On being an Executive Producer

On being an Executive Producer

There’s something magical about seeing everything finally come together.

For the past 6 months I have been hard at work with the Brunei Amateur Dramatic Society (BADS) producing a stage play for Murdered to Death (staged as “Mystery at Bagshot Manor”). My official role was that of Executive Producer but being the current Treasurer of BADS meant I was also responsible for the purse strings. Limitations of time, money and manpower also meant I found myself handling some directing duties, locating a venue, sourcing for people to build the larger set pieces, acquiring the stage, experimenting with different set layouts, receiving (and sending off) deliveries, script writing/editing and eventually storing props. Who says life isn’t interesting.

We had our first (and only) full-dress rehearsal at the venue 2 days before opening night. Watching the actors in full makeup and costume traipsing around the stage replete with set pieces (those double-doors and that fireplace were the biggest headaches!) filled me with something magical that I have trouble describing. “Satisfaction” doesn’t do the sensation justice while “completeness” is far too grand. But it did feel like an elixir being poured into my heart, not all the way but just enough to taste and tease. And inside I heard a small voice saying “Nice, isn’t it? And you know you want more of this.”

I didn’t want to be part of the acting cast this time around. Although I can retrospectively justify this decision there was not any one reason that kept me from being among them. I’ve been part of the cast of productions before and I’ve never had the sense of fullness I felt the night of the full-dress rehearsal. It must have been simply a matter of perspective: On the stage I can’t see what I could sitting where the audience would be. And having been part of the production I can also see what would otherwise be invisible to the audience: how much each actor has improved, how difficult it was to secure a venue, how much we have all tried to cut cost just so we can see this through…

And so ends the newest, and arguably one of the biggest, learning experiences for me. I have a new appreciation for what goes on behind-the-scenes in a production of this scale and can only imagine what herculean efforts are required for larger shows. BADS has been resuscitated and I’ve got ideas for what I want to do next.

Onwards to 2018!