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Messages - Rosemary

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Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / PROPS: Helium Tank Onstage
« on: Jan 29, 2008, 02:03 am »
Working on a show whose script requires that not only must a huge bunch of helium-filled balloons be onstage, but that some of them get filled during the performance.  

I've looked into Super High Float to make the balloons last longer.  I'm wondering if anyone has ideas/thoughts aout buying vs. renting a helium tank (it's a 6 week run, plus a week of tech) on the cheap.

Also, any thoughts on safety would be welcome!

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Stop The Show!
« on: Dec 07, 2006, 11:16 pm »
I have never had to stop a show - but I have a question regarding the topic.  Does everyone talk through with their cast what to do in case the show must stop for some reason? 

I've thought about this before but I'm not sure how other people handle it.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Producing New Plays
« on: Dec 07, 2006, 03:06 pm »
I've stage managed the past 3 seasons for a company of playwrights - everything we do is a new work!  I know it can seem like hell sometimes.  All of the tips given so far are great - I have just a few others.

First off, along with my prompt book, I keep a giant binder which is just the progression of the script. I put the original version in first and then just add copies of any changes made (I use dividers to separate each date). Often, the director or playwright will come to you two weeks after making a change and say "I like what we used to have, do you know what it is?"  This way, you can just flip to that date in your binder and find it easily.  (I use a form similar to what was suggested above w/Original line and new line).  At the end of the show, I typically give the binder to the playwright - it's nice for them to have that process documented.

Also, as much as possible, when formatting the script (if you are the one doing it - which I recommend!) - insert as many section breaks as possible between scenes.  This way, if pages are deleted from one scene - especially early in the script - you can keep the other page #s the same (it may seem weird to have a script with missing pages, but I've found this easier in the end).  If pages are added to one scene - you can use letters (page 10a) so again, the rest of the script keeps the same numbers - this way you can save on the amount of the script you actually have to reprint.  This of course, is for large changes that can't easily e written in.

Most importantly, I've learned that it's so important to make sure all actors have changes before rehearsal.  There's nothing more frustrating than running a scene and having to stop to give line changes.  Talk to the director about taking 5-10 minutes to give changes at the end or start of each rehearsal.  I've learned that if you do it right, this shouldn't really take very long.  The way I say changes is something like this:

"Page 53, halfway down.  Lucy's line "It's so cold outside tonight". Change 'so cold' to 'freezing' and 'tonight' to 'this evening'.  Cut 'outside'. It should read 'It's freezing this evening'."

A silly example because the line's so short, but you get the point. It gives everyone a chance to write the changes and hear how it should sound so they can make sure they got it.  This way you won't have to stop to clarify as often.

I hope some of this is useful - good luck!  Have fun - it's exciting to work on a new script!

Help!  I've lost ALL my paperwork on my computer and I need to have contracts written for designers ASAP.  Anyone have samples (or know where to find them) for designers' contracts??


Employment / Under what circumstance is it right to...?
« on: Apr 13, 2006, 09:38 pm »
I have had to back out of two jobs for better paying ones or for extreme personal circumstances BUT I think it is imperative to find a replacement before you quit - especially if it's a young company who can't afford to pay well. They may have had a hard enough time finding you so the least you can do is help them fill the position.

SMNetwork Archives / Spike Tape Problems
« on: Apr 13, 2006, 09:33 pm »
I once had a friend call in a favor and ended up on her running crew during teach week of a show she was SMing (someone had broken their foot or some other injury).

I was paired with what was probably a fairly intelligent young man to do all of my scene changes with. Being on the other side of the relationship, I discovered that the biggest issue with crews is that they typically lack the sense of urgency that we stage managers tend to have. Although it drove me crazy to try to get this guy to get ready and remember what we had to do before each change (of which there were many), I learned a lot about how to motivate crews.

What I suggested to the SM was that we have a separate rehearsal for the crew to run changes so they can feel important and comfortable.  Also, she got the director to announce the night before at tech that the show was running X amount of time, which was too long.  The next day, post our separate practice, the SM announced how much time was shaved off due to the run crew.  It can't work for every show, but sometimes just making it a race against time helps tremendously.

I am doing a show that requires an actor to be tied to a chair (while sitting it in), and his mouth taped closed for over half an hour onstage.  During the scene, he gets hit several times in the head with a hammer so we needed for the ropes to be able to have tension so that he could react with his hands and legs.

We've figured out a way to tie him up without him actually being bound to the chair but I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on knots to use or a way to rig rope so in emergency situations, the actor could get loose. Our method was not ideal but it was the best we could come up with.


I was just asked by a small company to be their production manager for some upcoming shows.  I've worked with them informally before but can anyone explain the difference between a PM and a SM?

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