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Messages - smsam

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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Bows
« on: Jul 19, 2007, 05:55 pm »
Never Ever Ever in England/ The UK!
I have never seen nor worked on a professional show where the crew/ smgmnt etc. took a bow or were gestured to by the company during there bows. And thank god it is that way!

The only people, I believe, the cast should acknowledge/ gesture to during the curtain call is the band/ orchestra if applicable but never ever the crew!


I just have to say that being "pretty sure" is not the same as being sure.
But in the same vain it's still not a "rumor". I'm not quite sure of the point your trying to make here.

I think probably another point to consider is that the people who do know the specifics of what happened, either through working on the show or having friends on the show, are VERY unlikely to share that information here, on a public internet forum which anyone can read.


Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: set changes
« on: Jun 07, 2007, 04:03 am »
I think without having to 'stage it' there are certain rules etc. that you can put into place that makes any "seen" (i.e. infront of a curtain or setting line) scene-changes look much neater...
  • Never (ever) talk on-stage during the change to other crew members
  • Never run and never dawdle - a brisk 'ASM Walk' with purpose
  • Never look out/ clock the audience. It looks strange
  • If possible (and if it's not a huge stage) exit the opposite side to where you enter. i.e. your walking in a straight line and not turning around

Quite standard stuff but these are things I normally try to instill in my crews from the very beginning!


Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: set changes
« on: Jun 05, 2007, 10:49 am »
I really don't think anyone can have a "goal scene change time" to aim towards. The time it will take will vary on lots and lots of different factors, specific to each individual scene change and each show. I would not expect nor require a scene-change which involves striking two chairs to take the same time as a scene change which involves setting four trucks, giving automation clears, adjusting a revolve and bring in flying pieces!

Every Stage Manager should be aiming towards the quickest possible and safest possible change. You can do no better than that... Even if the audience do loose their concontration/ attention span after 'X' no. of seconds I, when SMing a show, don't really care - I only care if we are not completing the change in the fastest & SAFEST possible way.


I know several people working on current West-End shows and all of them have confidentiality-clauses within their contract, so I would be pretty sure that LOTR staff has similar items in their contracts. Even if they didn't you would be one unpopular crew member if you came onto a public internet forum or went to the newspapers and shared exactly what had gone wrong, why and whos fault it was!


I have to say I hate nothing more than using herbal ciggs! They are FOUL and they have such a strong smell that everyone can immediately tell your not smoking real ones.


To be honest not much is known at all! There have been several news reports but they all contain the same basic information.

It looks like the actor in question got his leg stuck in part of the automation, most probably a lift of some sort (although that's just speculation), and cried out/ was screaming. At first audiences reported they thought it was part of the show but then, and this I find the most chilling part, he started screaming "my leg, my leg" and the audience realized was wrong. From that point forward there was a standard show stop (blamed on 'technical reasons') and the audience were sent home.

We're unlikely to get any more detailed/ real information because everyone on the show (like most west-end shows) will have singed a confidentiality agreement within their contract so they are not at liberty to explain. As for the adjustments before it reopens again today, I would imagine they would be more adjustments to blocking, e-stop systems/ procedures etc. rather than physical change to the automation systems and design but again that's just speculation.

Sam x

PS - It had been reported (can't remember where) that the actor in question didn't even break his leg so luckily he should make a speedy recovery. x

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Who Runs the Tech?
« on: May 12, 2007, 10:48 am »
This is all really interesting. It seems there are differences in the UK but overall the principals of a tech are very similar.

Over here (and I'm speaking in terms of professional commercial theatre now) the Stage Manager always runs the tech. The difference is, is that the SM isn't the one 'On the Book', thats the Deputy Stage Manager. The ASMs then 'run the deck', if you like, running/ managing the crew with the SM.

The DSM will normally always meet with each of the designers before the tech to do a cue-session/ pre-plot. This is where the designers will place the cues in 'The Book' with the DSM. Depending on how technically complex the scene changes are the next thing (after the load-in/ fit-up/ focus/ sound check etc.) would be scene change/ shift rehearsal where the Stage Manager and the Automation Department go change by change choreographing the scene shifts.

Once this is done (if required) and the Lighting and Sound if plotted the tech can start. As far as running the tech is concerned the SM takes overall control. For cue-heavy shows your likely to run all the way through however for more clasical plays perhaps with long monologues you are likely to jump around more. You start at the top and anytime anyone wants to stop (i.e. the DSM on book, Designers, Directors etc.) they must ask the Stage Manager who will call stop. The Stage Manager will then ask the DSM where they should go from in the script and the Stage Manger will reset the stage and actors to this place while the DSM deals with resetting the lighting/ sound etc. When the DSM and all the Designers are happy to resume they will ask the SM to continue and she/ he will communicate this to the cast (normally with a "OK, When your ready Thank-You" - or similar).

This system seems to work really well, especially when you've got a lot of production departments (i.e. Lighting, Sound, AV, Automation, Flys etc.) because the DSM is free to concentrate on practicing calling the show correctly and dealing with the Production Team whereas the SM can deal with the cast onstage/ designers/ director and ASMs. It also means the SMs voice is the only one ever to be heard over the God Mic/ Onstage so its nice and clear for the cast...

Thoughts? Opinions? Views?

Sam x

Hi All,

Just curious really... In the 'US Style' of Stage Management (where the SM actually calls the show) who runs the technical rehearsal?

Because in the UK the DSM (Deputy Stage Manager) runs/ calls the show the Stage Manager will run the tech in liason with the DSM on the book and all the designers and ops.

Also just wondering what peoples preferred methods of running techs are. I personally would rather run all the way through (just skipping large monologues) if time allows but if not I'll just go cue-to-cue. But other Stage Managers I know like to go to each entrance/ exit or cue (which ever is first...).

Just curious!

Sam x

Stage Management: Other / Re: Award Show
« on: Apr 22, 2007, 05:29 pm »
I would say that perhaps the key here, as others have said, is installing some lighting so only the stage area is lit and the auditorium is darkness. This will go a long long way to making the space feel more 'theatrical'/ formal. It will also pull focus to the stage more and give you better effects from your video screen (as there will be less ambient light). Then throw some colour up the walls and wollah, you have a nice venue (ish!).

So for lighting [if you can afford it and if you have any rigging points to hang a bit of truss or scaff OR if you've got anywhere to hang lanterns already] all you'd really need is a few fresnels (how many will depend on how wide or deep your stage area is) and maybe then some par-cans or more fresnels to do some back light, which will do wonders for athestics. If you put the backlight in a more saturated colour then this will give it some more 'glitz'. Keep the frontlight either warm or cold.

Just a few thoughts!

Sam x

Employment / Re: London
« on: Mar 25, 2007, 03:53 pm »
Hmm... There are plenty of places in London where you might be able to get some 'Work Experience' (from a few nights to a few weeks) but it will probably be much harder to find a place that could offer you a formal 'Internship' scheme, just because they don't really exist in the UK (not for English anyway).

Trying places like the RSC (not in London though), NT, Old Vic, Donmar etc. will probably be your best bet as they are producing houses. From your perspective an Internship on a West-End show wouldn't provide you with anywhere near the same scope or experience as a placement at a producing house would just because in the West End you do exactly the same job night after night! 

If you were prepared to look around outside of London (Like Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff etc.) you may have even more luck.

Let us know how you get on and where you end up!

Good Luck!
Sam x

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: YAle Short Hand
« on: Mar 25, 2007, 03:47 pm »
I made a VERY simple blocking notation key for one of my new assistants a while ago, here it is!

Sam x

SMNetwork Archives / Re: Vacation! London/Paris
« on: Mar 10, 2007, 04:12 pm »
If you can get out of London at all what about a visit to Stratford to RSC, that's got to be worth a little visit!
As for things to do in good old London Town, 'The Sound of Music' in the West-End at the moment is quite spectacular if you like Musical Theatre. If your looking to get away from the Theatre thing then just doing the normal sites like Trafalgar Square, The South Bank (where you'll find the National Theatre, The London Eye, The Tate Modern),  Buckingham Palace etc. etc can be fun! If your looking for nice bars, pubs, resteraunts and shopping go to Angel which is a lovely area! If your looking for a fun (/ very camp!) night out hit Soho where there's plenty of fun to be had.

Good (torusity) shopping for clothes and electronics (which obviously you'll find so much more expensive over here!) can be found at Oxford Street.

If you've got any more specific questions just ask and I'll try my best!

Sam x

Tools of the Trade / Re: New Tallescope ruling in UK
« on: Mar 04, 2007, 04:22 pm »
Tallescopes are about the MOST common way of rigging/ focussing at height here in the UK (at small and big houses)! Thats quite strange you don't really have them in the US as they are VERY popular here.

As for the rumor I'm afraid, as much as I hate tallescopes, it's complete and utter rubbish! The government do not/ would not have the power to put a blanket ban on a product like that generally. There are currently various investigations, committees and research from all angles (HSE, ABTT, PLASA etc.) looking into the safety of moving a tallescope while someone's in the basket but abosultely no way will the government blanket-ban this product!

Sam x

I would personally advise against overshadowing the news with something worse!

When my parents found out that I was gay it certainly wasn't the right time to drop any other "bomb-shells" on them! They were coming to terms with one at a time!

Be careful...

Sam x

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