Author Topic: New SM in an older body!  (Read 1650 times)

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New SM in an older body!
« on: Sep 05, 2022, 03:40 pm »
I happened upon SM Network and couldn't be happier. I got a master's in theater, graduating in 2009. I immediately did everything but proper stage management. I have been a project manager, a production manager, and an event planner. This past July through a series of divine (I think) interventions I was hired on my first AEA contract at an RPT 4 theater outside Philadelphia. I had a steep learning curve when it came to AEA protocols. I somehow have managed to make it to tech week relatively unscathed--learning as I go. The overlay of AEA over the job has rattled my cage a bit. So far though I am very impressed with the level of professionalism amongst the designers and actors.
My favorite story regarding being a stage manager involves my thesis project in school. A very high-profile director was coming from China to direct our students. He didn't speak English but would have a translator. It turns out that the translator didn't know theater terms. She was a woman, and therefore subservient to the male director in their culture. So when he asked for the entire front-of-house lighting to be taken down (um, no) and I asked her to tell him that we couldn't do that. Her face flushed and she ran out of the room. Three months before they were to arrive I sent a short five-question list about how the director wanted to handle auditions and first rehearsals. (Does he want to start with a table reading?) stuff like that. Two days before opening night I was driving them back to their hotel. She pulled out my questions and asked me about them. What I learned is that the Chinese system of theater doesn't have a stage manager. They have captains of each department but not a person who functions in the same way as the stage manager in Western theater. Since I was at every function they attended in and out of the theater, they thought I was some kind of a liaison. I realized early on that their translator was adept in social situations but unaware of the many nuances of theater terminology. Being a good stage manager, I got a friend to be MY translator. He was fluent in Mandarin, and a theater person so he knew theater. He alone saved the show.
That is my wildest (and first) SM experience!
I look forward to contributing to the community!