Author Topic: Stage Managers, Stage manager.  (Read 5721 times)

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Grayson

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Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« on: Mar 23, 2009, 04:41 pm »
I have been asked to be my Stage managers, Stage manager for his senior directed One Act. (I'm a freshman already directed two touring shows with casts and tech about 50 people)
 I have already noticed that he will not give me a chance to my job. He is doing all the work himself and leaving me out of the loop.  I am getting very tired of dealing with this and we have yet to even start rehearsals. I love this young man, he is my mentor. I used to idolize him. But know I don't know what to do, he is my friend.When he originally asked me to be his SM I said, "Blake, remember, you are the Director and I am the SM, There are things I do and things you do. If you let me do my job I will be your SM."  What should I do?

thehayworth

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Re: Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« Reply #1 on: Mar 23, 2009, 04:47 pm »
Let him do the work?
"This time for sure."

BLee

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Re: Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« Reply #2 on: Mar 23, 2009, 04:58 pm »
I am actually on the other side of this situation. I am a stage manager who is directing a project with a first year who is stage managing for my show. I can not tell you how hard it is sometimes to remember which job belongs to who since I learning new tasks I am required to do and falling into old habits doing things that the SM should do.

Anyways, my advice (besides making it clear in rehearsals you are the SM) is to make sure to always be extra loud with your duties to make it clear. I know when my SM keeps up on lines really well that it reminds me not to give an actor a line. When you catch them doing something that is your job step up and say "Let me do that for you. It is my job after all." (in a light hearted way). And at the beginning and end of rehearsal it helps to make a point to quickly discuss the rehearsal from an SM point of view as another reminder. For example, mention what the run time was, how well the actors are doing on lines, any props or notes for the report. The more you remind them of what your job is the more he should let you do it.

And of course, if you believe it will help, I would sit down and write down with him what the SM duties in rehearsal, tech, etc are so that you have a guideline to say "remember that we agreed _________ was my responsibility as the SM."

Hope that helps.
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Amie

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Re: Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« Reply #3 on: Mar 23, 2009, 07:54 pm »
Let him do the work?

What's the benefit of that? If he is going to be a director, he needs to learn to let others do their jobs as stage managers and learn to separate himself from director versus stage manager.

I agree with TomorrowToday in terms of sitting down and writing out the duties, BECAUSE it is easy to fall into old habits. 

Good luck...
~ Amie ~

“This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once: scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.”

Trevor7

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Re: Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« Reply #4 on: Mar 23, 2009, 11:42 pm »
I have been in this situation before to, on both ends.  It is hard when you do multiple jobs in theatre to remember what your job is and to let someone else be responsible for something you are used to doing.  As a stage manager I have had AD's and Directors that were Stage Managers also that have tried to do my job, and while acting, ADing or being basic crew on a show, I have caught myself doing something that wasn't my job.  Generally if you talk to your director and tell them in a nice way that you feel like your toes are being stepped on, they will listen.  Communication is the key to any collaboration, make sure they know what their job is and what is your job.

planetmike

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Re: Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« Reply #5 on: Mar 24, 2009, 12:04 am »
I just had this happen to me today. I'm designing sound for a show, and caught myself just after I tried to help the stage manager with something. I had to tell myself "that's not your job on this show." It is interesting to see different people's styles on things.

damjamkato

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Re: Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« Reply #6 on: Mar 24, 2009, 05:40 pm »
When I was running light board for the last production at my school, it was hard not to just assume all the responsibilities that you have as the SM.  It was almost relaxing in a way to watch someone else run around fixing all the problems.

SM19

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Re: Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« Reply #7 on: Apr 22, 2009, 12:59 pm »
I'd like to stress that, within a show, nothing is personal. That means that you can talk to your director as a DIRECTOR and not a friend. Explain that it's not a personal thing and that you love them to death, but at the same time...STOP DOING MY JOB! lol But make sure they know that it's not personal.

Also, you may want to sit down with Blake and write up a job description for each of you, just to make things a little more clearer on who has what job.
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Grayson

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Re: Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« Reply #8 on: Apr 22, 2009, 01:36 pm »
Well funny thing. Now, Blake has been out of town and has missed some rehearsals multiple times.  So during one rehearsal when he was not there I totally crossed the line. I did character development with the actors. That is not my job. But I saw that he was not going to do character development with them so I did. I have not told him and I made the cast promise me not to say a word. But now I'm doing his job. Its just awful. I don't even think there is a line any more. I'm doing a lot of the directing and he does not even care. I'm just worried that this might back lash on me. What can I do to prevent that? I mentioned to him that maybe one day we can sit down and write out who's jobs are who's but he pretty much just said, you job is my job when I don't do it. (He did not say that, that is how I interpreted what he said.)

LCSM

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Re: Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« Reply #9 on: Apr 24, 2009, 09:41 pm »
I agree it can be frustrating to watch something get neglected (especially something as important as character work) but doing his job--especially in secrecy--is not going to help matters. I'll leave it up to older and wiser SMs to decide when to talk to the director about the artistic integrity of a show (I believe there was a discussion on that at some point), but there is never a point at which the SM should give direction during the rehersal process without the director's go-ahead. Also, you should consider that this is (I assume) a project he's being given a mark on, so you want it to reflect his abilities and not yours.

That said, it is difficult when people refuse to discuss things, so I would say to soldier on as best you can. Do your job as well as possible and make the best of a bad situation by calling it a "learning opportunity".  ;) Good luck!

hbelden

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Re: Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« Reply #10 on: Apr 28, 2009, 12:09 pm »
Linda A. Hill, of the Harvard Business School, wrote "Becoming a Manager" (Penguin Books, 1993) in which she describes the process of moving from worker to leader.  It's fascinating reading as the process is almost universal, and really resonated with my own experience starting out as a stage manager way back when.

People are promoted to management because they do well at working - but are not given any management training.  So most new managers start by trying to do what they know, by taking over from the labor they are managing (perceived as "micromanaging" by those workers).  After completing one "business cycle" - in our world, one production - they "began to accept their agenda-setting and network-building responsibilities and to behave, think, and value more like managers." (p.77)

But during that first production, your new director is uncertain about how to bring order out of chaos and so falls back on what has worked for him in the past; not completely understanding that those responsibilities have devolved to someone else and there's a whole raft of duties that he is responsible for that he just can't see yet because he hasn't gone through it all.

Hope this helps,
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Grayson

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Re: Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« Reply #11 on: Apr 28, 2009, 01:29 pm »
WOW I think that says it all. You are wonderful! Thank you soo much. That makes me feel so much better because we open this Friday. I hope it goes well. This is my fist time to call a show. I'm having alot of trouble.

missliz

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Re: Stage Managers, Stage manager.
« Reply #12 on: Apr 28, 2009, 03:16 pm »
Well funny thing. Now, Blake has been out of town and has missed some rehearsals multiple times.  So during one rehearsal when he was not there I totally crossed the line. I did character development with the actors. That is not my job. But I saw that he was not going to do character development with them so I did. I have not told him and I made the cast promise me not to say a word. But now I'm doing his job. Its just awful. I don't even think there is a line any more. I'm doing a lot of the directing and he does not even care. I'm just worried that this might back lash on me. What can I do to prevent that? I mentioned to him that maybe one day we can sit down and write out who's jobs are who's but he pretty much just said, you job is my job when I don't do it. (He did not say that, that is how I interpreted what he said.)

This sounds like a bigger problem to me. It's one thing to say he has a hard time delegating, but when you take over his job when he's away and sneak around and make the cast lie about it...this is a pretty big issue of people not knowing their own jobs' boundaries. You really need to sit down and at the very least make a list of jobs that are definitely his, definitely yours, and things you can both work on together. Even deciding things like "scheduling rehearsal times is up to me, what happens during rehearsal is up to you" will be helpful. You need to figure out your respective domains and then stick to them.
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

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