Here's some sketches I've made of stage ideas (all horribly
out of scale.)
This was the first sketch I made straight after seeing the episode
for the first time. The idea was to have a different section of
the stage for the Magic Box, Spike's Crypt and the Bronze, so that
there was established "locations" when they were needed
at the same time during Walk Through The Fire. Each location
could extend into center stage when it was the only one in any given
The Bronze stage would be a permanent platform across the back
of the stage which would also be used in other scenes such as the
Standing training scene. I also included a small mezzanine
floor for the library, where Tara could sing Under Your Spell
(Reprise), but this may be a bit extravagant and take up too
Here's a few more sketches done a bit later:
The Magic Box
The first thing to know about this is -- it isn't finished.
What I've done is close to a first draft, but there are scenes missing,
some things that are probably temporary etc.
In imagining a stage production, I'm pitching at about the level
of an amateur or even student production, so I haven't put in anything
too elaborate. I also think it should have a running time of around
90 minutes. The running time of the full TV version is 51 minutes,
so that leaves some time to put some put in some of the story threads
running through the earlier episodes of Season 6, which are relevant
to understanding the emotions of the characters during the musical.
One big problem with this idea though, is that the result is likely
to be lopsided, i.e. about half an hour of story with no music,
then suddenly an hour of musical, but I'll get into some possible
solutions to that later.
Getting back to the adaptation of Once More, With Feeling
episode itself, there are some things that can't be reproduced on
stage. These are the problems I see and my solutions for them:
- Vampires can't explode into dust on stage when staked
(duh) - Instead, vampires would just have to fall down dead on
the stage, or maybe they could stagger backwards off stage, then
a cloud of dust could appear from the wings where they exited,
after all, they often use the off screen dusting trick in the
- Sweet's victims can't burst into flames - I'd rely on
the actor to portray the feeling of burning up from the inside,
and use lighting to make the actor "glow" red. Maybe
you could also do a trick with smoke -- pump it up from under
the stage if they're over the trapdoor or a specially built platform.
- Vampires can't morph into vamp face in real time - This
is only a problem for Rest In Peace, when Spike vamps up
to scare the mourners. - No solution I can see, Spike just has
to act scary as he is.
- Buffy can't train in slow motion for Standing
- and people pretending to move in slow motion inevitably look
silly. Rather than anything that involves fast moves, I'd make
Buffy's exercises for this scene more about strength and balance
-- maybe even a set of rings if they could be rigged. I see this
scene as an opportunity for a specialist gymnast to double for
Buffy, having her in low light or silhouette upstage while Giles
- Sweet can't disappear in a ball of light - or can he...?
Another chance for tricks with smoke (and mirrors) and a mini
- Anya and Xander have consecutive scenes which require a costume
change - Anya and Xander go straight from I'll Never Tell
in their sleepwear into the street scene with Giles. To separate
these scenes I'm putting in a scene based on one from Afterlife,
where Willow wonders why Buffy hasn't thanked her for bringing
- Dawn has two consecutive scenes: Dawn's Lament and
Dawn's Ballet - This isn't actually a problem,
as you could do the transition by having Dawn dragged to center
stage when kidnapped, then change the lighting for the new scene
as she wakes up, but it just needs a break. In the TV episode,
these scenes are broken up by a commercial break, I've broken
them up by swapping around the Rest In Peace scene and
I've started by basically compressing the first 1 and a half episodes
of Season 6 down to a fairly short Prologue, (and still had room
to chuck in some of my own stuff,) followed by the band doing Buffy
the Vampire Slayer Theme, to get some music happening early.
Here's a few of the "artistic" decisions I've made about
- The span of the stage production would cover from episode 1
to episode 6 of Season 6, to include significant parts of earlier
- No Buffy Bot
- No need to mention Dawn is the Key
- Giles hasn't left for England
- The Hellions know of the plan to resurrect Buffy, and the scoobies
know there are demons who know the Slayer is dead.
- the Hellions know of Spike
- The secret about where Buffy was while dead is revealed to the
audience the same time as to the other characters.
- The same for the revelation that Tara is under a spell that
Willow has cast on her. The spell would have been cast before
the span of the musical so the herb used in the spell needs to
be something Tara would wear regularly over a fair about of time.
At the moment I'm thinking a necklace braided from it, but maybe
that's a bit too similar to the talisman Dawn wears, so maybe