Actors Hold: An Analysis of the Director/Stage Manager Relationship in Professional and Educationai Theatre

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Dennis, Rebecca
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Theater -- Design , Theater -- Directing
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Since a young age I have been interested in theatre. At first, I was only drawn to the spotlight on stage. It wasn't until my position as assistant stage manager on the play Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, did I started leaning away from performance and moving toward stage management. I have always been interested in theatre and student government so stage management seemed to be an appropriate fit since it unified both. During my sophomore and junior year at Kalamazoo College, I stage managed three shows, two being student directed and the other being the production The Cripple of Inshmaan with guest director, Kevin Dodd. This furthered my pursuit of stage management but I didn't know how to turn this interest into a senior individualized project. During my junior year, I started talking to fellow students about their stage managing experiences. I was amazed how vastly different they were depending on the director of the production. After reflecting on my own stage management experiences, I noticed that I have worked differently with each director. I had to adapt how I ran rehearsals and production aspects to fit with each director. I also had a different relationship with them depending on whether they were a student, guest director, or a member of the Kalamazoo College Theatre Arts Department. In February of 2010, I was accepted for an internship focusing on stage management and theatre management at the Finborough Theatre in London. I wanted to integrate my new internship with my senior individualized project but couldn't manage a theme that would culminate my interests of the last three years. Then I remembered my long conversations with stage mangers and my own experiences, and realized the director/stage manager relationship was an aspect of theatre that has not been explored. This relationship is central to the creative process, the production of the play itself, and would make an interesting SIP. In examining this subject, I wish to explore not only the relationship between stage managers and directors but also how to become a better director and stage manager. Kalamazoo College does not offer a stage management class so the only way to learn how to stage-manage is learning by doing. He or she is taught how to stage-manage while being an assistant stage manager; the older generation of stage managers teachers the new the skills it takes to become successful. The issue with this system is the lack of formal education on how to take blocking, write a prompt book, and take notes. The fact is some student stage managers make better teachers than others. When researching for this project, I hope to become a better stage manager and learn what is expected from me in the professional theatre world. I am exploring this relationship and writing this SIP because, if any student wishes to pursue a career in stage management or directing, this other person will become your number one asset. Knowing how to adapt to every director will make a stage manager people will want to work with and knowing how to properly use a stage manager will make a director accomplish tasks in half the time. Below I explore the relationship between the director and stage manager in professional and educational theatre.
vi, 94 p.
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