There’s usually a divide between the actors and everyone else working on a stage production. It’s not always a bad thing; it’s natural that everyone is focused on their responsibilities, and as long as there’s an understanding that the show doesn’t go on without the performance and the technical sides somehow coming together, I don’t have any issues with it. At the college, every actor is encouraged to work tech on shows they’re not cast in, so we tend not to have a “us versus them” mentality, though I certainly have seen it with other production companies.
It’s the director’s job to make sure everything works smoothly — in rehearsal. Once the show enters its final stages of preparation, though, it becomes the job of the stage manager and his or her assistants to supervise the actual show from tech week though every performance. When I turn a show over to my stage manager, it can be the most terrifying part of the whole process. Sitting in the audience waiting for the curtain and then watching the production over which I no longer have any control is a very helpless feeling, especially if anything goes wrong. But directors have to let go and trust the actors, crew and, of course, those stage managers, to do their jobs.
I’ve been very fortunate to have some great stage managers who made my opening night jitters more than manageable over the past year. Some had previous experience, some didn’t, but each of them worked hard, paid attention to the details, and performed in a professional manner throughout the rehearsal and performance periods. I’d like to recognize them now:
- High School Musical – Alex Meyer (SM) and Dan Williams (ASM)
- All In The Timing – Mallorie Krul (SM) and Regina Spain (Props and ASM)
- A Christmas Carol – Chris Brennan (SM) – and Chris had to put up with me as ASM since we cast everyone else in the show!
- The Real Thing – Chris Brennan (SM, again) and Joel Badley (ASM). Special thanks to Christine Lis (Props) and Chuck Tinker (Props Assistant).
- Young King Arthur – Christine Lis (SM) and Karry Herber (ASM).
The unsung heroes!