Author Topic: Stage Management: A Nutshell in 3 minutes.  (Read 5091 times)

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Lester

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Stage Management: A Nutshell in 3 minutes.
« on: Sep 06, 2007, 01:47 am »
Alright, it's orientation day for us University of Alberta drama kids on friday, and I've been asked to do a short presentation on stage management and what it is and how we do it.  The problem is, I really don't know where to begin.  It's a hard question I think, to summarize what we do.  The audience is comprised of all theatre and film folk, so they are familiar with the fact that we are necessary, and often vital to a production, but I think the majority of them don't really know what we contribute beyond the cursory "paperwork, calling a show, wearing black and knowing first aid", but there's so much more to it, am I right?

I was wondering what people thought on this, and as a topper, I also need to be funny.  Anyone know good stage management jokes?

Thanks everyone!

BalletPSM

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Re: Stage Management: A Nutshell in 3 minutes.
« Reply #1 on: Sep 06, 2007, 07:10 am »
Everything for everybody in less than an hour and under budget. 

Sorry.  Okay, don't say that...I just say that because this is how my job has felt for the past two weeks and when I saw your post, I couldn't resist.  =)

Are you a veteran SM there?  Why don't you start with a fun story from your experience? 
Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

Mac Calder

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Re: Stage Management: A Nutshell in 3 minutes.
« Reply #2 on: Sep 06, 2007, 07:43 am »
"Stage Managers don't just manage the stage." Short and sweet ;-)

Lester

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Re: Stage Management: A Nutshell in 3 minutes.
« Reply #3 on: Sep 06, 2007, 10:23 am »
Yeah I'm a 4th year here and a "senior stage manager" now.  Which actually just means I'm going to be out and looking for a job come this time next year.  Some of my peers want me to go up there with a mug of coffee though, dump it and just say "Stage managers don't make coffee, remember it."  (It's a sore point in our program).

The problem with most of my fun stories is that they're at someone's expense, generally someone who I've worked with who may or may not be in the audience at that moment.  Ahhh the life to see it all...

Celeste_SM

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Re: Stage Management: A Nutshell in 3 minutes.
« Reply #4 on: Sep 06, 2007, 11:41 am »
I'm sure you've all heard this one... a stage manager, a director and an actor are in a rehearsal hall and they find a gold lantern.  A genie comes out and says he will grant them each one wish.  The director says, "I wish to be on an island in Fiji, surrounded by beautiful women, with a cold drink in my hand!"  The genie nods and the director vanishes.  The actor says "I wish to be in New York, a famous star of a broadway show!"  The genie nods and the actor vanishes.  The stage manager looks at her watch and says, "I want both of them back in ten minutes."   ;D

Anyhoo, I usually describe the stage manager position as the central coordinator of all aspects of a theatrical production.  Someone who makes sure that everybody knows what they need to know, with time to do something about it.  Then I get into the whole blocking notes, cue calling, first aid thing.

loebtmc

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Re: Stage Management: A Nutshell in 3 minutes.
« Reply #5 on: Sep 06, 2007, 06:45 pm »
I like Celeste_SM's description - I tell people this is the one job where I get to use everything I've ever learned - I always add in two basic things: 1) we are the pin between the creative team (director/actor) and the technical team (designers/crew) - cuz altho both sides have creative and technical aspects, our job is to help the two sides work together, meaning we have the best of both worlds because we get to use all our creativity and all our technical skills (and, everything we've ever learned) to make it all mesh in the best possible way; and 2) kinda a cross between mom and a benevolent dictator.

My joke refers back to my first experience w union SMs. My college theater was the out-of-town pre-Bway house for Joe Papp's Shakespeare Festival (among others). His SM and crew wore t-shirts thru tech week that read "Chief Scapegoat," "Asst to Chief Scapegoat" etc - and once the show opened, the t-shirts were inverted to read "God," Asst to God" etc. Because once the show opened and they were in charge, the SMs had to know everything, who had to fix it when it went wrong - whether it was an acting beat or a blown lamp - and how to make sure it got handled.

Have fun -

Lester

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Re: Stage Management: A Nutshell in 3 minutes.
« Reply #6 on: Sep 10, 2007, 09:41 pm »
Sorry about the lateness of the reply.

The speech went well!  Short, concise and had pretty much my entire department rolling on the floor laughing.  A number of people also came up to me after and introduced themselves, which led to quite a few discussions!  All in all a success.  Thanks for the input everyone!

Oh and the kicker at the end of the speech?

"If this university was hogwarts, we would be the magic."

avkid

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Re: Stage Management: A Nutshell in 3 minutes.
« Reply #7 on: Sep 10, 2007, 11:52 pm »
"If this university was hogwarts, we would be the magic."
That's what it's all about:
We've got magic to do........ Just for you
We've got miracle plays to play
We've got parts to perform.... Hearts to warm
Kings and things to take by storm
As we go along our way

-"Pippin"
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

Rhynn

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Re: Stage Management: A Nutshell in 3 minutes.
« Reply #8 on: Nov 11, 2007, 09:59 pm »
and 2) kinda a cross between mom and a benevolent dictator.

I thought all moms were benevloent dictators!

And here is my favorite "joke" about stage management--old but true:

Theatrical Structure

Producer:
Leaps tall buildings in a single bound.
Is more powerful than a locomotive.
Is faster than a speeding bullet.
Walks on water.
Gives policy to God.

Director:
Leaps short buildings in a single bound.
Is more powerful than a switch engine.
Is just as fast as a speeding bullet.
Walks on water if the sea is calm.
Talks with God.

Playwright:
Leaps short buildings with a running start.
Is almost as powerful as a switch engine.
Is faster than a speeding BB.
Swims well.
Is occasionally addressed by God.

Actor:
Makes high marks on the wall when trying to leap buildings.
Is run over by locomotives.
Can sometimes handle a gun without inflicting self-injury.
Dog paddles.
Talks to animals.

Chorus:
Falls over doorsteps when trying to enter buildings.
Says "Look at the choo-choo."
Wets himself with a water pistol.
Plays in mud puddles.
Mumbles to himself.

Stage Manager:
Lifts buildings and walks under them.
Kicks locomotives off the track.
Catches speeding bullets in his teeth and eats them.
Freezes water with a single glance.
IS GOD.
« Last Edit: Nov 11, 2007, 10:02 pm by Rhynn »
-----
I'm flattered, but the answer is still no.

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