In practice, the app is remarkably easy to use. First off, one creates icons for each performer in a show, using different shapes and colors to signify individual players. The actor icons are stored in a section of the screen called "The Green Room." A simple sketch of the stage's shape is then made, including features such as curtains, the position of scenery and common pathways across the stage. Once those two basic steps are complete, charts can be created tracking the position of performers on the stage at any given moment in the play.
Stage Write is sold through the iTunes app store for $199.
Having employed Whiting on Young Frankestein, Stroman was one of the first choreographers to have access to the new device. "He showed me charts he made with apps," she recalled, "I thought what a good idea that is." Stroman added that she never expected Stage Write to become as much of a game-changer "as it has turned out to be."
By the time Young Frankenstein was on national tour, Stroman was already using Stage Write. "With each show, he's been able to upgrade it," she said. "Right now, we're using it in workshop of Bullets. Now, when I mount it for real, I can remember more easily what I did in the workshop. It will be right there in front of me."
Stoman sees advantages stretching on into the distant future. "Hopefully, if you have a hit," she continued, "some day in high schools and community theatre they'll be able to recreate what you did."
The success of Stage Write has made Whiting think there might be other corners of the theatre world that could use a touch of technology to speed things along. "I've been approached by a lot of people," he said. "One idea that's been tossed around is a casting app."
It's a strange turn of career for the man who, at age ten, was cast as Dopey in a production of Snow White, and has been involved in the theatre ever since.
"I never thought I would be in the software business," he said.
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