Monday, June 8, 2009

But what do you DO?

I was recently at a dinner party where one of the guests commented that when she asked people what they did for a living, she wished they'd give details. To her, hearing a title, whatever it may be, didn't matter. What she was interested in was the nitty-gritty of what people actually do with their lives.

When I tell people that I'm a stage manager I usually qualify that. For people who are involved in theatre there is no need to explain, but for those who attend theatre without working on it, the title of Stage Manager is one they just don't understand. To them I usually explain it as "I carry heavy things around and tell everyone what to do." It's not an accurate description, but its something they can understand. When I start talking about prompt books, blocking, cueing, etc I know that the conversation is done for.

So with that in mind, I bring you "A day with Lois - in Pictures!". Look at all the fun things that being a Stage Manager can mean!

Laundry is far from my favorite part of my job. On this show I do 3 or 4 loads two times a week. That's upwards of 12 hours of laundry a week. One of the best things about this past year was when the theatre bought a new washer/dryer that are a bit faster than the old ones!

This is me killing time while I do the laundry. That's my messy desk, and I'm on gmail, chatting with Travis to pass the time. The cartoon on the upper corner of my monitor is from our former Theatre Administrator who is off on maternity leave. In the cartoon, the baby is thinking "When I grow up, I wanna be a stage manager" and the character that is me is thinking "When I grow up I wanna get pregnant so I can escape this nuthouse too!"This is my assistant Laura. Her arrival is always one of my favorite things because it means help is finally here.On this day we had run out of sticks name tags which are a show prop, so I ran down to the Loonie Plus store and $3.36 later I had two more packs.

Someone's got to make sure all the lights are working, and that person is me. When a bulb goes out, the ladder goes up! Another great buy this year was a telescopic ladder that I can carry with one hand and store so that its easily accessible. And then I call the security company for the building and ask them to ignore all alarms from the building until after the show. There is a smoke machine in the show & I am not interested in setting off the fire alarm & send the audience into a panic.

So this picture, not really a necessity of my day, but come on, who doesn't want to be in a touring case full of fake turkeys! You just never know what each show will hold. These are 12 custom built latex turkeys. In the script they are described as "raw, but not frozen" and they have to be carried around & thrown on stage. Finding the right turkeys was hard and we ended up contracting a film prosthetics student to build them for us.

In the booth, playing at running the show. The booth is so small that I run both the lights and sound, as well as any special effects for the show. My book has to be half on top of the lighting board in order to fit.


Jocelyn said...

Awesome post, lo! I want to do one now too!
You should do one for your next shows too - totally different environment.

Travis Bedard said...

But do you get to KEEP a turkey?

SMLois said...

No Turkey for me... but I might do one for the summer shows

bfg said...

This is an awesome post. I loved it...

I have a much better idea of what I've gotten myself into now ;O)

And I must convince my show that we need turkeys...

Dianna said...

Great post Lois...
I made it over here via Nick Kennan's "SM Award" post.

Hmm... methinks I might need to do some blogging about "Day in the Life of a Stage Manager with a Day Job" LOL!

At least I can point people to your post and say , "See? See what she's doing? this is one DAY in a production schedule"