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Topics - RuthNY

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The Hardline / Malcolm Ewen
« on: May 21, 2019, 11:15 am »
Malcolm Ewen, Stage Manager, first SM to be named as a member of the Steppenwolf Ensemble, Equity Councillor, Artistic Director, Director, Negotiator, Mentor, Friend, and all around best person ever, has passed away.  He was a member of this board, although in recent years he didn't post often.  Malcolm was a Titan of our industry and will be missed forever.

The Green Room / Stage Management Resources: Articles and Blogs
« on: May 16, 2016, 09:30 am »
Let's start posting and collecting links in this thread, to articles and blog posts having to do with our craft!

Here's one I found this morning:

Tools of the Trade / Purchasing Gaff and Spike Tape
« on: Mar 05, 2016, 10:34 am »
From what vendors do you order your supplies of gaff tape and spike tape? Any favorites? Any business to avoid?

The Hardline / #10KforAEA
« on: Mar 05, 2016, 10:04 am »
My fellow Equity members,

I am very excited to announced the launch of a new campaign: ‪#‎10KforAEA‬!

#10KforAEA is an unofficial, member-driven, grassroots campaign with the goal of encouraging 10,000 members of Actors' Equity Association to cast ballots in the 2016 Council Election.

Last year, out of a membership of more than 50,000 actors and stage managers nationwide, only 6182 votes were cast in AEA's Council Election.

As Jed Bartlett wisely said, "Decisions are made by those who show up." So in 2016, we've set an ambitious goal to raise the number of voters to 10,000.

In 2016, we want to get 10K for AEA!

Click the link below and like the #10KforAEA Facebook Page,
Follow #10KforAEA on Twitter at,
and join our introductory Thunderclap at

Finally, on Monday we will be opening up a new discussing group, the "#10KforAEA Forum", a place for discussions of all campaign-related topics, ideas, and thoughts. We hope to see you all there!

Job Postings / Seeking SM Intern for Summer Season
« on: Feb 18, 2016, 03:37 pm »
I am seeking a Stage Management Intern for my summer gig at the Alpine Theatre Project in Whitefish, MT.   I would love to find a rising junior or senior, or someone just out of college, interested in being part of a three person SM team for three musicals, in Rep. in a beautiful part of the country. (First week of June through the first or second week of August.) Anyone interested in the Intern position should send their resume, cover letter and references to Betsi Morrison, Artistic Director, Alpine Theatre Project, Put "SM Intern" in the subject line. Thanks!

When you submit your Rehearsal/Performance report, but there is nothing to communicate to a particular department, what phrase or sentence do you use to inform them of this? (Yes, there's a reason for this question, but I'd like to hear  your input, first.)

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

The Hardline / AEA Council Election 2015
« on: Apr 15, 2015, 02:53 pm »
Fellow AEA Members,

Please turn out to vote in the current AEA Council Election! The paper ballots should drop today or tomorrow, and online voting is already available.  If you did not pre-register to vote online, you can still do so by using the "Internet Number" on your paper ballot.

If you've never voted before, or you think you don't know enough about the issues, read the candidates' statements on AEA's website, in the current issue of Equity News, or in the mailing with the paper ballot, and find a voice or voices that may echo your own ideas. I encourage you to vote for the maximum number of candidates possible in each category, or for as many candidates whose ideas and statements speak to you.  It takes all kinds of experience and many different opinions to populate a successful legislative body!

If I'm preaching to the choir, and you are a regular voter, then please, encourage all your AEA friends and colleagues to vote, actors and stage managers alike.  Only about 7000 of us, out of about 50,000 members in good standing voted in the last election.  We can do better this year!

And yes, I am on the ballot this year, running for an Eastern Region Stage Manager seat, and I am asking for your support!

You can read my statement on the ballot or in Equity News, but here is a copy of my speech, presented at the April 10th Membership Meeting, which is similar, but a touch longer:

"Good afternoon, and thank you, fellow members, for attending today, and listening so carefully to the statements of the candidates.

Our Eastern Stage Manager Councillors are a team of experts, all specialists, with a vast, current working knowledge of Production, Touring, Off-Broadway, and Business Theatre Contracts.

But I am also a specialist. My 32-year work history is primarily in all levels of LORT, Stock, URTA, TYA, and developing theatre contracts. I live in New York City, but most of my jobs take me out of town, where I interact with a diverse group of regional actors. I Chair the National Stock Committee, and both lead and serve on negotiating teams. My forté lies in being a voice for Actors and Stage Managers who have not worked in Production or Off-Broadway, either by circumstance, geography, or choice, members who struggle to retain their creativity, and make a living solely on medium and smaller sized contracts.

The challenges facing us today are common to all regions. We must expand the scope of Equity’s live theatre jurisdiction, capture and improve touring contracts, as well as increase our use of technology, not only to nationalize electronic audition sign up, but also to reach out to members who may feel disenfranchised, encouraging all to speak to Equity in their own voices. We must think creatively and optimistically at the negotiating table, crafting solutions that keep our contracts strong and our workplaces safe, not compromising our resolve at the table, but keeping theatres open!

Representing you on Council is a privilege not to be taken lightly. I ask for your vote, so that I may contrast with, yet complete, the Eastern SM Councillor contingent, and advocate on the behalf of all my colleagues, in your Council Room, just as I do in your Rehearsal Hall."

Please PM or email me with any questions you might have.  Thanks so much!

Ruth E. Kramer

Employment / Overqualified?
« on: Feb 11, 2015, 06:50 pm »
After receiving many resumes for a recent job opportunity I posted, and seeing the very broad range of experience that the applicants have, even though a specific experience range was requested, these questions were brought to mind:  In YOUR opinion can someone be "overqualified" for a position? If  you applied for a position for which you are "overqualified," would you expect to be completely happy in the job?

(This is not about any specific resume or application I received, so please, don't anyone assume I'm talking about you. I'm not.  I am asking a general question.  Thanks!)

The Hardline / AEA SMs and your Meal Breaks--some questions
« on: Jan 31, 2015, 04:26 pm »
Some questions for AEA Stage Managers, having to do with your meal breaks, most specifically between a rehearsal and a performance, or two performances.

On the contract(s) you work under most frequently:

What is the contractual break between a rehearsal and a performance?  What is the contractual break between two performances?

Does your theatre/producer/employer expect that Stage Managers will take the same break as the actors, or are Stage Managers expected to be working earlier than the actors (i.e.: earlier than the actors’ half hour call?)

If so, does your AEA contract allow this, or even speak to it at all?

Have you been officially instructed to arrive earlier than the actors, or do you simply believe this is what good Stage Managers do, without being instructed to? Or, is there another reason you arrive earlier?

Does your theatre/producer/employer pay you for having a shorter break than the actors do?

Are you expected to do other performance or rehearsal related work over a meal break (not including scheduling, communicating, etc.)? For the purposes of this question, you may consider your rehearsal meal break. (For example, are you expected to set up for a run through, scheduled to begin at the top of the afternoon’s call, during your meal break?)

Has anyone ever had a discussion with an AEA Business Rep. about any of the above situations? If you have, what was the outcome?

And finally, what are your opinions about the above situations?

Please feel free to answer as fully or as cryptically as you desire.  I'm just curious if anyone else has thought about this as much as I have.

Thanks for your time. If you’d prefer to answer privately, please feel free to do so.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Headset Chatter Blog
« on: Dec 25, 2014, 09:55 am »
I have no idea who this SM is (are you here on SMNetwork...?) but I find her latest blog post to be very interesting reading.

Here are two hypothetical scenarios for discussion. What would, or did you do, if you were to encounter, or have have encountered these situations? In both situations, the actor in question has NOT revealed the information on a medical emergency form, but comes to you, privately.

1. Your leading lady tells you she has a medical condition that causes seizures. It is possible, although not probable that she might have a seizure onstage during a performance. However, she doesn't want management or the Director to know, because it might affect her ability to be hired in the future, if they know of even a possible medical issue.  What do you do?

2.  A featured player tells you he has a a medical device in his body that could be affected by proximity to equipment that might discharge a magnetic field. You, as stage manager, aren't qualified to analyze all the equipment onstage and assure the actor of his safety, or assure the theatre of the actor's safety. Again, the actor wants his medical information to be kept confidential. What do you do?

The Hardline / Notes After Half Hour-Dance Captain Impunity?
« on: Jul 31, 2014, 12:19 pm »
I've wanted to put this query out for discussion for a while, and am just getting around to it.  This is not a situation that needs immediate solving, it is a philosophical/"cultural" question, on which I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts.

On AEA contracts that have the stipulation, "No notes shall be given after half hour call" (and not all of our contracts have this clause, most notably the LORT contract...) why does does it seem professionally acceptable for the Dance Captain to go in and out of Dressing Rooms during half hour, to give notes? When the Director, Producer, and Stage Manager etc. are banned from doing this (except when safety is at stake, or in another kind of emergency) it seems almost universally, yes even "culturally" acceptable,  for the Dance Captain to have impunity from following this rule.

I'd love to hear any and all thoughts on how this came to be, if you also find this to be true, if anyone has ever approached a Dance Captain to discuss it, and what came out of the discussion.

The Green Room / Girl in the Dark Blog
« on: Jun 26, 2014, 09:36 am »
From a British Stage Manager, on touring, sexism, steelies, and personal growth through truck loading.

The Green Room / Mini Rant---SM T-shirts and products
« on: Jun 14, 2014, 06:47 pm »
There's been a proliferation lately of products for the Stage Manager, among others, T-shirts. While it is fun to see our profession immortalized on clothing, mugs, and bags, etc., I have a problem with most of the the designs I've seen, and that is that the sayings on them either aggrandize us, or insult our colleagues. We are not Gods with all the answers nor are our colleagues lazy or stupid.  I know it's all in good fun, but I have yet to find one I would actually wear--one that identifies what I do without insulting my actors or other co-workers, and one that doesn't make it seem like my ego is huge, and I think I'm above everyone else based on my job title. Neither of those two extremes work for me, and both are dangerous in a professional setting.  Does anyone actually ever purchase and wear these things?

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