Stage managing, the most stress, yet most fun you will ever have…
Stage managing a show, whether an amazing Black Box show, a breath-taking PAC show, or simply a good choir concert, is a lot of power. And as my favorite superhero Spiderman once said “With great power comes great responsibility.” Being a stage manager is unlike any other position on the crew because you must not only lead everyone else but you must be your own leader. You must embrace the fact that you have the power to answer your own questions as well as those of your fellow comrades. TEC, being an organization completely run by students, enables you as stage manager to make the decisions that need making. Of course Mrs. White, Mr. Bernstein, Mr. Strange, and Mr. Poole are always available to answer any questions and help you make these decisions, but taking it upon yourself to find the answer brings a whole new world of accomplishment into view. Now, as rewarding as this accomplishment may be, there’s also a somewhat of a scary side to it. What if I make the wrong decision? Am I doing this right? Is this good enough? When these inevitable questions pop into your mind, you can’t help but feel nervous about being so accountable. But don’t worry, I have the solution! A quote from another one of my heroes, Mrs. White. This came about on the wonderful day of my first night working as stage crew for the Holiday Spectacular. Now considering how the PAC was under construction at the time, this show took place in the PE Gym, and under these special circumstances, everyone in the audience, only 10 feet away from the stage, was able to hear the loud crushing of two huge Christmas presents crashing together. Who’s fault? Mine. Getting a little apprehensive I managed to smash my box, as well as the dancer inside of it into the one in front of mine, and to my great embarrassment, everyone saw. As we finished the scene change and ran off stage, I couldn't help but freak out, but Mrs. White was there to help me out with her wonderful words of wisdom. She told me that the reason she loved theatre so much was because whatever happens happens, it’s a live performance, there is no turning back, so all you can do is make the best of it, and if you mess up, oh well! Just do your best and that’s all that really matters!
Now with that said, it’s time I tell you a little more specifically about stage managing Midsummer Night’s Dream. If you are aspiring to be a stage manager, the Black Box is the best place to start! Working in a smaller theatre and a smaller crew may be a better idea than going straight to Zenith. On my crew, specifically, I worked with seven other people, and it was an absolute blast! After spending a week nonstop with them, I got to know them really well, as a group, as well as individually and even got to make up an awesome handshake with each of them! One of my favorite parts of TEC is the fact that it’s just like a family! But instead of the occasional fighting that you may do with your brother and sister, it is replaced by a very high sense of respect for those who you are working with. Knowing that no matter your position on the crew, all of them are important for the show to run smoothly and that therefore you must respect those in positions above and below you. Another one of my favorite parts about stage managing is the interaction you get with the cast (actors/actresses)! In the Black Box, it is the stage manager’s job to call times. One hour till places! Thirty minutes till places! Fifteen minutes till places! Five minutes till places! One minute till places! PLACES!!! The sweetest part is getting to hear their unified response…”THANKYOU!” Here again you witness the respect shared within all of theatre, whether it be between the crew itself, or between the cast and crew, it is crucial for a good show, as well as for forming those tightly knit bonds with friends that you will cherish and keep throughout the rest of your high school experience.
Stage managing was an eye-opening experience that I will never forget, and although I was nervous to take the initiative and sign up, I’m sure glad I did because it taught me a lot and brought me a whole new appreciation for theatre tech. So if you’re hesitant, don’t be, take a chance, try it, you will love it, I promise!
-- your fellow techie