Nutcracker Stage Management
Ask any TEC alum from the Westlake High School Technical Entertainment Crew if their experience in this organization had a positive on them. Universally, the answer would be yes. From stage managing to running a follow spot, from audio mixing to grip, the experience that students receive from TEC is unique, regardless of position on shows. Since I was a sophomore working my first major production (The Nutcracker) I have absorbed all of the benefits that TEC has to offer. I have grown personally during each and every production that I have worked. Whether my position was being a crew head, on a crew, or just helping during the builds I have always noticed a positive influence on my skills as a leader, friend and mentor, along with the many others around me. Having put so much hard work into this organization, I was rewarded with quite the peculiar position. A position I would never have thought I would achieve. I was put in charge of stage managing the 2012 Nutcracker Spectacular.
Upon first glance it looks like the stage manager's only job is to call the cues of the show and coordinate the members of the running crew to put on an amazing production. In reality it is a much more involved position on both a personal and technical level. It is a position that involves charisma, focus, and patience. All of these aspects collide creating a characteristic of every great stage manager-- a leader. A leader who bears the responsibility of the mistakes during a show, the responsibility of motivating and inspiring the crew, tired and exhausted after a week of rehearsals and late nights, and above all, the responsibility to rise to the occasion and make it all happen. Leadership is the life-blood of our organization.
TEC manages to bring out the traits and skills in people never believed to be strongly. In my Nutcracker experience as stage manager I looked at a show that I would have to shape, a crew that I would have to lead and get working together in such a tight fashion that to anyone else it may look like we had been working together for years, and put it all together in less than a week. I feel that as a stage manager I did my job, keeping the show and crew together despite the long hours of hard work and sleep deprivation we all felt. I learned what I could accomplish during this Nutcracker and I am so happy to be passing the torch to the next stage manager who will lead a different crew into a new Nutcracker next year.
Going back to that original statement, if you asked any person who was lucky to go through TEC if it made a positive difference on their lives, I can say without a doubt that this experience in stage managing has affected me, changed me, made me better because of it. I could say the same thing for all of the people that were on the crew for the 2012 Nutcracker Spectacular. In light of all this, the feeling of success, the feeling of growth, and the feeling of leadership, TEC is still a mystical thing to me in some ways. It's easy to see how it affects people, but it still leaves me dumbfounded that it is all possible at a high school level. I can't begin to imagine how much the program will grow in the years to come and how future stage managers will rise to the occasion and leave their footprint in the sandbox of productions that we put on as a team. I do know, however, that no matter how the shows change, in either complexity or size, TEC will always create members who will take ownership of them and adapt to any new challenges that are thrown at them.
t the end of the day this is how I see TEC, I see a community that makes leaders. I am proud to have learned from leaders before me, to be a leader, to have taught lessons to some of the younger students, and to now be able to sit back and watch a whole new wave of leaders arise to the challenges of the world. The real world is not always a friendly place. Values that should matter don't always come through in society, but I know for sure that TEC will be putting not only leaders, but good and genuine people into our society that really do make the world a better place to live in. That is what really matters, that is why TEC is special, and that is why I wanted to be a stage manager-- I wanted to lead and become a better person because of it.