Author Topic: Two stories in one!  (Read 2894 times)

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PSMKay

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Two stories in one!
« on: Sep 25, 2007, 08:59 am »
(submitted by Clara)


     

My first solo stage management job was on a community theatre production of Romeo & Juliet. I had ASMd and co-stage managed before, but I actually auditioned for this production and was cast in a small role. At the end of readthrough, the director asks me: "It says on your resume that you're a stage manager. Would you like to stage manage this?" I agreed, for whatever reason...


     

This particular theatre was going through a change in management at the time, so things were not incredibly organized... the director was also the producer, set designer, set foreman, and playing Lord Capulet. The arrangement was for one weekend of shows and then two performances for schools the following Monday. The director promised the schools two-hour performances and scheduled them for 10 am and 1 pm.


     

Needless to say, by the time the show opened, we were running definitely no less than two and a half hours. Saturday night the director realized this, and Sunday he handed us a list of scenes that will be cut for Monday's performance. I went over this with my crew, and we thought we had it down. But one crew member told me that she wouldn't be able to work Monday because she couldn't get out of school. Fortunately, I was able to give her cue sheet to an actor with a small part who had helped me move sets during rehearsals.


     

I adjusted my cue sheets accordingly and started Monday's first performance as usual. We were low on crew members anyway, so I had to help move the rolling platforms (and keep in mind, I was still playing the small part in the show, so I had to do most of this in a floor-length dress with floor-length sleeves). 


     

Midway through the show, the ASM and I brought Juliet's bedroom out, but quickly realized that we didn't have the actors. It took us a minute to realize that I had misread my cue sheet and
      accidentally cut a scene that we hadn't planned to cut. The lighting operator figured that after all this time, we must be ready, and brought the lights up on the empty stage. I rushed to the dressing rooms in a blind panic to find Juliet and send her onstage -- and it took another minute to explain to her what was going on and where we were. Finally, she rushed onstage, did a double take, exited to the opposite side from that she'd entered from, and returned with her knife and vial of potion, much to the amusement of the full house of schoolchildren.


     

Fortunately, the scene we accidentally cut wasn't crucial to the plot. But of course, after all that, the show still ran over two hours. We had to eat lunch in costume, onstage, while setting up for the afternoon's show.

     

      And somewhat less horrific:

      I was ASM for a production of Singin' in the Rain at a different community theatre. Our most difficult change was going from Don Lockwood's house to the scene in which it actually rains -- we had real water from pipes hanging from the grid, and we had to lay a tarp onstage to catch the water. The change had to occur while a scene was played in front of the curtain, and the curtain and the lights would rise simultaneously as Don entered the rainstorm.


     

As with all community productions in this area, the local paper ran a feature on the show on the front page of the Living section on opening night, with Don shown leaning cavalierly against a lamppost (which was an integral part of the dance number to the title song). And as always, numerous copies of the article were floating around the theatre as we prepped for opening. 


     

I had been told the night before that it would be my job to turn on the rain (from the next room) as soon as the stage was set. The curtain fell on the previous scene and we rushed into action, striking the living room, adjusting the tarp, and finally turning on the rain. We told the stage manager we were ready. Just as she called "lights up," an actor pointed to the lamppost, still sitting offstage, and said to me, "Is this supposed to be onstage?"


     

There was nothing anyone could do at that point (other than curse over headset and try to find out whose responsibility the lamppost was). The stage manager was about ready to kill someone and I was about ready to cry. 


     

The actor managed to do his dance without the lamppost, and thankfully, the audience didn't seem to notice.



 

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