The Stage Manager is the person who holds the production together by managing the communication and details of the process. In rehearsal, the SM is the director’s right arm, in Tech Rehearsals the SM coordinates all the efforts AND the results of the director, designers and crew, and in the run of the show the SM calls all the cues, oversees every aspect of the show, and is the liason back to the producer. The director isn’t around much after the show opens – the SM maintains the production by giving notes to the crew, actors and company. It’s a vital role for any theatre company.
And today we give you some thoughts from OUR Stage Manager!
-Tony Caselli, Artistic Director
It’s 2:30am after our first rehearsal of the re-launch of The Complete Works…Abridged. It could be the venti Frappuccino I chugged before rehearsal in place of eating dinner, or the sheer excitement of Stage Managing my first show since getting out of college a few years ago, but I sure can’t sleep.
I have been working as a Production Assistant to the Stage Manager (PASM) for about 10 months at Williamston… that’s five of the season’s six shows. When I began my job at the theater I was a candidate to join the union of stage managers and actors called Actors Equity Association, or AEA, and needed to work 43 of my 50 total weeks running a show [I had earned 7 weeks already at another theatre]. Throughout my 10 months with the theatre, I worked backstage (during performances), maintained the set and all the props and costumes, organized the backstage duties, and assisted in running rehearsals. It doesn’t sound like much, but boy is it a lot of work! I loved nearly every day of it, and absorbed quite a lot of information about what makes a good stage manager. When Flyover, USA closed a week ago, it became my time to make the move from PASM to SM.
When a show closes at W’ston, there is at least a week before the next show begins rehearsals. During the time, the SM must do a lot of paperwork and get the theatre ready to begin the rehearsal process. One of the proudest, and most embarrassing, moments of my adult life came last week when I came in to clean the space and copy scripts. Tony came into the dressing room for me to sign my first Equity contract and brought the whole W’ston staff to come congratulate me. I stood there, blushing and avoiding eye contact with everyone while they clapped and cheered, but felt so proud that I had finally done it. I finally worked my way up to what I have worked so hard to be for the last six years of my life.
I looked around that room, in the faces of Emily, John, Tony, Chris, and Josh (my PASM), and felt so happy that they were so happy for me. I specifically remember a quote you will hear Tony say often: It’s a good day to be working in the American theater.
Erin Snyder, AEA Stage Manager
The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare, Abridged
The Williamston Theatre