Author Topic: RUNNING: Keeping yourself busy on slow shows  (Read 7066 times)

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Kelasaurus

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RUNNING: Keeping yourself busy on slow shows
« on: Nov 02, 2015, 12:01 pm »
Hello SM friends!

I couldn't find another topic about this, so I thought I'd start my own.

How do you keep yourself busy backstage as an ASM on a show with few cues? It's a fairly long run.

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth
« Last Edit: Nov 04, 2015, 02:56 pm by Maribeth »
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RuthNY

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Re: Keeping yourself busy on slow shows
« Reply #1 on: Nov 02, 2015, 05:15 pm »
Keep your eyes on the stage throughout the show so as to maintain actor safety. Cues or no cues, the ASM is there to look at the stage from his/her vantage point, as the calling SM often sees the show from a different perspective.

Make a calling script and listen to the call of the show so that you can back up the Stage Manager, if necessary.

Make sure the blocking book is completely up to date, representing what actually happens onstage, not what happened back in rehearsal.

Take line notes for every performance, so that the calling SM does not have to, while they are calling the show.

If your SM agrees, take notes from him/her, and so as to get a jump on the performance report. This is especially helpful in a scenario when the SM has a lot of cues to call and little time to write notes.

By all means, find ways to remain engaged with the performance and to know more about the show you are doing! Stay busy with show related tasks, even if you are simply solving potential challenges in your head.

But above all, look at the stage!


Hello SM friends!

I couldn't find another topic about this, so I thought I'd start my own.

How do you keep yourself busy backstage as an ASM on a show with few cues? It's a fairly long run.
"Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you."
--Alan Alda

Maribeth

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Re: Keeping yourself busy on slow shows
« Reply #2 on: Nov 03, 2015, 04:49 pm »
Make sure the blocking book is completely up to date, representing what actually happens onstage, not what happened back in rehearsal.

I especially like this one- so much changes during tech and once the show is running, it can be difficult for the SM to update the blocking in their book.

SMMeade

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Re: Keeping yourself busy on slow shows
« Reply #3 on: Nov 03, 2015, 07:47 pm »
Especially if you have understudy rehearsal coming up!

Beatr79

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Re: Keeping yourself busy on slow shows
« Reply #4 on: Nov 03, 2015, 09:29 pm »
A show with "very few cues," eh?

Do you count every cast entrance and exit as a cue or not?  If not, it's a great habit as an ASM to consider each EN/EX from the stage as a cue for you, and make yourself present and nearby to observe the EN/EX.  Not that you want to approach or talk to an actor each time, but place yourself in the appropriate wing to observe, and if necessary, be close at hand for any issues.

Obviously on a larger show, it is impossible to accomplish this, but practicing it on a smaller show helps with some deck ASM "reflexes."  The more you observe these EN/EX, the more aware and in-tune with the company you'll be.  And when you jump onto a larger show, the EN/EX of your cast will become something you track as second nature in the back of your head, even if you are managing many more deck elements or crew.

Brandywine

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Re: RUNNING: Keeping yourself busy on slow shows
« Reply #5 on: Dec 07, 2015, 03:46 pm »
Along with the above because yes, your eyes should always be on the stage/backstage, if you have an ASM console and find yourself struggling to focus, I've found play-doh can be helpful. Not to the point you focus on that instead of the show, but it's something my hands can mindlessly do which helps the fidget-er in me to calm down so I can focus on the above tasks easier. Usually, I don't bust out the play-doh until the 4th week or so when I want to avoid feeling to "comfortable" or to avoid being too relaxed about cues.

ErgoCue

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Re: RUNNING: Keeping yourself busy on slow shows
« Reply #6 on: Dec 09, 2015, 01:27 pm »
Stretching or doing small exercises while standing is a great way to pass the time.  It helps keep me energized, especially during long five-show weekends.  Plus, it's repetitive, so I can still keep my focus on the show and stop quickly to take care of the few cues that I do have.

Another fun thing to do is to create games for yourself within the show.  Bring a pedometer and see how much you walk from preshow to curtain.  Note how many times a certain key phrase or word is used in the play. Create small, non-distracting rituals for yourself and the rest of the cast and crew.  For example, I would make a fun little sign to show the actors as the exited the stage each night; it gave me something to do and something for them to look forward to.


SamanthaR

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Re: RUNNING: Keeping yourself busy on slow shows
« Reply #7 on: Dec 09, 2015, 05:10 pm »
I am on the backstage workout team.  I would keep hand weights and leg weights backstage.  Simple calisthenics help keep me energized and able to watch the stage.  It is easy to drop any of these things at a moments notice to deal with any emergencies or curtain pages, handoffs etc.
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Plabebob

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Re: RUNNING: Keeping yourself busy on slow shows
« Reply #8 on: Feb 15, 2016, 01:31 pm »
I don't know how many of your are familiar with the memory palace concept, but I sometimes use time between cues to review things I'm trying to remember. You can keep you eyes on the stage & it doesn't take up so much concentration that you can't be alert to things happening that shouldn't be.

loebtmc

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Re: RUNNING: Keeping yourself busy on slow shows
« Reply #9 on: Feb 15, 2016, 01:42 pm »
Backstage you can move around, which helps. All those ideas above are brilliant.

And, when you have those shows and are in a booth, you can find ways to keep hands busy with eyes on stage. I knitted holiday scarves and hats for friends on a long show that had a total of 25 light cues and 6 sound cues. It allowed me to watch the show and take notes as needed but keep my body moving and awake by doing simple patterns, and it was fun to see how much knitting was accomplished and the end of each night.

AndyS

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Re: RUNNING: Keeping yourself busy on slow shows
« Reply #10 on: Feb 04, 2018, 05:40 am »
I love knitting backstage, yes! If I was idle during rehearsals I would also focus on memorising the script - makes answering line-calls quicker and less stressful.

 

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