Mama, I’m a Stage Manager now!

Hey everyone!

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend.  Mine has been busy!

On Saturday, I spent a good chunk of the day at the Gateway.  Putting some final touches on the set and getting the stage ready for Monday’s Q2Q.  We got the Cityscape in place, finished up the quick change booths and set up the dressing rooms.   There are still set notes to be given next week, but we have time allotted to finish all of that stuff.  And then on Friday, we open! I’m thrilled to be taking my Vancouver Guardian Angel, April Green, along with me.  I just realized I haven’t mentioned her before and gosh has she been important to me!

I met April through my experience working on Bob&Andrew in 2011.  Back then I knew she was involved in theatre, but I don’t think I realized just how involved she was.  Fast forward to 2015 and believe me when I tell you, that girl knows EVERYONE. When I first moved out here, she told me of a job opportunity at the Arts Club (where she works in Marketing & Communications) for an Assistant Technical Director.  I applied, got it, and got to spend a month of my life working with one of my all-time favorite people, Eugenio.  It was during the install of a Christmas Story that I got to meet a lovely carpenter named Lorraine, who recommended me for the TD gig at the Gateway.


Eugenio, myself and April on Opening Night for A Christmas Story : The Musical. Photo credit : Arts Club Theatre Company

I had just been to the Gateway for the first time a couple weeks prior with.. you guessed it, April Green.  She had tickets to Opening Night of the Wizard of Oz and offered to take me along.   As we chatted pre-show in the lobby, I felt like I was with a celebrity.  We had a number of people approach her and ask what she’s up to, but even more waves and smiles from across the room. It reminded me of being back home.  No matter where you go, the theatre community seems to be quite tight knit, and it is a really beautiful thing.  In fact, in my last blog post about the show, I mentioned our designer, Marshall McMahen?  Turns out April went to UBC when he did.  I mean of course she did, right?

Every so often she’ll send me job postings from places she frequents online that may be relevant to me — seriously, she is always looking out for me.  A few weeks back, it was one for the Carousel Theatre’s fundraiser ‘The Lawyer Show’, looking for a Stage Manager on… HAIRSPRAY.  I could hardly believe my ears.

In addition to being the soundtrack I’ve sung the most in my life, it’s also probably one of the movies I’ve watched the most as well.  There’s something about Tracy’s attitude and her desire to change the world that pumps me up like nothing else! And now there was a chance to get to work on a production of it?! Yeeeeaaaaahhhhhh!!!

So what am I doing today you ask? Starting Stage Manager prep of course!

First, I read my script.  It was interesting seeing how much of the dialogue from the stage show made it’s way into the movie, as well as most of the songs.  What I enjoyed most though, was seeing what elements from each adaptation couldn’t really be done in the other.  For example, (Spoiler Alert!) Tracy being thrown in jail in the show vs. in Penny’s mother’s bomb shelter in the movie; The different styles of protests — Mothers & Daughters vs. Large crowds you cannot possibly fit on stage; The numbers of ‘the Corny Collins Show’ council members, which songs made it to the movie and which didn’t, and so on.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 4.16.30 PM

One of my favorite quotes from both pieces. 

Next I got to labelling my pages with scene numbers as well as song names.  Standard Stage Management stuff that just helps you jump from place to place quickly. (Side note : I didn’t have enough of any color of post-its to do full acts, but sometimes you gotta make do with what you have — and buy more post-it tabs on payday!)

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 4.16.05 PM

Then I do my own sort of character breakdown where I assign two letter codes to characters and actor names for chorus members, so that I can take blocking notes down a little faster.  For example, Tracy = TY, Edna = ED, Motormouth Maybelle = MM.  My method for choosing the letters really comes down to what is going to make the most sense to someone who is not familiar with the script coming in to take over for me in the event of well, anything.  It’s a creepy way of looking at it, but it’s the truth! I worked on a show where one of the cast got hit by a car a mere two hours before opening.  You really never know. Plus, no two stage managers have the exact same style, so anything I can do to be more clear, I will. (Plus, sometimes I look at my notes and ask myself “What the heck was I thinking?”)

Next weekend when I’m done working on Closer Than Ever, I’m going to start building my SM kit.  I had one when I lived in Edmonton but it got left behind.  Now I need to restock and i’m trying my best to keep it as low-cost as possible since I’m just starting out again.  I have a lot of band-aids here since I’m a hugely accident prone individual, so I’ll be adding some of those, as well as some teas, pens, pencils, hand cream and post it notes.  But I’ll be picking up your standards like gum, throat lozenges, hand sanitizer, kleenex, lady products, individually wrapped pain killers and all that jazz.  As the months roll on, I’ll be re-stocking as well as adding new items and removing those that are unnecessary.  Each show has it’s own needs.

Finally, I typed up an e-mail to introduce myself to the cast.  I made a couple jokes, told them how the schedule will roll out from week to week and just tried to get my personality across as much as I could in a single e-mail.  I can’t wait to meet them next Sunday!

Well that is it for me today.  Time to have a snack and prep for Q2Q tomorrow, Dress on Tuesday, Final Dress on Weds, Preview on Thursday and opening on Friday! There are still a bunch of little notes to get to, but I’m confident in my team and the artistic team, and can’t wait to see the show Tuesday and then four or five more times after that ;).

Have a great Sunday, y’all!





3 Comments Add yours

  1. Your sister says:

    Your kit needs water and easily accessible snacks, my dear cactus ❤️ Love you bunches and I’m excited for you!! Take the world by storm and never stop reaching higher because creative genius has no limits.

  2. Wayne says:

    Sounds exciting, ur doing amazing xx

  3. Natalye says:

    PATSY!! So awesome:) Glad you’re still full of joy and using lots of post its!

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