So Much More Than, Stand By...Go!
Moore, Jennifer Rae
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The show, as they say, must go on. What individual is a crucial member of the production team in any theatrical organization? The stage manager , of course, and she or he will be the one who ensures that the show does go on. He or she is the hub of communication for all of the various aspects of a given production. At any moment the stage manager must be there with a calm, organized attitude that will provide a much needed, stable influence in the whole affair. The production of a play may be paralleled to the manufacture of any complicated article. The various parts are created separately, brought together at the appropriate time by careful planning and scheduling, and are assembled into a complete unit. It is the stage manager's ultimate duty to organize this merger and see that it is successful in its parts as well as its whole. During this period before the compilation, each member of the creative team puts their time and livelihood into fine tuning their individual talents within the context of the particular show. The director, actors, designers, and sometimes the playwright apply their creative specialty to the final product. While the stage manager's responsibilities and contributions do not, on the surface, appear to be exceptionally creative, their influence greatly enhances the creative efforts of the team. In a successful production end there is no satisfaction second to that felt by the stage manager, for she or he had a hand and breathed life into every aspect of the production and it has become theirs. There are a couple of characteristics and skills that may signal a possible stage manager type personality, simple things such as punctuality, leadership skills, and dependability. One must be committed to the art and ready to accept a great amount of responsibility. Good communication skills are essential, for you will be called upon to coordinate people, time, and space. Finally, and quite possibly most importantly, you are the rock in the rapids. All will be depending on you to keep a calm, steadfast attitude in any seemingly chaotic situation. Given the few resources at Kalamazoo College to assist the stage manager, a student interested in understanding the position must take it upon themselves. I, personally, learn by doing. I simply jumped into ~e water my freshman winter to stage manage Kate Warner's Senior Individualized Project, Rites. I read some books, asked tons of questions and made quite a few mistakes. In an attempt to take full advantage of the K plan theatre major options I went to New York City to work Off-Broadway and England to study specifically stage management and technical theatre. With every show I worked on and every stage manager I worked with I learned more and more. I felt that an appropriate culmination of my education thus far, after working Off-Broadway and internationally, would be to work in regional theatre. For my Senior Individualized Project I arranged an internship as the assistant stage manager on an original production called Vampyr. at The Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta, Georgia. I was looking for a small but reputable, equity theatre where my involvement would really make a difference; where I could learn the ins and outs of regional theatre and not just be one in a crowd. That is just exactly what I found. In an effort to ease the stress and confusion of a beginning stage manager I have attempted to compile what I have learned to form some semblance of a readable beginner's handbook. It is, of course, impossible to document every detail and every different method of stage management, but with any amount of luck this should shed some light on the specifics of the role of stage manager within a theatrical institution.
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Delia, Sarah M. (1988)The stage manager is a crucial member of the production team in any theatrical organization. This person is responsible for the smooth running of the production both onstage and backstage. The calm, steady influence ...
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