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Messages - Tempest

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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Stage Manager Duties
« on: Sep 15, 2017, 02:45 pm »
I wouldn't say it's standard, but it's not entirely unheard of, either. Especially if there are no understudies in the picture. Though this typically becomes less of a possibility as you move up to more "prestigious" theatres. I can't imagine a LORT contract telling the SM, "by the way, you're also the understudy."

I've had to step into a performer's role, though only in rehearsal, a few times. And my ability to step in and perform in an emergency has been a theatre's back-up plan, more than once. The secondary stage manager at my current theatre was just informed by our producer that, if our (very) pregnant lead has to step out for health reasons, she'll be stepping in and the ME will run lights and sound.

But the ideal circumstance would be to have at least one understudy, and let the stage manager worry about stage managing!

Hey, all, I could really use some help, here! The theatre at which I'm resident has a long history of offering internships in several fields: Scenic, Electrics and Puppet shops, Performance, Marketing, Museum, and I'm sure I've missed a few. I've been asked to open up a Stage Management internship. I had one fantastic intern, last summer, and I have two more lined up in the new year.

But I'll be completely frank; I flew by the seat of my pants with that last intern. I've been given no extra time to prepare a program, and no guidance on what I'm supposed to do with them! Last time I just treated her like an ASM in rehearsal, and trained her as a potential replacement SM for performances; she ran one public performance. It seemed to work out.
If anyone else has run SM internships, I'd really love to hear from you, and what you included/didn't include in your program. Also, if you had a really great, or really awful internship experience, please share that, and why it was so wonderful/scarring, too!

For additional information, this is a small, professional but non-equity theatre where I run sound/lights/mics myself, there are no running crew/ASM positions, and 90% of the time all our designers are in house. Interns are brought in from first day of rehearsal through opening. No prep week, no run weeks. The previous resident SM did not take on interns, as far as I can tell.

I have, at least, been able to stipulate that I won't take anyone without at least a few shows of SM or ASM experience. It's a one and a half woman department; we don't have time to train anyone from the ground up!

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

The Green Room / Re: Line Notes: How soon is too soon?
« on: Sep 30, 2016, 11:52 am »
I think it also depends on the show. If you're doing a show based on extremely well known text (I've done shows based on Edgar Allan Poe, and Anne Frank's diary, for example) than you really want to make sure all the text is as perfect as it can be, starting from the beginning.
Of course the goal is always to speak the playwrights words, as written. But if an occasional "blue and perfect" instead of "perfect and blue" slips out, it's less of an issue in works a lot of people aren't already familiar with.

The Center for Puppetry Arts started doing sensory friendly performances about...a year and a half ago, I think. We've gotten to the point where we try to do one for almost every show we do, and even asked some of our guest artists if they would participate, as well. It's been a really great experience for both staff and the audiences. We've even had a number of families come back for non-adjusted shows!
We've found that a lot of the work we do for these shows is managing expectations and keeping everything running on time. All of our shows contain a post-show demo; for the sensory friendly ones, we move that demo to the front of the show. Then we make sure to demo anything that might be startling like a particularly large puppet, or potentially overloading, like a rock-n-roll trip through space with lights, video and the whole shebang. And, particular to us, we have to specifically mention that the puppeteers are there the whole time, even if you can't see them.
We do keep the house lights at half, the doors open, run sound at a slightly lower level overall, and remove any strobes. But that's really about it. For the most part, it really is about giving them a welcoming environment, where they can relax and know they're not going to be asked to leave because their child is "acting up."
On a personal note, we have a family who comes to all of our adjusted shows and their daughter just loves dancing. Any music from transitional scene change music to a big production number, and she is out of her seat, dancing joyfully. I love glancing over and seeing her enjoy the shows, whenever she visits!

Stage Management: Other / Re: Creating a Handbook
« on: Sep 19, 2016, 11:51 am »
Who they need to send performance reports to, and what needs to be in them. I know every place I've ever worked has a slightly different distribution list and slightly different "Oh, we REALLY need to know this," random bits of information.
Also, a list of who to contact when something goes wrong. Power goes out, toilets stop up, QLab computer kicks the bucket, etc.

The Green Room / Re: Health Realted Issue
« on: Jul 14, 2016, 03:07 pm »
I have this exact issue with my current show. I have written down the issue and put it in a sealed envelope, in the book, with "IN CASE OF MEDICAL EMERGENCY WITH JOE SHMOE, GIVE THIS INFORMATION TO PARAMEDICS," in big, friendly, highlighted letters. And I told my ASM, and eventual substitute stage manager, about the existence of the envelope.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Simultaneous Shows ?!?
« on: Jul 02, 2016, 02:21 pm »
Wow. This...
I've no advice for you, but PLEASE keep up appraised how the process works out!

Employment / Re: How far are you willing to travel?
« on: Jun 21, 2016, 11:26 am »
I used to live about an hour and fifteen minutes away from the center of my city. The commute was murder on my energy and focus, and it really limited the amount of jobs I was wiling to take on the other side of the city.
At this point in my life, no more than 45 minute commute in my car, or an hour and fifteen minute commute by mass transit. 'Cause then I can get some reading done!

The Green Room / Re: Birth Order
« on: Jun 11, 2016, 02:25 pm »
::looks at the graph::

Wow. That is not exactly within expected standard deviation... I know it's a small sample size, but really!

Wow. I'm floored. I'm very lucky to have never encountered this sort of thing in my professional life, though it may as well have been describing my marriage.
I think what is most terrifying is that, there's nothing, as the stage manager of that company, that you could do. It specifically mentioned that they hired young, inexperienced, and powerless stage managers. And even if one of them could get their heads out of the abuser-induced slow-growing fog, and manage to say something, or take any sort of action, the stage manager in question would be discredited by the rest of the company, like what happened to Benson, in the article. No change would happen, and they'd be out of a job (though that may be better for them!) The Not In Our House initiative is the absolute best thing that could have happened, here.

It's so hard when working with strong personalities and temperamental artists (meant in no disparaging way!) to find and draw that hard line between an abusive environment and "just difficult to work with." And abusers COUNT on that. They know EXACTLY how far to push things, incrementally farther, each time. They create complicity. They cloud issues.
I sincerely hope that no one here ends up in a situation like that, because it's one in which you have no power to DO anything, THERE. The cards are too far stacked against you. Believe me.

Listen to your instincts. Hold tight to your courage, sense of worth, and boundaries for acceptable behavior. Advocate for those weaker than you. Find your resources. Be willing to cut and run. Speak fearlessly about what has happened to those outside the situation. In the sort of institutionalized circumstances described, that's all you can do.
There are, of course, LOTS of potential courses of action in less extreme circumstances, and lots within our power. But the situation described in the article is literally insane.

Tools of the Trade / Re: Scooped Ice Cream on stage
« on: May 26, 2016, 01:26 pm »
Frozen Cool-Whip scoops like ice cream, but is really soft and easy to do. And if they have to eat it, it's relatively low-cal/sugar, for those actors concerned about that.

Tools of the Trade / Re: Kit Usage Statistics
« on: May 18, 2016, 01:15 pm »
Point of clarity:

Only people who are actually using their OWN PERSONAL KITS should contribute to this thread?  I'll be honest - working for regional theatre and commercial producers, I rarely use my SM box.  It sits in my apartment mostly for personal home office use, and has, for the majority of my career.

So I guess my question is about the goal of this thread: track usage of SM supplies, or track usage of supplies provided by SMs from personal inventory?

I'm looking for usage of personal supplies.

Tools of the Trade / Re: Kit Usage Statistics
« on: May 14, 2016, 01:04 pm »
Again, guys, I'm looking for what's getting used out of you kit, as it happens, not just what you're "sure" you use out of it all the time.
Add to the list when you reach into your kit! Like this:
I originally posted -
Pain Killers - 1
Hair ties - 2
Fork - 1

And now we've used a sewing needle, so it becomes:
Pain Killers - 1
Hair ties - 2
Fork - 1
Sewing Needle - 1

The next person would copy that list, and add whatever they used to it, and so forth. I'm really interested in "real time(ish)" stats on this. After, say, two months, I think it's going to turn out differently than we would expect.

Tools of the Trade / Kit Usage Statistics
« on: May 12, 2016, 01:50 pm »
I had a thought today: we've all pretty much discussed what we PUT in your kits. But has anyone tracked what we USE from our kits? I think it would be pretty interesting, and informative, to gather some casual statistics!
If anyone is willing to participate, just add what has been used out of your kit to a running list we can create, here. Copy paste the list from the previous post, adding to the tally if it's an item someone has already added, or adding your item, if not.
My start:

Pain Killers - 1
Hair ties - 2
Fork - 1

The Green Room / Re: Production Haikus
« on: Mar 26, 2016, 01:45 pm »
Director screaming:
Cast shook up for taped run.
Glad I'm in the booth!

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