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Topics - SMeustace

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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Is it a norm?
« on: Aug 24, 2015, 04:28 am »
While I was a production assistant for a theater it was my job with the ASM to prep food, do presets, intermission shift and post-show clean up. During the entire tech rehearsal period and the two week run, the SM may have came down from the booth once to act as a sub house manager and came backstage at least once during intermission. All calls were given on backstage paging. The entrance to the booth was located in a hallway that's off limits to the patrons/public so technically part of the backstage area. 

As a SM I like to check-in on my ASM and departments/crews during intermission sort of like a progress report and try to check-in with the cast. I might even assist with moving props and set pieces when I notice the ASMs struggling and If i can help.

I'm not sure whether it is because of our difference in our styles or if i'm micro-mangaging a bit too much?

Is it a "norm" that SMs barely leave the booth during intermission except if some big trouble or issues comes up?

Background info: The SM wasn't the show's original SM as this show was remounted for the summer. Its original opening was early spring.

As an ASM what do you prefer to work off for tech & performances? Do you have your script with deck/prop moves, cues, costume changes etc. written in your script or run sheets? What do you have backstage once the curtain goes up?

If you were teaching one or two people to ASM who will run the deck while you call the show, would you encourage them to work one way rather than the other? Why? Do you have them mark their scripts in a certain way during the rehearsal period?

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

At the beginning of each production I obtain groundplans and preliminary piece lists from my scenic and costume designers. If i have any questions or concerns regarding transitions, Q's, costume changes I discuss them (preferably in person) with the designers.

I am unsure what I information I should have as a SM from my other designers for my prompt book. Should I request lighting and sound plots? Instrument schedules? Preliminary plots or requirements? Discuss equipment that's planned to be on deck and/or stored backstage with them. I usually find my electrics and sound tabs to be quite thin. 

What paperwork/information should I start requesting and asking from my designers?
What usual information do you ask from your designers during prep week or during early part of rehearsal/build process?

I understand that every theater/production/company/designer differs from another, but I would really appreciate a guide or something I could work from as a basis. Thank you.

[Student stage manager @ university]

Edited to add topic tag - Maribeth

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / RUNNING: Wardrobe Runsheet
« on: Jun 05, 2015, 08:27 am »
Is the SM (or ASM) responsible for making the wardrobe runsheet or Quick change plot for the run for the crew/dressers? If so how much input do you have regarding to where and when changes need to take place? Do you coordinate this with the wardrobe master or costumer or do they handle all of it (Q sheets,plots, etc.)?

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

What responsibilities or duties does a Production Manager typically or normally do once the show opens? Are they always present for each show?

Are they in charge of schedules, calling tardy crew, etc.

Edited to add title tag. - Maribeth

If the theater has a no policy in regards to open flame (candles) and fog/haze can the Stage Manager say no if the director requests for it during rehearsal? Or should the stage manager add the note in the rehearsal report regardless?

The director is a student director and its part of a directing showcase.

Mostly asking if its alright as the stage manager to say no or give an alternative to the director if the SM knows the policies such as this.

Edited to add topic tag and clarify title. - Maribeth

Do you only include what your director says or tells you to put in the rehearsal report? Or do you occasionally add things the director did not tell you to include.

A friend of mine was SM'ing one show and he told me how'd the director only wanted him to write notes for the rehearsal report only after directly telling him to include it in the report. The director would get mad if he included notes that the director did not tell him to include.

Usually in my rehearsal report I would include things that the director did not directly say or tell me to make a note. For example if we blocked the scene with actors crawling and kneeling I would include a note on how the actors were blocked to crawl and kneel in my costumes section. So the costume designer would know the type of physical activity the actors were doing. If an actor was blocked to turn off a light switch I would include that as a note for Lights.

Is what I'm doing wrong or is it something that SM's should occasionally do?

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

What is a stage manager's relationship with IATSE and/or union stagehands and crewmembers? In terms of scheduling, distributing jobs/assignments, cue sheets, call times, breaks and etc.?

Can they have a crew member be called at a certain or specific time or is it by the authority of someone else (PM?)

What sort of things do you like/want to talk to a new director or one that you will be working with for the first time? Do you prefer to get straight into the business and schedules or not? What would be too-soon questions?

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

If a director, actor, designer or someone working for the production has to contact you for a question or letting you know they'll be late..What's your preferred method of them contacting you?

Phone call? Text? Email?

And does it matter which method they contact you depending on the reason?

Edited to add topic tag - Maribeth

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Deputy?
« on: Aug 02, 2014, 01:25 pm »
I've searched the boards, but couldn't find an answer other than rulings of electing one and alike.

What exactly is a deputy? What responsibilities does she/he has? What qualifications does one have to have to be a deputy or elected?

Could the role of deputy translate at all in a educational/community theater setting? (of course with some changes or something.Perhaps to be more of an educational tool of what a deputy is and does)

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / RUNNING: Calling Half-Hour
« on: Aug 01, 2014, 04:09 pm »
At what time do you generally call Half-Hour and does it typically mean half hour to places or to curtain?

I generally say "Half hour to curtain", as my places call is sometimes 3-5 minutes before curtain, depending on the size of the cast and how long they would have to travel. If, we're holding house I make sure my actors are notified that we are holding house for x minutes.

Edited to add topic tag. - Maribeth

Are there rules or standards that deal with giving notes to the cast/crew?

On one show (which was in a community college setting) I tried something new. I copied some notes from my performance reports onto a sheet next to the schedule/sign-in sheet. The notes were separated by actors/stage management, set, lights, sound and so on. The notes were things like "the bed was slightly off spike last night, can we run the transition at 6", "I could see so-and-so during scene x", "discovered that the doorframe was broken and won't shut properly", "button on so-and-so's jacket fell off, button in pocket". 

Any note for actors (other than general notes) I would speak to them in person or include the note in envelopes addressed to that actor on the callboard.

I wanted to make sure if this method is/would be unacceptable, should possibly return to this, or "revise it".     

I'd really appreciate your advice and input. Thank you.

Edited to add topic tag - Maribeth

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / COMMUNICATION: Call Times
« on: Jul 28, 2014, 07:19 am »
In what way do you give the cast/crew their call time for the next day?

At school I've always swing by the theatre department to post that day's schedule (which also doubles as a sign-in sheet) before I leave for class or whatever I have planned before rehearsal. If any changes are made I would write in/cross out/whiteout the changes, then only contact the people who would be affected by the change. If i'm unable to drop by the theatre department for any reason, I contact my ASM to make the changes on the callboard.

I also send out weekly schedule via email. But at the first cast/crew meeting I tell them that those schedules sent by email are subject to change and to always rely on checking the callboard or contact Stage Management.

Edited to add topic tag - Maribeth

What is the difference of a production Stage Manager (PSM) and a Stage Manager (SM) in terms of responsibilities and tasks? What about in professional theater settings and/or in companies producing two or more shows at around the same time?

Edited to add topic tag. - Maribeth

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