Monday, April 13, 2009

The View from My Seat - OLD TIMES Stage Manager Baleigh Isaacs

1. Couches - There are 2 couches in this show, and there they are. This is a rare glimpse into what they look like before you’ll see them onstage, all cleaned up and reupholstered.

2. Water Bottle - It’s very important for everyone to stay hydrated during rehearsal. Unfortunately, this bottle is currently empty. I should probably remedy that.

3. Calendar - Some of my paperwork. It is the schedule of all rehearsals, performances, and special events. It can be tricky business trying to work out a schedule that fits everyone’s lives, particularly when folks work on multiple shows around town. Yikes! Tech week is coming up so soon!
4. Tape Measure - Not always on my table, but we had to measure the couches to get reupholstered...and so I can accurately draw them in the script. Also useful for “taping out the floor”, when we put spike tape on the floor of the rehearsal room, indicating the set.

5. Playbill draft - We all have to review the final draft of the Playbill before it gets sent in for publishing...check for typos, etc. A lot of people put a lot of work into it.

6. Multi-tool - More helpful at the theatre...but good to have in rehearsal for making templates (see 12), putting together Ikea furniture that we don’t end up using, fixing eyeglasses, etc.

7. Eraser and Eraser Dust - A good eraser is a stage manager’s best friend. If you look very closely...go ahead, press your face against the can make out the large quantities of eraser dust scattered everywhere. That’s a sure sign that we’ve had a productive day in rehearsal.

8. Chocolate - Another rehearsal necessity. In my rehearsals, I make sure to have good dark chocolate. I tend to keep it for emergency use only, but in this show, we’re also using it as a prop.

9. Cell Phone - The official timepiece of rehearsal. Also used for actors to call in when they’re running late. Also, instant treat evoker. If anyone’s phone goes off during rehearsal, they have to bring in treats for everyone in the room. It’s possible that I’ve called James’s cell during rehearsal intentionally for this purpose.

10. Laptop - The magic silver box, as James likes to call it. I use it to get instant answers to questions that come up in rehearsal (what character did Jeremy Northam play in Gosford Park?), to play sound cues, to communicate with designers and staff, to write rehearsal reports and schedules, and to keep all my beautiful paperwork beautiful. Definitely not for goofing off during rehearsal.

11. Post-it Notes - All kinds of uses for these! Lots of colors and sizes. I use them for notes throughout the script about props, running times, etc. They’re great for passing notes between me and my assistant. Especially great for reminders during the day.

12. Template - Sometimes I like to make a template that I can trace onto my blocking sheets in my prompt book (see 15). We use mini-diagrams of the stage to draw pictures of what’s going on. You can see that those 2 rectangles represent the couches at the top of the picture.

13. Scale Rule - Same purposes as the tape measure, but on a smaller...scale.

14. Prompt Key - The guide to my secret code used in the prompt book (see 15). Every stage manager uses different symbols and abbreviations when they write down blocking, so this key helps others read my method.

15. Prompt Book - Probably should have started with this thing. This is my script, where I write down where the actors move, keep calendars and contact sheets, and keep a complete record of the props, scenery, light and sound notes, and anything else related to the running of the show. When we get into tech, the script will also be filled with all the cues (lights, sound, actors). Maintaining the prompt book is one of my most important to keeping James in line.

No comments: