. This justified my logging in and getting things done. I started by drafting an initial proposal for artists in the Taiwan festival to provide all or some of the following services in the course of one festival day:
Stage Show: The artists will have the main stage at their disposal for one hour, which includes set-up, performance, and take-down time. Actual performance time is meant to last about 45 minutes. The artists will have the outdoor sound system at their disposal as well as the lighting system if the performance is to take place at night. Technical needs and technical rehearsal schedule remains to be determined.
Animation: Artists will have use of a portable stage if needed. Otherwise, animation takes place in the general space of the square. The animations are meant to attract new audience members to the festival space. A single block of animation is meant to last one hour with about 45 minutes of actual performing time.
Workshop: Workshops are meant to give the general public a chance to interact with the artists face-to-face. They are meant to be interactive exchanges and demonstrations of the artists work. A single workshop block is meant to last 45 minutes.
At most, an artist will be asked to provide one Stage Show, one Workshop, and one Animation in the course of a single day of the festival. Technical needs and equipment for workshops and animations are the responsibility of the artist with the exception of rigging needs, which must be discussed with festival organizers on a case-by-case basis.
Master class: Some artists will provide a Master Classes to local students and professionals in the performing arts which will be considered a Workshop for scheduling purposes. Any change in the artist’s fee between a Workshop and a Master Class is to be determined on a case-by-case basis. For example, if the Master Class is meant to last longer than 45 minutes the artist should be duly compensated.
New Creation: Artists performing in the New Creation will receive those fees in addition to any fees for other festival activities.
Special Animation: Another artist and I are MC’s for the nightly Cabaret, and our fees for this performance will also be independent from any other fees.
Nightly Cabaret: 4-8 numbers per night (some possibly from the new creation) may be featured in a cabaret made up of 5-7 minute long numbers adapted to a circus cabaret format with these fees in addition to any other fees received.
The next step was to start fitting all of the artists into a rough draft of a schedule for the outdoor entertainment. Without knowing the exact show lengths and final duties of each artist as well as final confirmation on their availability I relied on The Rocker’s DVD of the acts he has booked/is thinking of booking to help me with the scheduling. I’m also using materials from Cirque Theatrical who wrote back saying that they would love to be a part of the festival and are willing to work through us as the sole booking entity. The show they want to do is definitely family friendly, and won the silver medal at the big annual circus festival in Paris last year. These materials will also allow me to cut a trailer for my contacts in Japan.
So the final product was two schedule options for the Taiwan team:
Case 1 (Dream Case): Our budget is huge and we are able to have 10 groups there every day of the festival (groups may come or go, but there are at least 10 on site every day). In addition to the main entertainment under the big top, the cabaret, and the new creation, at least 4 of the 10 groups have shows that can be performed on the main stage outside. 6 of the 10 groups have smaller shows that can be performed on small stages or among the public, and all of the groups have something they can present in a workshop format. In addition, some of the performers from the tent shows or the new creation or the cabaret are able to present some workshops (2-4 extra workshop slots availble per day).
Case 2 (Realistic Case): We have 5 groups every night of the festival with an extra group for the first friday (opening ceremony night). 2-4 of them have main-stage shows, and all 5 are able to do animation/street shows. All of them can do workshop-style shows.
In both cases, I have assumed that weekdays are going to be dead until the late afternoon for tech rehearsals, troubleshooting, etc. We will need a lot of time for that, I am sure! The schedule is designed to give a sense of flow and build towards each night’s main entertainment under the big top which is always preceded by a cabaret “opening act.” During the main show, the square will not be dead, however, a shorter, smaller-scale performance will happen outside simultaneously. After the big top show, I have planned to have a “farewell, goodnight performance” on an outdoor stage with accompanying animation going on so that the public feels like the entertainment continues long after they are gone. The workshops take place throughout the day on the sidelines inviting members of the public to interact with the artists, have their picture taken with them, to try out the techniques, etc. I’ve assumed that most artists will offer a lower level of commitment than what we have already requested. If they commit fully, great, we have a surplus of entertainment. If not, we’ll adjust the schedule for the performance hours that they can commit per day (we asked for three, which is more than reasonable from my perspective as an acrobat myself).