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Messages - LCSM

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The Green Room / Explaining Stage Management to My Therapist
« on: Oct 22, 2018, 08:38 pm »
Not sure where to put this, so I'm putting it in The Hardline...because it relates to health care...which I have through CAEA. Bit of a stretch, but hey. :)

I'm starting sessions with a new therapist soon, and I'd like to send them a short summary of what a stage manager does, and what the career is like. My former therapist worked with a lot of performing artists, and it was great to talk to someone who already understood the job and the lifestyle, but unfortunately I have to switch things up.

I've found some websites/links that do a good job breaking down the day-to-day responsibilities (scheduling, taking blocking, calling the show, etc.), but I'm struggling to find something that addresses the "soft skills" involved (leading the company, looking out for their well-being, managing conflicts/personalities, etc.) that take more emotional energy.

Does anyone have any links/literature that touches on this? Do you have any favourite ways of explaining/summarizing it?

I tend to default to the "I'm like a personal assistant, but to twenty people instead of just one" line when I speak to friends and family, but I'd love something a little more tailored/nuanced for this particular situation.

P.S. Realizing it's been a LONG time since I've posted anything...though I have been lurking. Hi!!

Tools of the Trade / Re:
« on: Jul 11, 2017, 10:43 pm »
Haven't used Basecamp before, but in my last year of school my program tried using Slack, which seems to be pretty much the same thing; it aims to combine everything we already do - text, e-mails, Dropbox, etc. - in one place.

I found the program easy enough to use, with some fun features, but didn't end up actually using it much. Partly because all our other systems of communication were in place (and working just no real incentive to change), and partly because we had to use e-mail/Dropbox/whatever as soon as we were working with someone outside our department (which was almost always). In the end, as I recall, we mostly used it as a social/casual group chat, and infrequently at that.

It's designed to be used in an office setting, where you have the same team of people working together all the time, and I can see it being successful in that context. But, as an SM, I didn't find it particularly useful. It just became one more thing I had to check in case someone had left me a message...far less simple/direct than an e-mail or text. (The number of times someone texted me to say they'd sent me a Slack message......arrrgh!)

Stage Management: Other / Re: Paging Calls in Opera
« on: Jul 11, 2017, 08:29 pm »
My call for principals sounds something like: "Ms. Lastname and Mr. Lastname to stage left; Mr. Otherlastname to stage right, please."x2  I like to specify SL/SR as it can't hurt and doesn't take much time.

When calling groups to the stage (I do a lot of baroque opera, so this tends to be ballet dancers) I like to include a little info about what's coming up, eg. "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Ballet to backstage for the Act 2 Passacaille/Angry Demon Scene/Golden Apple Dance/Whatever." If I'm only calling a few dancers or chorus members I'll use last names, like I would for the principals.

Not sure about the one in the original posting, if it was mid-show. However, this one I think is wonderful - after the curtain call of the public dress rehearsal.

Yes, this is pretty heart-warming.

"Sandor Sturbl, 28, stopped the finale of a performance to ask his girlfriend and co-star Lilly-Jane Young if she would marry him."

Leaving aside my personal opinions about proposals in public, my first thought was the same as yours - it really doesn't jive with the story that's just been told. After curtain call, okay. Before curtain call, no, I probably wouldn't let that happen.

The Green Room / Re: Interview with SM for Wicked
« on: Jan 04, 2014, 08:47 pm »
This is great. Thanks for the link.

« on: Jan 01, 2014, 02:31 am »
Thanks for the throwback! Fun how some topics - glowtape, nudity - just keep coming up. :)

« on: Dec 27, 2013, 09:36 am »
Happy belated from me too! And thank you for all the work you put into this resource for us - it's been invaluable and wonderful.

New York City Opera has popped up here before, but it looks like they're down for the count this time. They need to raise $7m by Monday or it's all over.

Drama Behind City Opera - WSJ

...and they didn't make it.

"The board and management will begin the necessary financial and operational steps to wind down the company."

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: SCENERY: Sand Onstage
« on: Sep 12, 2013, 05:25 pm »
We used granulated cork for our sand. It's less dense, and less scratchy.

I'm working on a show that's about to go into rehearsals, and they're using cork for sand. They want the stage floor to be quite well-polished and shiny, so they're avoiding real sand which could scratch and dull the floor.

Though I'm still early in my career, I have found over the past few years, that the more crises I handle, the better I get at handling them. The first time I stopped a show, was I pretty shaky? Yes. Did my supervisor have to step in and talk me though the whole thing? Yes. Is that how it's going to be the second time I have to stop a show? I doubt it. Since then, I've had injuries in rehearsal, I've had people arrive with minutes to the performance, I've taken actors to the emergency room, I've taken myself to the emergency room and met an actor also in the emergency room (long story), I've had the lighting board shut down and reboot its self during a show (WHY?!?), all sorts of stuff. Partly, it's a matter of perspective, partly it's just a skill that needs to be developed. Keeping your cool in a stressful situation is not easy, but I have found - like calling a show, taking blocking, prompting, baking muffins, making stained glass windows, swimming, or riding a bike - the more you do it, the more naturally it comes.

And only recently have I come to understand the truth of "All things are not of equal importance." If the show doesn't go according to plan, you've got another shot at it tomorrow (or that evening, if it's a matinee). If it goes badly every night, it's over in a few weeks anyway, and no one dies (hopefully).

Introductions / Re: Greetings from Vancouver!
« on: Jul 19, 2013, 01:09 pm »
I'm in Montreal myself, studying at the National Theatre School. Always so pleased when someone else from Canada shows up on the boards.
What shows have you done recently?

The first interaction I have with the FOH Manager is a sheet I send them that lists all the info for the show - running times, my contact information, the name of the director and playwright, the latecomer call, as well as any strobes, smoking, blood, violence, swearing, etc. that occurs onstage - that they would reasonably need to know. I keep extra printed copies, and I make sure a printed version gets into the FOH office.

The Green Room / Re: Book Club?
« on: Jun 28, 2013, 04:54 pm »
Has anybody read the "Backstage Boys" romance novels by Jennifer Stevenson?

Those are the guys who did tech for the Backstreet Boys, right?   ;)

Introductions / Re: From the West Coast of anada via London
« on: Jun 20, 2013, 08:08 pm »
Hi David,

Welcome to SMNet!

I'm always pleased to find someone else from Canada. (I'm living in Montreal right now, and I've just started studying at the National Theatre School.)

I'd love to hear more about your work, especially as I'm hoping to go on to stage manage opera.


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