The main goal the creative team tried to achieve in the Off-Broadway production of GAME SHOW, as well as subsequent productions, was to recreate the feeling of an actual TV studio. From the chaotic hustle and bustle of the crew when the house opens, all the way to the end of the show. It is high energy, fast pace and a party atmosphere.
The behind the scenes portions need to be played realistically, but heightened - leaning slightly towards the soap opera world. The actors need to remember that they are only on a two or three minute break from a live broadcast (even though it tends to be longer in real time), so the energy needs to stay up. Also, keeping the two different worlds alive at the same time is recommended; this means that while there is a scene going on in the office (S.R. for example), the crew should continue to do their work, setting the podiums for the next round of the game etc., but in dim light and in a way that does not pull focus.
The game portions with the audience tend to play nicely, as people enjoy the improvised feeling from the host, as well as the competition of the game itself. Keeping the audience from yelling out answers is something that will need to be monitored each round, and dealing with the occasional cheater will most likely occur. As for the trivia, we encourage you write some of your own, to update as well as to incorporate local or regional trivia. In Rounds 1, 2 and 3 - including a question or two that sounds slightly risqué can be fun. The Speed Round should just be random, short trivia questions that cover a wide range of topics. The writing of the Grand Prize Puzzlers is a little trickier, and it might take some time to come up with ones that work. Finding the right overall subject, and then making the clues specific but placing them in an order that doesn’t allow them to know the answer until the next to last or last clue is given. We also think that if the majority of the questions are Pop Culture references, it keeps it a fun atmosphere, as opposed to getting into the Jeopardy level of difficulty. Also, changing or updating the names of various game shows or game show hosts is okay – especially if the hosts are no longer living. Poking fun at celebrities who are often the butt of industry jokes is a cheap and easy way to go.
Many tech elements are briefly addressed above, but an area that is very important and will require some planning and organization, is all the game stuff during the show – getting the contestants up on the stage quickly, quietly and safely. Explaining how the buzzers and writing works, and having them exit quickly and safely too. Erasing and re-setting the dry erase boards (if that’s what you use), making sure the markers all work, telling them to write BIG – all of these things need to run like clockwork. Johnny, Steve and Ellen are the likely ones to handle much of this. But Joe and Gerry can also take care of some of the props in between rounds. It just requires some expert stage managerial skills.
Good luck and have fun!
Jeffrey Finn & Bob Walton