An exclusive sneak peek at what brought this outstanding performance to life!
Welcome, dear readers, to an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of FFXIV’s biggest event to date: A Stage Reborn’s I Want to be Your Canary! Director Wanderer Sabaku was kind enough to give me an in-depth walk-through, divulging all of the secret tricks the group utilized to make this reenactment such a resounding success! Don’t know what I’m talking about, or missed the show? Have no fear; you can still watch it here!
Okay, enough chit chat, let’s get to what you’re actually here for!
*cue dimmed lights and enchanting music*
The stage looked deceivingly simple enough to the audience: just a few Troupe Stages put together and surrounded by some partitions; Masonwork Stoves; Riviera Pillars. How were the characters able to effectively “die” on stage, though? How was the cast able to sit on the edge at the end? This is where the crew got sneaky!
Under the Troupe Stages, completely hidden from sight, lay beds and benches. The Double Feather Beds were placed under the stage in the precise location where a character’s death was to occur, allowing each cast member to effectively appear to fall to his or her death with a mere /doze. But this was no easy task! Placing these beds perfectly took some trial and error; even the slightest misplacement would cause some awkward clipping, or cast members to lie on top of each other (and we all know that’s not the kind of play this was!). Glade Benches, which were placed close to the front of the stage, but still hidden from view, allowed the cast to sit on the edge, basking in the applause and success of their performance!
When attending the performance, I was fortunately granted permission to watch from the comfort of the VIP section, which was housed behind a red door off to the right. Little did I know how much thought and creativity went into constructing this booth!
The skeleton of the booth consisted of a Glade Counter (making up the “floor” of the VIP area), two Riviera Benches, and a Riviera Half Partition. Since the benches were placed under the Riviera Half Partition, viewers were able to sit on top of the partition, their feet resting on the Glade Counter (unless they were Lalas, of course), as the cast could with the stage.
The Riviera Bench was chosen deliberately, because it could force the character to sit facing one specific direction, whereas the Glade Bench allowed a character to sit facing one of two directions, (shown above).
Planters were then either placed or floated around this skeleton in order to hide the benches and bottom of the Glade Counter from view, mimicking a booth feel.
The final touch included a red curtain and two pillars, which generated the elegant VIP aura! Guests simply had to walk up to the curtain behind the part of the bench they desired to sit on and /sit! This did make for an awkward moment when accidentally sitting in someone’s lap! After the performance, I simply had to walk forward to depart through the planters.
And there you have it folks! All of the pieces to the puzzle that elegantly became I Want to be Your Canary’s VIP section! If you feel that a lot of thought went into creating the booth, even more went into the placement of it! Many different positions were tested before finally settling on a final location. The original idea was to center the VIP section, but this led to view disruptions for the third and fourth rows. Moving the area off to the right side removed all interference from floating names, and provided a favorable view of the stage!
This is where the magic happened! Through the same red door that granted access to the VIP area, yet another door granted access to a hallway leading backstage. This became super helpful to the cast and crew, as it allowed them access to backstage without having to walk through the audience and disrupt the play. The most notable advantage of this setup would be for situations where a cast or crew member would disconnect. Logging back in would place them outside of the house, thus this hidden hallway would allow them to make their way back to their assigned spot without the audience’s knowledge. Though just a hallway, it was not neglected but rather received the same attention and creativity as other parts of the set, adequately following the common castle theme; the Thorne Dynasty Mantelshelf used provided the illusion of strolling through a castle’s courtyard.
Past the courtyard walkway, I was greeted by floating books and a row of boxes filled with vegetables! This, combined with a red chair that was conveniently hidden under the stage below these floating items, created what looked to the audience like a balcony.
With only a few seconds to get up there, cast members simply had to run up to the chair, /sit, then jump in order to quickly and efficiently hop up, remaining seemingly invisible to the viewers, whilst waiting for their cue to enter the stage. According to Wanderer, “the secret to a strong balcony is in your vegetables!”
Directly behind the veggie filled balcony was a couple of Oriental Partitions that adequately mocked a balcony railing. Since these partitions have sliding doors that open and shut as characters walk past them, an NPC was placed close enough that the doors remained constantly open, thus avoiding the annoying sound that could interfere with the performance! A few Royal Partitions and Masonwork Stoves were placed in front of the Oriental Partitions to create the illusion of a castle. This provided a beautiful backdrop for the audience once on-stage partitions slid open!
The additional Masonwork Stoves scattered throughout backstage ensured that none of the dark brown housing pillars would be visible, thus keeping with the stone castle atmosphere. Any remaining visible spots were carefully masked using the 2 gray curtains placed behind the Oriental Partition and Masonwork Stove group. All of this also, of course, hid any of the cast and crew members that were bustling around backstage between and during scenes. Extensive and thorough testing went into audience sight lines and say ranges. It was discovered that, should a cast or crew member be against the far back wall, he or she would be “unheard” by the viewers! However, all communication during the play was kept to Discord (for vocal cues), linkshells, and party chat.
All in all, A Stage Reborn used about 110/200 item slots for the set alone to ensure that not a detail was overlooked. We look forward to seeing the next amazing set in the near future!