Author Topic: 10 things actors can do to get off to a good start with a stage manager  (Read 13515 times)

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Caroline Naveen

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4. Bring your own pen, pencil, & eraser. The Stage Manager’s are back up – not your first line of defense.

6. Take your own blocking notes. When you do it it’s for character and intention, the Stage Manager is taking them for visual picture and cuing – you can help each other, but one is not a replacement for the other.

8.  When the cast goes out for lunch, invite the Stage Manager along. They probably will not be able to join you, but the invitation is nice.

Those are so true I wish all actors would do this! Here are my two additions to the list....

10. If it's not your prop/costume don't touch it!

11. Doors are not soundproof! Just because your in the dressing room doesn't mean the audience can't hear you if you talk.


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10. Bring chocolate


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10) If the SM can tell your main priority is the production and not yourself.


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10- If you're having a problem with something please let me know.  Although I try to anticipate problems, I can't think of everything.  I would much rather solve your problem on day two or three, then let it fester for a week or month until it is unbearable to you.  I can't fix what I don't know is broken.

This, a thousand times this.  I had this problem in my last show, where an actor was having an issue and instead of telling me about it, decided to make an executive decision which would have very noticeably altered an important scene in the show.  Luckily my ASM got wind of it before it happened and I empowered her to not allow the change, but then said actor blew up because I had "overridden his authority".  We had to have the exact discussion as above, in that I am here to help you, if there is a problem please let me know and I will do everything I can to help you solve it while ensuring the integrity of the show.  But those backstage should not be making decisions without my input that would majorly change the show (with of course the standard caveat that if they are reacting to a dangerous situation, by all means save someone without asking my permission first!).   


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10) Please don't force me to treat you like a kid (even though you aren't one). Please actively listen, behave like a professional and cooperate with me when I ask you to do something/not to do something. Most things I say to you have intention, I appreciate when you give me the time of day.
‎"We keep moving forward, opening new doors... because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
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10. Always support your stage manager (rather than critiquing them).

I recently worked on a show where I was on stage calling the show (my director called it "reverse in-the-round," audience in the middle, action on the outside) and there were several places on stage where the actors and audience could hear me whispering my cues. One incredibly egotistical actor came up to me one night and said that my cue-calling was distracting him from acting.  I was upset because 1) what? Really? and 2) he had no lines and his face was covered with goggles and a respirator. Anyway, one of the actresses spoke up and defended me before I could even open my mouth. Her words of support made me relax a little and made me feel glad that she understood how hard I was working.

Also, I had lines in this show. It was a werid, but very cool experience.