The Survival Guide 2012

The Survival Guide for
The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company’s
Production of Patience or, Bunthorne’s Bride
January to April 2012

A Word of Welcome!

Welcome to the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company and to our production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience.  We are very excited to have you with us!

We have prepared this Survival Guide to help orient you to the Company and to our sometimes unique policies, practices, and procedures, as we begin our work on this production.  While we try to be as complete as possible, there is much that this Guide does not cover.  Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions that you might have of the Production Staff, the members of the Board, or any other member of the Company.  We will do all that we can to answer your questions, address your concerns, and to make you feel very much “at home” in the Company.

A Word About Our Company

The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company (or the GSVLOC) was organized in 1979 as a community-based, volunteer-run theatre company.  In its thirty-plus year history, the Company has presented fully staged productions of all thirteen of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, as well as shows by other authors and composers.  This is the fourth time that the Company has produced Patience … the first time that our Company has produced a show four times!

In addition, for several years, our Company has appeared with the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra at the Lake Harriet Bandshell in the summer to present a concert version of one of the better known Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. The concerts will be on Saturday, July 14th and Sunday, July 15th.  We hope that you will be able to join us this summer for this event.

The hallmark of our Company has always been to have as much fun as possible while producing as fine a show as possible.  The Company has always been run by volunteers in a very “hands-on” manner.  We rely on the members of each year’s cast to share in all aspects of the production.  We also welcome people who aren’t in the show to help out behind the scenes.  We will be inviting all cast and crew members to assist in set construction, props gathering, load-in and, particularly, with the load-out of the set at the theatre, plus set-up and clean-up of the dressing rooms during the run.  We strive to make these activities equally fun and productive.  If your schedule is not flexible enough, we do understand and will not, by any means, insist that you participate, but we do have a degree of expectation that everyone in the cast will work behind the scenes to put the show together and to help it run smoothly.

Our Philosophy

While our Company has a rich tradition of presenting delightful shows of the highest quality, we choose to remain an amateur company … and by that, we mean “amateur” in the best sense of the word … a company of people who do what we do for the love of it. 

This choice has fostered a unique culture in our Company, one that you are not likely to find elsewhere.  It is a culture exemplified by camaraderie, warmth, and a spirited loyalty to the organization.  A few of the cast members for this show are founding members of the company.  Other “newer” members of the company joined as long ago as the early 1980s and as recently as those who were in last year’s production.  All are welcome and it is our sincere hope that many of you joining with us for the first time this year will come back and join us again in future productions.

Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience

Patience was Gilbert and Sullivan’s sixth operetta, opening on April 23, 1881.  It ran for a very successful 578 performances, the second longest run of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, eclipsed only by the run of The Mikado.  Due to its very topical subject matter, however, the operetta was not revived until 1900, making it the last of the revivals staged while Gilbert and Sullivan were still alive.  While Gilbert admitted some doubts as to whether the æsthetic subject would still be appreciated years after the fad had died out, he wrote to Sullivan after the premiere of this revival, which the composer was too ill to attend, “The old opera woke up splendidly.”  As it turned out, Patience’s satire about a particular fad still was and remains to this day a wonderful satire about the followers of any and all fads.

Patience satirizes the “aesthetic craze” of the 1870’s and ’80s, when the output of poets, composers, painters and designers of all kinds was indeed prolific, but, some argued, empty and self-indulgent.  This artistic movement was so popular, and also so easy to ridicule as a meaningless fad, that it made Patience a big hit. 

As Patience opens, all the well-born young ladies in the village, rapturously caught up in aestheticism, are in love with two contrasting aesthetic poets, Bunthorne and Grosvenor.  The poets, however, are both in love with Patience, the simple village milkmaid, who cares nothing for poetry.  Patience learns that true love must be completely unselfish … it must wither and sting and burn!  The girls’ military suitors don’t see the point to aesthetics, but they decide to give it a try to win the women’s hearts.  It is touch and go for awhile, but everyone ends up with a suitable partner, even if it is only a tulip or lily.

 Our Production Staff

The staff for this production of Patience includes:

Stage Director Bob Neu
Music Director Marina Liadova
Stage Manager Laura Bidgood
Set Designer Larry Rostad
Costume Designer Paula Lee
Lighting Designer Andy Kedl
Audio/Visual Technician  
Bob Johanneck 
Orchestra Manager Ann Marie McIntire


As Stage Director, Bob is responsible for the overall concept of the show, and for bringing that concept to life through the sets, costumes and cast! 

Our Music Director, Marina Liadova will lead the music rehearsals for both principals and chorus, and will conduct the orchestra in rehearsal and performance. 

The directors and all staff will work together to ensure that what begins on the page ends up on the stage in a wonderfully creative way!

Our Company Board 

Our Company is an organization run by its members, and you are very welcome to become a member!  Once a year, at an Annual Meeting, the Company elects a volunteer Board from among its membership, to facilitate the production of the next show.  The members of the Company Board for this production of Patience are:

Producer Stephen Hage
Secretary Shawn Holt
Treasurer Richard Rames
Labour Pool Coordinator Eric Pasternack
Publicity Waldyn Benbenek
Women’s Chorus Representative  
Mary Gregory
Men’s Chorus Representative John Orbison
Orchestra Representative Barb Hovey


The Chorus Representatives, Mary and John, will be the primary persons to assist chorus members with questions or concerns.  Mary’s phone numbers are 651-429-8459 (home) or 651-239-2250 (cell), and her email address is:  John’s phone numbers are 952-920-7870 (home) or 612-850-8853 (cell), and his email address is  The rest of the Board members will make periodic announcements about production details and Company information, and will be available to field questions about the production as we go along. 


Chorus rehearsals will begin promptly at 7:30 PM and run until 10:00 PM, on Mondays, and 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Thursdays. 

Principal rehearsals will be scheduled by the Directors, and will generally occur on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 10:00 PM and Saturdays, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. 

The Directors can decide to call the Chorus to rehearse on Tuesdays, if necessary. 

An ongoing rehearsal schedule will be prepared by the Stage and Music Directors.  Prompt and consistent attendance and attention at rehearsals is crucial.  The Directors make every effort to call people only when they are needed and to use their time well.

The general rehearsal schedule is as follows:

Full Cast Introductory Rehearsal:  Monday, January 16th, from 7:30 to 10:00 PM,

Mondays, from 7:30 to 10:00 PM, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 7:00 to 10:00 PM, and Saturdays, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, January 16th to March 3th.

The rehearsal schedule will change during the first week in the theater, from Monday, February 27th through Saturday, March 3rd.  Chorus will very likely be called for the Tuesday rehearsal. Rehearsals are also likely to begin earlier and end later.

Tech Week:  Monday, March 5th through Wednesday, March 7th.
Estimated call:  6:30 to 11:00 PM.

Preview Performance / Final Dress Rehearsal:  Thursday, March 8th,
Estimated call:  6:30 PM.

Our Rehearsal Space, Lake Harriet Methodist Church 

Our rehearsal space is at Lake Harriet Methodist Church, located at 4901 Chowen Avenue South, in south Minneapolis.  The church is three blocks east of France Avenue, one block north of 50th Street, and is easily accessible from the west off of Highway 100 and the 50th/Vernon Avenue exit, as well as from the east, heading west from Lyndale Avenue on 50th Street.

We will rehearse at Lake Harriet Methodist Church from Monday, January 16th, through Saturday, February 25th, after which we move to our theater, the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center.  We begin rehearsing there on Monday, February 27th.


Rehearsals begin promptly at 7:30 PM on Mondays, 7:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 10:00am on Saturdays.  It is our expectation that all cast members will be at the rehearsal space, as called, ready to begin on time.

Please give yourself enough time to arrive, take off your coats, socialize with others, take care of any show related business, and otherwise prepare, so that you are able to begin rehearsing with the rest of the cast on time.

If you have a scheduling conflict with a rehearsal or performance, or if you are going to be late, for any reason, you should notify Laura Bidgood, the Stage Manager, at 701-371-6627 (cell), 952-997-6278 (home), or 612-973-9128 (work) or at her email address at:


It is our hope that all cast members will be in attendance for every rehearsal.  We are, however, aware that, with an extended rehearsal period such as ours, people will have unavoidable conflicts, and may miss a rehearsal or two.

By understanding that cast members may be absent for a rehearsal or two, we are not, however, giving anyone “permission to take two nights off.”  Indeed, it is our hope that the majority of the cast will not miss any rehearsals at all.

Those who miss more than two rehearsals may expect a significant reassignment of blocking and business on stage. 

If you are going to absent for a rehearsal, you are to inform our Stage Manager, Laura Bidgood, as discussed above.

It is our sincere hope that everyone will understand the importance of being on time and at rehearsal.  Our ability to stage a production of the highest quality depends on every cast member’s reliability.  It is with a great deal of regret that we say that if a member of the cast’s tardiness or absenteeism is deemed to be excessive, the Directors, with the support of the Company Board, are authorized to dismiss that person from the cast.  Let us all see that this never occurs.

Attendance for Tech Week rehearsals and all performances are absolutely mandatory, except for only the most serious circumstances of illness or family emergency.  Without any exception, however, the Directors or Stage Manager must be notified by the cast member of a pending absence.  Failure to do so may result in dismissal from the cast.  Once again, we all hope and expect that this will never occur.

Our Website

The web site can provide you with an extraordinary amount of information about The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company and this production of Patience.

The web site may be found at:

Many of you may have used this site to find information about the Company at the time of your auditions.  In the weeks ahead, it will be updated to include performance information, including a guide as to which of our shows still have seats available and which are sold out.  It also provides a brief history of the Company, photos from previous productions, a means for people to put themselves on our mailing list, and contact information.

A portion of this site is the Company Members Area.  To log in, click “Company Members Area” in the upper right corner of the main website’s Home Page.  

The username is “CompanyMembers” and the password is “Dean” (case sensitive). 

This portion of the site includes information intended for cast members and members of the Company.  This includes the rehearsal schedule, company announcements, company rosters, maps, director’s notes, and many other items, including our Company’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. 

Vocal Scores, CDs, Cast Photos, DVDs and Souvenirs 

Vocal Scores will be available at or before the first rehearsal, and the cost is an unbelievably low $5.00!  The Company subsidizes the cost of the scores, but only once.  If you lose your score and need to purchase another, it will be at full price, $20.00 or more!  The Company will also provide you with a free CD of selected music from the show, if you’d like to have one!

Other items which you may want to plan for include the cast photo and a DVD of the production.  There is more information about this below.  Souvenirs of the show, including T-shirts and sweatshirts, posters, mugs, and other items will be available by opening night.  Sign-up sheets will circulate before then, and we’ll have the costs for those items later.

Ticket Requests for Cast Members

Cast and Company members can purchase their tickets on the Company Member section of the website, at  Doing so allows one to purchase tickets without having to pay the processing fee.

We regret that we do not give out comp tickets to cast members.

For our general audience members, tickets are available on line at our website at  Mail Orders are also available.

We encourage you to tell your “slow-to-order-tickets” friends and family members that, as ofter happens, we may sell out!  In other words, be sure to order your tickets early, and let people know that they should plan to purchase tickets well in advance. 

Sometimes cast members’ families and friends, often those with small children, come to watch the dress rehearsal on Wednesday of Tech Week, at no cost.  They are welcome to do so.

The tickets are very reasonably priced, at $18.00 for adults and $8.00 for children 12 and under. 

The Preview Performance is $8.00.

Our Performance Space, The Howard Conn Fine Arts Center

We will begin rehearsals at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center on Monday, February 27th.

The Howard Conn is a part of the Plymouth Congregational Church complex and is located at 1900 Nicollet Avenue South, in Minneapolis.

The parking lot for the church and theater is available for public use, and there should be enough room for most of us to park there.  Certain spots are reserved for church staff and local businesses.  These are clearly posted and the reservations are strictly enforced.  Your car will be towed if you park in a reserved spot.  Occasionally, another event at the church causes the parking lot to be crowded.  There is another lot available for overflow parking at Plymouth, and it is at the Franklin National Bank office on the corner of Franklin Avenue and Blaisdell Avenue, kitty-corner from the Plymouth lot.  Street parking is also available, and meters should all be past enforcement hours by the time you arrive for rehearsals and performances. 

Our Performance Schedule 

Thursday,  March 8th,  7:30 PM                              Preview Performance
Fridays,  March 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th, 7:30 PM       Evening Performances
Saturdays,  March 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st, 7:30 PM  Evening Performances
Saturdays,  March 24th, 2:00 PM                            Matinee Performances
Sunday,  March 11th, 1:00 PM                                Matinee Performance
Sundays, March 18th, 25th, April 1st,  2:00 PM       Matinee Performances

Please note the Sunday, March 11th matinee performance!  It is at 1:00 PM, not 2:00 PM, like every other matinee performance.  To add to this complicated situation, March 11th marks our return to Daylight Savings Time.  In other words … the curtain for that performance is at 1:00 PM, but it will feel like 12:00 PM!

Call is one hour before the performance, unless we are otherwise instructed by the Directors or Stage Manager.  Earlier calls often occur on Fridays, as “brush up” warm ups, or in the event that an understudy will be replacing a principal for a performance.

Tech Week Security

During our two weeks of rehearsal at the theatre, from Monday, February 27th to Thursday, March 8th, please confine yourselves to the immediate theatre area and do not roam the halls.  Security alarms are usually armed at approximately 9:30 PM, and setting one off would mean a visit from the police.  Furthermore, we must never prop open the doors to the building as that will set off the alarms as well.

Personal Security

It is best not to leave valuables anywhere backstage during performances, as there have been thefts from these rooms in the past.  There have also been occasional car break-ins in the parking lot.  Your best option is to leave valuables at home, or find a hiding place backstage.  The backstage costume / dressing rooms are usually in view of the backstage crew, but we can’t guarantee that they’ll be watched at all times.

Costume, Prop, and Make-up Requirements

Most costume and prop items will be provided by the Company during the run.  The most notable possible exception is likely to be footwear, and perhaps leggings or tights.  The Costume Coordinator will let us know what will be expected from us.  Occasional announcements will be made at rehearsals if we are searching for certain prop items, and you are encouraged to lend them for the run if you are able to do so.  The Directors will discuss the make-up needs and expectations with the cast as we draw closer to the performance dates.

Attendance Sheet

The Stage Manager will post an Attendance Sheet for dress rehearsals and performances at the theatre.  Watch for it once we get into Tech Week. 

Please make sure to check off your name when you arrive.  We don’t want our Stage Manager to have to worry unnecessarily!

Company Photo

The Daniels Studio Company photograph is scheduled to occur immediately following the first Sunday matinee on March 11th.  The cast, crew, orchestra and production staff will all be included in an on-stage portrait.  Please return to the stage as quickly as possible after greeting anyone in the audience.  Plan on being at the theatre at least another half hour or so after the show ends.  If you want a photograph, you should bring payment on that Sunday, or in advance if you prefer.  Stephen Hage will have a sign-up sheet available before opening night.  The cost will be $15.00.

DVDs of the Show

A crew from the Minneapolis Television Network (MTN) will record a DVD of our performance, most likely on an early Sunday matinee performance.  This is a four camera production and the final results have been very nice.  It will be edited for broadcast on Minneapolis cable, and the Company will make DVD copies for anyone who wants one, which will cost an estimated $15.00.  The DVDs are usually available by the autumn following the production.

Production Evaluation Survey

Once performances begin, we will announce and explain the Production Evaluation Survey, which will ask for your opinions and feedback on all aspects of the production. While this survey will be available in paper form, most people prefer to complete the surveys on line.

The Survey helps the Company to understand what went well with a production and what we need to improve.  Your participation is encouraged and appreciated.

Company Parties

Post-performance parties are a long-standing tradition with The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company.  If you can, please make plans to come out for an hour or two, or more, after the show and enjoy the company of … the Company! 

Please bring some food or drink to share, and you are welcome to bring family and friends along as well.  If you host a party, please remember to provide plenty of copies of maps to your place so we can get there.  A sign-up sheet will be posted for those interested in hosting.

Of special note is the party we have after our first Sunday matinee.  Traditionally, we have a pot luck dinner and then watch a DVD of one of the first weekend’s shows.  It’s a fun opportunity for us to see ourselves on stage doing the show!  So that’s what it looks like!

The Company Party, or “Last Gasp Cast Bash!”

Following the final performance on Sunday, April 1st, all cast and crew will be expected to assist in striking the set, sorting costumes and props.  Plan to change into work clothes immediately after the performance and bring whatever tools you can.  We’ll have more information as the date approaches.  Remember that many hands make light work.  Once the work is done, we can commence with the “Last Gasp Cast Bash!”

The “Last Gasp Cast Bash” will be held in the conference rooms of the Orion Associates building, at 9400 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley, Minnesota  55427.

The “Last Gasp Cast Bash” is a formal party.  You are encouraged to dress for the occasion.  The party is a terrific way to close out what is sure to be a wonderfully successful production.

While the Company provides some food and drink, this, like all of our parties, is a “pot luck” event.  We all make it a point, however, to bring the “good stuff” to this party!

One of the many highlights of the “Last Gasp Cast Bash” is a mini-concert of “alternate lyrics” to songs from the show.  Usually these are about the production, but they can be personal or political as well.  An accompanist will be provided, and cast members can be recruited to perform the new version of the song.  You can go to our website to see examples from other productions, under “About Us,” “Our Collection of Whimsy and Fun.”