Saturday, July 08, 2017

SM - Preparation

Back in March, a friend posted on Facebook that he would be stage manager for a community theater show and was looking for an assistant. I thought that might be an interesting thing to learn, and might be a way for me to dip my toe back into community theater, which I haven't done in 16 (!) years.

It was a generally good experience, and I apparently did well enough that I was asked to stage manage this friend's next show. As I've been preparing, I thought I'd dust off my blog and reflect on the process.

I checked out two books to get me started: The back stage guide to stage management and Stage manager: the professional experience--refreshed. Both books are geared toward the professional, though interestingly, the one with "professional experience" in the subtitle does give frequent nods to the amateur reader. They're arming me with a lot of information going in. Overall, stage management looks to be a lot like my job as a library' deputy director: identify the people and their roles, coordinate communications, anticipate needs, handle crises, know things. I'm excited for the challenge.

After diving into the general information, I think next up is to start assembling my tools. I've decided to do most of my record-keeping in the cloud, so I bought a Chromebook. I haven't yet decided whether to coordinate everything through my personal email address or, like the director, to create a production-specific address. I'm leaning toward the former -- I think of email addresses the same as I do of keys: the more that I have, the more problems I carry around with me and the more I have to sort through to find what I need. For the time being, I'm compromising with the Gmail trick of instant, disposable addresses, adding a "+vw" to my regular email handle.

I'll need a bag to keep my Chromebook in, as well as all the stuff I want to have with me. I have this fantasy of being able to pull from this bag anything anyone might need: Sharpie, tweezers, gaffer tape, mints, Starbucks card, etc. (I've always remembered the animated Around the World in 80 Days, each episode beginning with Fogg instructing Passepartout to pack a random assortment of items, each of which would be useful in saving them during the day's adventures.) And of course, the bag will have my rehearsal script. More on that next post.

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