The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Meanwhile, Behind the Scenes… June 30, 2014

Hello all!  Well, I’ve done it again.  At the end of my last post, I promised updates on my new adventure as a community theater stage manager, and that was approximately a month ago.  Without going back and telling the entire story from the beginning, I think I can sum it up in the following four words:  I. Am. So. Tired!  Here’s a picture partly illuminating why:

Grease set pic

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Stage managing has been great so far.  I was pretty well prepared for all my tasks and duties, having observed all the stage managers of all the shows I’ve been involved with in my year with Ardmore Little Theatre.  Also, having downloaded and printed several stage manager guides from college theater departments, and bought a book on the subject from Amazon, I felt like I knew what I was supposed to do.  And for the most part so far, in this particular situation, I’ve been relatively successful.  The director and I make a good team, but I am already aware that for a different director, I would have to do some things differently, mostly with regard to how I relate to the cast and how I help manage rehearsals (read: be tougher).

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Anyway, for those who don’t know and maybe don’t care to do a quick search, a stage manager is basically the glue that keeps the production together and the engine that drives it.  During rehearsals the stage manager is supposed to watch the time and make sure breaks happen on time, make sure things start and end on time, contact people who are late and find out what’s their holdup, call out actors’ lines when they can’t remember them, communicate  and coordinate with all the non-acting people involved, such as sound, lights, costumes, props, set, and orchestra, etc…THEN when the director has the show shaped the way he or she wants it, and the cast is doing full run-throughs, but especially after there are set pieces to work with, and the lighting and sound have been designed, the stage manager is the one with the headset who tells the tech crew when to raise and lower the curtains, when to fly other pieces in or out, when to cue the lights and sounds, when scene change is completed, etc.  In other words- both during the rehearsal process and the performance period, it is a huge undertaking.

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I was given this opportunity as a relative newbie to the theater and a complete newbie to stage managing other than the preparations I mentioned above.  They took a big leap of faith and trust in me, primarily because I have been the Queen of Gung Ho since I started with the theater, and because they trusted the opinion of one of my good friends who recommended me when they couldn’t get anyone with experience.  I think they already knew they could depend on me- they honored me with the MVP award for this season.  I won an Oscar-like statuette and felt like quite the bigshot.  MVP pic

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So.  Thus far, we have had nightly rehearsals, we are now in our exclusive rental period with the facility we perform in, we are in the process of building our set (which is not happening nearly fast enough) and we open TWO weeks from this Thursday.  Tonight is just the first night the cast is supposed to be “off-book” which means they can’t refer to their scripts during rehearsal. The scary part for ME, the scene change and cue-calling part (standby lights one… lights one go.  Standby fly… fly go) is yet to come.  But based on the way I have handled the challenges I’ve faced so far in this adventure, I really think I will probably make it through the intimidating part with only minor snafus.  At least I hope so.  I am doing my level best to be on the ball with this.  I am determined that the powers that be will not regret taking a chance on me, and of course I am hoping to be given the chance to stage-manage again in the future.

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One huge difficulty here, and one that has besieged me from the beginning of my involvement with ALT, is that a lot of people have started telling me that the problem with this new hobby (and one might even say ‘obsession’ there) is that I am putting the theater ahead of other things, more important things.  Most particularly with regard to my offspring.  As usual, when I get into something, I don’t get into it halfway.  I get into it with a vengeance.  Examples:  figure skating fan, Alaska, books, TV shows, Facebook.  Sometimes it seems like I can only wrap my head around one thing at a time.  In simple terms, I’m away from home.  A lot.  Now, I told the kids when I agreed to do this, that they would be “theater orphans” for the 6 weeks the play was in production.  Yes, the kids all live at home, but the girls are 20 years old.  The Boy is 13.  It’s not like I’m leaving three toddlers at home alone with a bowl of cat food and some water on the floor, ok?  True, they have a variety of behavioral and emotional issues that make it more like leaving 13 year old TRIPLETS at home alone, which is probably not a good idea.  But you get the point.  Sometimes I bring them to set construction and so forth, but mostly they are just not into it, which is fine.

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Anyway.  I will always have people telling me what I should and shouldn’t do with regard to my kids.  And I know I have made “mucho grande” mistakes in raising them, but I can’t and won’t kick myself for that now.  What I can and will do is enjoy my time at the theater and try to make sure I find balance.  I told them today I was sorry I was at the theater so much.  But that’s not gonna change for another 4 weeks.

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I guess this means I’d better not audition for To Kill a Mockingbird, which auditions August 11-12 and runs sometime in late September, huh? Sad face.

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Until next time,

D.

 

 

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