Most people have a singular perspective of theatre, that of an audience member, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Support the arts! However, those same people probably don’t know the unseen workings before and during a show. Rehearsal calls? Cues? Broken legs?
So, average-every-day-reader of this blog, what’s an SM? In case you don’t know, if you met one outside the theatre (a shocking occurrence in itself), you’d probably imagine them to be a caffeine-guzzling, anal retentive control freak with an oversized ego. You might be close.
The SM organizes and communicates, simply put. They are at every rehearsal, every production meeting, every show. If you need information, they should have it, and probably have more that you didn’t even know you were looking for. Duties range from sending mass emails to calling cues to setting props to helping with quick changes to helping in the shop to climbing in the ceiling with the lighting fixtures.
What does it mean that an SM is so involved in all these areas? It means they put a lot at stake with a production. Actors, designers, technicians—they all have certain aspects they care most about. SMs have to care about it all. This can take a toll. Just having to be in touch with all the different parts takes a toll because it’s such a commitment. (Think keeping a significant other takes work? Try one that demands your presence on a daily basis—no excuses.)
This also means that there is so much that can make an SMs day brighter. Punctual actors (meaning they show up 10 minutes early), a tight-knit run crew, beautiful light and sound cues, a well-attended performance—any and all of these boost the morale of someone who had to make a note in the rehearsal report about every detail. An SM is fully invested in the production, and they can gather some bountiful returns from a great show.
Stop Kiss is a little more than three weeks away from opening. Not a day goes by that I think about what I got myself into by stepping up as Stage Manager for this production; still, every night I walk through Beeghly Theatre, every night I get to see and pester my ASMs and actors and director, I feel the glow of certainty. Something wonderful is in the making, something worth the hours dedicated. I welcome questions about the show—I love talking about it. And please, if you can make it, come and see what everyone from Theatre Westminster has pulled together for you.
(Information about the show, and dates and times: http://www.westminster.edu/news/releases/release.cfm?id=4198)