Author Topic: Is part of being a Stage Manager being an artist?  (Read 4831 times)

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ScooterSM

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Is part of being a Stage Manager being an artist?
« on: May 21, 2007, 10:39 pm »
So here is a question that has come up for me several times recently, and I am not really sure what the answer is.

Do you think that there is an artistic part of being a stage manager?  I have always felt like there is a part of the job that requires some artistic sense, particularly in calling a show.  Not in anything that affects design or acting, but something.  Someone explained it to me once as 45% manager, 45% technician, and 10% artist.

What do you think?

Thanks!

SSM
“I've never been paid a lot, but the theatre has kept me, and for that I shall be eternally grateful.” Tony Church

zayit shachor

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Re: Is part of being a Stage Manager being an artist?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2007, 11:49 pm »
I think that calling a show takes some artistic vision. It's hard to explain how, but I think we all know that it's more than just saying "go" when the script tells you to.

Also, as my stage management professor would say, being able to communicate effectively with all the different personality types that you find in theater is an art.

Mac Calder

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Re: Is part of being a Stage Manager being an artist?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2007, 12:07 am »
There is certainly a degree of artistry involved in being a stage manager.

Not only do we have to understand and visualise what other 'artistic' people are envisioning, but finding 'creative solutions' to make these visions a reality is a part of our job. Calling a show is certainly an art-form - and like most art forms, no two shows are exactly alike.

I also find that the Stage Manager is often turned to bounce ideas off of, as one of the constants in the directors day - and through that, the show takes a slight turn based on the stage managers own vision.


MatthewShiner

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Re: Is part of being a Stage Manager being an artist?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2007, 10:19 am »
I am a performer, just like any other artist in the team or cast.

Calling cues it not just about saying GO, it's about feeling the rhythm of the performance, adjusted to nuances.  I have always compared stage to being a conductor.

I would say stage management is 25% artist, 25%techncial and 50% people skills.

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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

LisaEllis

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Re: Is part of being a Stage Manager being an artist?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2007, 09:18 pm »
Calling cues it not just about saying GO, it's about feeling the rhythm of the performance, adjusted to nuances.  I have always compared stage to being a conductor.


That's interesting...I had a conductor explain to his very small children, when introducing me,
"Just like I conduct the musicians in the pit and the singers onstage, she conducts what happens backstage, with the lights and the set."

Very simplistic, but very insightful, I thought.

ljh007

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Re: Is part of being a Stage Manager being an artist?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2007, 09:26 pm »
I prefer to use the word "craft" when talking about stage management.
To me, this brings the emphasis back to skill, rather than say artistic expression.
What we do is indeed creative, however, and I interpret that in the word "craft".
Just my semantic preference.

loebtmc

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Re: Is part of being a Stage Manager being an artist?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2007, 02:29 am »
I was always taught that the SM is the "5th actor" - for the show to run smoothly, we breath with the actors to call the cues, and in the old days adjust the sliders to the feel of that night's beat/transition.

And as the link, the pin, between the artistic team and the technical team we must be as creative as they are, whether we are talking stage- or people-related ideas/skills


wtcsrstaph4life

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Re: Is part of being a Stage Manager being an artist?
« Reply #7 on: Jun 05, 2007, 10:29 pm »
I would say that being a Stage Manager is being an artist, but definitely a very different type, mainly because you don't take your own vision and turn it into something (hopefully) beautiful. Instead you have to take many different people's visions and creatively bring them together to create something (again hopefully) beautiful. Though for one show every one who is working on it has the same relative vision, they are still different, and you need to tie them together to form your piece of art. But it is also a craft you have to master.

BeckyGG

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Re: Is part of being a Stage Manager being an artist?
« Reply #8 on: Jun 06, 2007, 01:01 am »
I was always taught that the SM is the "5th actor"



This is going to a new level for me this summer.  In my Midsummer Night's Dream we are having the fairies be little lights (LEDs and Lasers perhaps) and voiceovers, so I will be cueing large sections of dialogue each performance.
CHAOS: Where Brilliant Dreams Are Born
Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be Chaos
Before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish to the crowd.

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