When people ask me what exactly a stage manager does, I’ve often struggled with coming up with an answer. I think that the best way to compare what I do is to compare it to the role of a mother.
From the first rehearsal, I have added 25 children with very busy lives in to my schedule. When we audition potential actors, they are required to give us their conflict list, which is any reason that they should miss rehearsal on any given night. When I, as the stage manager, have this list of conflicts, I work with the director to create a rehearsal schedule to find a time to get at least the majority of the actors at the theater at one time. This scheduling process is usually no big deal because one of the nice things about Westminster College there is usually a set schedule of classes, and evening activities.
However, as much as I may try, I can never anticipate every problem that may arise.
Over the course of our rehearsal process, we have had several events added at the last moment that we then had to plan around. Due to the rapid additions of events over the last couple of weeks, I have had to work quickly to establish a new schedule and a plan to fit all occasions.
This job is just one facet of the role of the stage manager, but I feel that it is the most vital during the rehearsal process.
The stage manager plans and anticipates for a crisis, whether it is big or small, we are the ones that have to be ready for anything that could happen. Crisis management is vital to all aspects of life, but as the “mother” I have to be willing for my 25 “children” who depend upon my ability to keep the show running to the best of my ability.