What Will Be the Work of the STAGE/IME Fellows?

Our Philosophy
What Does the STAGE Lab Offer You?
What Will Be the Work of the STAGE/IME Fellows?
Why We Say Our Work Process is Different and Challenging
What Are We Looking For?
Apply for a STAGE/IME Fellowship

Under the leadership of experienced professionals and faculty members, and utilizing STAGE’s work process, fellows generate original scripts and performances of full-length multimedia theatrical works with thematic links to science. Each participant assumes multiple responsibilities on Lab projects. These responsibilities are tailored to the skills of the fellows who are selected, and while not everybody is able to do everything, each fellow works on as many aspects of the theatre-making as possible. In addition, a high degree of initiative is expected in addressing the needs of a project. To this end, the University of Chicago provides a rich platform for learning and a wealth of resources, and fellows are encouraged to combine skill sets, as well as to teach and learn from each other.

On a daily basis, story creation sessions are typically alternated with prototype creation sessions. The story creation sessions involve everyone writing on their feet, through improvisation. A significant amount of time is spent improvising; writing through improvisational acting is key at every step along the way. As actors improvise, technical people simultaneously improvise sets, lighting, sound, projection, costumes, etc. If the morning is spent with everyone improvising, the afternoon might be used for everyone to flesh out the prototype(s) of the theatrical design elements that were discovered in that morning’s improvisations.

In this way, the script and the technical elements inform each other and grow together throughout the iterative process. Dramaturgy and structure come into play in shaping the script that eventually emerges, and prototypes grow into fully-realized production elements. While of course some things have to be “set” in performance, the desire is to always keep the piece alive in as many ways as possible.

A project typically takes between 1½-2 years to develop. Projects are worked on in rotation, meaning that fellows will work on two or more different projects over the course of two years. We let one project gestate while we work on another project. This allows for the ideas to percolate and mature, as well as for the projects to inform each other. For example, Project A might be worked on from January through March, while Project B might be worked on from March through June. Project A might then be resumed July through September, meaning Project B would be resumed in September through December, and so on.

After two or three such rotations, each project will present "open rehearsals" before an invited audience. The feedback obtained from these presentations is then used to refine the project. After one or possibly two additional rotations, projects are typically taken on tour or moved to a venue in downtown Chicago for a full-fledged production.

The above information is meant only to give a general idea about scheduling. Ultimately, scheduling may vary widely. We outline a schedule at the start of each project and adapt our schedule to the needs of that project as they arise throughout the development process.

Fellows will also have opportunities to participate in STAGE Lab projects that are already underway. In particular, fellows working on projection design may assist on a science-themed Web Series utilizing a development process similar to that of the Lab's theatre projects.