Author Topic: Did he REALLY ask me that?  (Read 6372 times)

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TarytheA

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Did he REALLY ask me that?
« on: Nov 11, 2010, 12:01 am »
My current freelance gig is at the local community college, and tonight was our final dress.  A very sweet actor (the only male in the show) came up to me and asked the following question:

"So which show are you going to come see?"

After seeing a flash of shock on my face, he quickly followed with, "Oh, I guess maybe you'll watch all of them, huh?"  I started to laugh, and asked him (very kindly) what he thought I had been doing the whole time - and told him that the show simply wouldn't happen if I didn't "watch" every night.  We both laughed it off and continued on our way, and all was well.

I wasn't offended, just surprised - I know these are very inexperienced actors, but I thought I had been good about being very consistent with them and explaining things along the way - this is how they learn the way theatre operates and what to expect.  I knew going in to the project that some of them had never been in a show before, so I took great pains to mentor, encourage, support, and teach them (and the director did the same thing on her end).  How could this actor still be so oblivious?  I was a little taken aback, because I know that stage managing is one of the least understood (and hardest to define) jobs in theatre, even by some who are in our field...but really???  Which show am I going to see???

Does anyone else have a story about working with someone who, despite being in theatre, had NO idea what a stage manager did?  I'm sure there are some good ones out there.
"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
-Herm Albright

DeeCap

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #1 on: Nov 11, 2010, 12:49 pm »
I have a couple of stories. The first one I'll file under: Did he really SAY  that?

I was working at a LORT theatre in the Northwest and the TD was giving a tour of the space to donors. He led the donors into the SM booth where I just finished giving the 15 call.

He introduced me to the donors and said "She's the stage manager, who for the most part babysits the actors".
Really? He couldn't even say that I make sure the lights are on when the actors take the stage?


My second story is when I was working at a semi-professional theatre in Nashville. We were about to go into previews when I told the cast "7:30 is half hour".

One cast member asked me what that meant. I explained that that was his call time. A half-hour before the show begins. He just could not understand the concept that he had to be there a half hour before the show begins. I tried to explain again and he didn't get it.
Each evening when I would give the cast the call for the next day I would have to explain again what that meant.


Celeste_SM

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #2 on: Nov 11, 2010, 04:50 pm »
These are more "how do that not know that" moments...

A professional ballet dancer asked my ASM what "places" meant. She was young, but had been in plenty of shows. I have no idea how she missed that particular term! 

On a community theater production I read the face of a cast member when the director told her "don't pull focus during the scene."  She was grateful when I asked her on the side if she has questions about the scene, and she confessed she had no idea what it meant to pull focus!  To be fair though, she had not done a lot of theater.

missliz

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #3 on: Nov 11, 2010, 11:29 pm »
One of my actresses asked me the other day how I balanced on the ladder during the whole show.


Apparently she didn't know there was a booth, and thought I was sitting on a painting ladder, calling the show...
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

dallas10086

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #4 on: Nov 12, 2010, 12:11 am »
One of my actresses asked me the other day how I balanced on the ladder during the whole show.


Apparently she didn't know there was a booth, and thought I was sitting on a painting ladder, calling the show...

That's really odd. Wonder how she got that idea into her head?

On_Headset

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #5 on: Nov 12, 2010, 05:46 pm »
The university I attended had spectacularly well-trained ushers. They knew all about the significance of the half, and the importance of not letting people go backstage, and guarding the appropriate doors, and not taking "no" for an answer, which led to conversations like this:

"I'm sorry, sir, but I'm not allowed to let you go backstage."
"I'm the stage manager."
"Well, if you're going backstage, you need to go all the way out and around to the stage door."
"The house isn't even open yet!"
"If I let you through now, then everyone else will want to go through here."
"THERE'S NOBODY ELSE HERE."

Balletdork

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #6 on: Nov 12, 2010, 10:05 pm »
The university I attended had spectacularly well-trained ushers. They knew all about the significance of the half, and the importance of not letting people go backstage, and guarding the appropriate doors, and not taking "no" for an answer, which led to conversations like this:

"I'm sorry, sir, but I'm not allowed to let you go backstage."
"I'm the stage manager."
"Well, if you're going backstage, you need to go all the way out and around to the stage door."
"The house isn't even open yet!"
"If I let you through now, then everyone else will want to go through here."
"THERE'S NOBODY ELSE HERE."


That's hysterical! I once had an usher tell me I had to leave the house! In the ballet world we take a company class everyday about 2hours prior to show- at 1 hour the ushers arrive and take guard of the doors- I was sitting in the house watching class, and he came in to ask me about my tickets!!! We were still taking class, mind you, at least an hour before the house opened~ I tried to explain to him that I was the one who gave permission for the FOH Mngr to open doors- but he just didn't get it and told me that I was in danger because I was in the house before the ushers were in the theater! It was amazing and unbelievable. Eventually the union steward went to find the FOH Mngr to call off the dogs! After that we made access badges for all of our staff!

On_Headset

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #7 on: Nov 13, 2010, 02:07 am »
Because, I mean, who doesn't come to the ballet two hours early in a black t-shirt and jeans, and with a keyring the size of their head? Clearly you'd blend right in with the pearls-and-cufflinks crowd. ;)

missliz

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #8 on: Nov 13, 2010, 11:09 am »
One of my actresses asked me the other day how I balanced on the ladder during the whole show.


Apparently she didn't know there was a booth, and thought I was sitting on a painting ladder, calling the show...

That's really odd. Wonder how she got that idea into her head?


She said that she saw my head through a window (the booth), and saw a big ladder in there once. Just put two and two together. :)
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

TarytheA

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #9 on: Nov 14, 2010, 04:44 pm »
She said that she saw my head through a window (the booth), and saw a big ladder in there once. Just put two and two together. :)

...And got five.
"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
-Herm Albright

nick_tochelli

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #10 on: Nov 15, 2010, 01:18 am »
These are more "how do that not know that" moments...

A professional ballet dancer asked my ASM what "places" meant. She was young, but had been in plenty of shows. I have no idea how she missed that particular term! 

That's not quite as odd as you might think. "Places" is not necessarily the accepted term every where. Could be, like with a group of Irish actors I worked with, they were expecting a "First Positions" instead.

yomanda

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #11 on: Nov 16, 2010, 02:03 pm »
In community theatre, I once had a newer actor tell me this great idea he had:  a table backstage to put props on!  We weren't even using props at this point.  But I smiled and told him we would have a "prop table,"  one for each side of the stage even.   :)

bex

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #12 on: Nov 17, 2010, 01:36 am »
More along the lines of Did I really just say that?

Tonight, speaking to my child actors via god-mic (mind you, they're generally fairly bright 11-13 year olds)  "If you're waiting backstage for your entrance, please stand where I can't see you. That means behind the proscenium. The big black wall. Not on the Santa-land set, behind the big black wall. Why are you all still standing on the Santaland set? Please stand behind the proscenium. Behind the big black wall. Stage right. All the way stage right, behind the wall." At this point, I guess something clicked because they all moved in a little clump from the Santa-land set to behind the proscenium. We were 3 hours and 30 pages into a "run" of a 130-page script, so frankly I don't blame them.
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

On_Headset

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #13 on: Nov 17, 2010, 02:08 am »
In community theatre, I once had a newer actor tell me this great idea he had:  a table backstage to put props on!  We weren't even using props at this point.  But I smiled and told him we would have a "prop table,"  one for each side of the stage even.   :)
Ooooh! We ended up deputizing an actor to work as an ASM on a (low-level community theatre) show I worked on this summer, and in one of the design meetings he had a fantastic suggestion.

See, what you do is you take a piece of paper, and you cut out a shape... like, say, a moon. Then you tape it to the front of the light, so the beam cast by the light will be in the shape of a moon! Here, I have a flashlight with me, anyone have some scissors? I have such a great feeling about this idea! C'mon, guys!

It didn't end there. Once we got into actual rehearsals, he came up with the brilliant idea that, instead of keeping blocking notes in full sentences, we should all use this "blocking notation" he invented on the weekend. Here, I have photocopies for everyone, it's much more efficient than full sentences, I swear...

I fully expected that, at some point, he would suggest we should assemble a funny structure built of wood which he calls a "stage", and then we should hire people to say pretty words--let's call them "actors"--to a group of other people who have paid to have those pretty words spoken to them. ("Audience"? I like the sound of that!)

On_Headset

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Re: Did he REALLY ask me that?
« Reply #14 on: Dec 14, 2010, 04:30 pm »
"Hey on_headset, can I talk to you? See, I was wondering if we could get some condoms for the green room..."

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