The Crestiad

Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923

Being a Stage Manager

By: Abigail Ormiston, Editor-in-Chief

I have taken on a lot responsibilities in these three years I have been at Cedar Crest. But one of my favorite has been being a stage manager.

During the first week of class, Kevin Gallagher emailed a bunch of the performing art students about wanting to either be a stage manager or an assistant stage manager. I eagerly emailed him back asking to be an assistant stage manager for the straight play this semester, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”

Only a few days later, I talked to him about the audition process just so I know what to expect. He informed me that no one had emailed him about the stage manager position. Then told me I am going to do it. He really didn’t give me much of a choice. But told me he had faith in me and I would do a great job.

At first thought, I was excited. The more I thought about it however, I actually became nervous and scared. I have never taken on that much responsibility in the theatre before. Needless to say, I put on a smile and said OK.

The auditions were actually the smoothest part of the entire show process. We had a good number audition and I even pick one of my assistant stage managers during that time. Over those couple of days, I start becoming comfortable with the director, Tim Brown.

The first major choice I had to make as a stage manager: find another assistant stage manager. I did just that rather quickly actually.

Then it came to actually starting rehearsals. We started in September. Creating a homework schedule around a rehearsal was a little different for me. Every other time I was a part of a show, I was only there for tech week (the week leading up to the show). I collected tentative schedules from the actors and my assistant stage managers and handed them off to the director.

After that schedule was created, I made a point to make sure I was at every rehearsal, though that was a little hard. Rehearsals were at nights and I had a night class every Thursday.

As we crossed the one month mark left for the show, I began to get more and more nervous about being “in charge.” There were many text messages, phone calls, emails, and 15 minutes sessions spent between Gallagher and I. He helped me every step of the way. With blocking. With rehearsal reports. And with finding confidence in myself.

During one of the major weeks in rehearsals, the director had a problem with his eye. He had to go in for emergency surgery to have things fixed. I had to step up and become more of a leader, meaning I had to run a few rehearsals by myself.

It felt like any ounce of free time I had was spent with the show. I didn’t seem to mind this either.

Tech week approached quickly. It started Sunday Nov. 1. This week was going to be even more stressful for me because of the long hours I had to spend in the theatre and I had to make sure everything was going to run smoothly.

During tech week, we had a few bumps in the road. My backstage crew caused some complications. But we all managed to work through it.

Being a stage manager taught me many things. One of the most important, to not be afraid of taking charge. I have learned to approach taking authority in the best way possible. I always had to worry about addressing an actor or someone else in a manner that seemed respectful and polite.

And yes, this experience was stressful. Between balancing homework and theatre, I spent many nights awake and working on homework. I had to be prepared to form some kind of answer, whether it is where someone was or what the set progress was. I wouldn’t trade the opportunity or experience that I have being Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike‘s stage manager for anything.

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This entry was posted on November 20, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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