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My Week as the Stage Manager

April 18, 2012

As I found out in my blog post, ASM—the busiest person on/backstage? I was informed that I, as the ASM for my production, I would be stepping up and be the Stage Manager while she was at a conference for the week. One whole week of stage managing a show by myself for the first time—plus doing my usual job of ASM!

MONDAY: before the SM left, she made sure I had everything I needed and my first rehearsal as Stage Manager went pretty smoothly, if I do say so myself! One of the actors had brought in cupcakes, which made my first time especially nice. We didn’t have too many actors called in tonight, as we were working the transitions between scenes, so my first night went nice and easy. Some of the actors even stayed behind to help me put away the props so I wouldn’t be doing everything all by myself.

TUESDAY: Our director decided that we really didn’t need a piano for rehearsals (one of the actors “plays” it throughout the show) so I had to strike one piano from the set. This was also the first rehearsal with the actors off-book, so I started (what will be) my usual job of line notes too. As the director said, I’m wearing too many hats tonight (and all this week) but everyone was pretty patient with me as I took line notes, read lines for actors who weren’t there, took rehearsal notes and answered questions. But Oops! When we dismissed the actors who were not in the next scene and done for the night, they took off and forgot their line notes. I sent out an email reminding them that they will be handed out at next rehearsal and that it’s their responsibility to remember. Problem solved!

WEDNESDAY: By now I’ve noticed how irritating my keys are. As SM, I have the key to the prop closet, which looks identical to my room key and I constantly try to open the doors with the wrong key! Aside from that, rehearsal went smoothly until I suddenly ran out of line notes to fill out. Luckily, the Asst. Director was able to go print more out for me but that’s something I’ll be sure not to do again. The only other interesting thing to report is that I have made a bet with the leading lady: the first rehearsal she gets through without a single line note from me, I owe her a candy bar-otherwise, she owes me!

THURSDAY: Tonight, we started working on Act 3, Scene 1 and it was a bit of a disaster. Missed entrances, lines being paraphrased left and right, a missing actor who didn’t pick up his phone when I called…we sat down and did a read-through of the scene and rescheduled next week Monday to work the scene more fully. Thankfully, the next scene went very smoothly and I noted to the director how well the actors were off-book for that part. Tonight was also a rehearsal with Betsy the dog! We decided that one of the characters should have a pet dog to be onstage in certain scenes. Betsy was rather excited to be here tonight and had to check out everyone in the room before she was ready for her entrance. She couldn’t stay for very long tonight but she’ll be in rehearsals more now that we’re getting closer to the show. So, tonight was certainly more stressful than the other rehearsals but I stayed really calm and kept it all going (I think having an acupuncture session earlier helped).

FRIDAY: Before rehearsals, we had a publicity photo-shoot featuring our three leads that I had to oversee but there wasn’t much for me to do. The Technical Director had part of our set rigged up for us to use (and it looks wonderful!); the Costume Designer had the actors getting their hair done and costumes ready. I was there to make sure our photographer arrived and we had the director onset to approve of the photos being taken. After the publicity photos were done, the Costume Designer got the actress playing Jean Maitland into another dress so we could take her picture. In Stage Door, Jean Maitland becomes a big Hollywood actress and gives the boarding house she used to stay in a portrait of herself as a present and we still need a picture of her looking like Jean was this 1930’s Hollywood star, complete with a fox fur stole, to use for the portrait. The director and I got there right in time for rehearsal straight from the photo-shoot. Since it’s been a long week for everyone, we were only running some short, few people scenes and ended early but not before the director said “Thank you; you did a great job this week, keeping things going, getting everything done and holding the fort.”

And that was my week as the acting Stage Manager. I’ll be glad to hand my keys in when the SM gets in on Monday but I did it! I’m really happy I that I kept the show running as we are getting closer and closer to opening night…Our first run-through is next week, All Day Tech in two weeks from this Friday and then opening night. Actors, take your places please for the top of Act 1. Will somebody hold that dog?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 20, 2012 11:35 am

    It sounds like your week as the stand-in stage manager went great! You rocked it!

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