Author Topic: PEOPLE: The blind leading the blind (delegating)  (Read 3461 times)

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vborey

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PEOPLE: The blind leading the blind (delegating)
« on: Mar 10, 2007, 06:17 pm »
I'm stage managing a show this spring for a small theatre company and will be working for the first time with an ASM. She's a high school student (the founder and president of her drama club) and this is a chance for her to learn the ropes in a working theatre and for me to get a little help.  

I'm relatively new to stage managing myself and have a tendency to be a little bit of a control freak anyways... I want to make sure that I'm delegating enough responsibility to make having an asm worthwhile, but not so much that she won't be able to deal with it or something falls through the cracks.

How I define asm responsibilities is pretty much up to me ... any suggestions on this would be MUCH appreciated!
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:13 am by PSMKay »

Mac Calder

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Re: The blind leading the blind
« Reply #1 on: Mar 10, 2007, 06:33 pm »
Usually the first thing to delegate are props.

Working props should be sourced by the ASM, and the ASM should do pre-rehearsal checks to make sure all props are ready for the scenes being rehearsed that day.

When it comes to the show, the ASM should manage the props table - ie make sure everything is preset and ensure that everything is returned at the end of the run.

Next, I would get the ASM to help with any understudy rehearsals.

Third, I would ask her/him/it to attend any meetings you have with LX/Sound/Set/Whatever - even though those meetings may not effect her/him/it directly, it is good to have someone else who is kept in the loop.

I think the key to keeping an ASM keen is to define a few jobs that are theirs alone - so it may be a matter of sitting down with them and discussing your duties and what areas you think they can look after, then asking if there is a certain area they would like to focus on. If your ASM wants to move to an SM sometime in the near future, you may want to arrange that they maintain their own blocking script and you can compare notes after rehearsals, or maybe give them the job of prompting - leaving you free to focus on blocking and other issues.

During the run, apart from managing props, maybe give them the task of ensuring all actors are in position for their entrances. If she is new to ASMing - as far as paperwork goes, entrance/exit charts are a good 'toe dipping' exercise. Add to that that the ASM should either lead the deck crew or if you have a deck master - should be assisting, I think you will find that more than enough to keep him/her/it busy during the run.

mvmendelson

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Re: The blind leading the blind
« Reply #2 on: Mar 12, 2007, 02:46 pm »
Along with props, I tend to have my assistant on book and write up line notes.  This is especially helpful when a scene is being re-blocked for the 30th time.

vborey

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Re: The blind leading the blind
« Reply #3 on: Mar 12, 2007, 05:29 pm »
Thanks - that really helps me to get a sense of direction with this. I'm looking forward to having the help, so I want to make sure I'm making the best use possible (within reason). Putting her in charge of props and having her on book and working with line notes seems very reasonable.

This will be my first time dealing with understudy rehearsals. Is it fairly usual for the ASM to have much to do with understudy rehearsals? I ask mainly because the company has been talking about bringing in an assistant director to work exclusively with the understudies and I'm having problems conceptualizing how it's all going to fit together, as I don't believe the assistant director would be attending regular rehearsals.

Mac Calder

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Re: The blind leading the blind
« Reply #4 on: Mar 12, 2007, 05:46 pm »
If there is an AD in charge of understudy rehearsals, then you need to be able to provide thorough notes to the AD - which they will combine with notes from the director. If there is no AD, then it is not unusual to get the ASM to assist with (and some times even run) understudy rehearsals. If there is an AD, then it is also not unusual for the ASM to 'play stage manager' for their session - especially if the 'real' rehearsals are running concurently.

vborey

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Re: The blind leading the blind
« Reply #5 on: Mar 14, 2007, 12:44 am »
The word is in that we won't be having understudies after all. The A.D. will not be available for understudy rehearsals and, since the show will run for three weeks only, it's not (hopefully) a real necessity. Either way, I think the ASM and I will have more than enough to work on. Thanks for the help!

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