Why is it that when I tell people I work in theatre they assume I'm an actor? My striking good looks and refined elocution? Nope. "Oh, then do you design?" comes next. I have, and I still carry that gene, but not much any more. That's a nope too. "Direct?" Not a chance!
"Well then, what?"
What else is there I suppose some may think. My family tell people I run the place. Thanks for that, and they know better, but I can only take a small portion of the credit. We all know that there's an army of people behind the scenes, but sometimes we don't think about how many.
Next time you're in the theatre open up your program and take a look at those back pages where the support staff is listed; artistic to finance, box office, marketing to education, development to administration, production, scenery, props, paints, costumes, lighting, sound, and on, and on, and on, and on. Heck; even take a gander at the roster of board members, donors and businesses who helped out. That's where you'll find the people like me.
Today's post is dedicated to a small group of these folks; the Stage Managers and Run Crew. They are the ones who are quite literally "behind" the scenes and have dedicated themselves to working nights and weekends for the sake of your cultural enrichment.
Sometimes shows aren't too difficult, like Radio Golf, so there's time in a 4-5 hour show call to get in a little reading or web surfing. In other productions, like Well and now Persephone the crew barely has time to catch their breath, with scene changes, sets that fall apart, quick change upon quick change, running those fun effects, and cue after cue after cue. Persephone gets very messy at the end; all the glitter and water and snow and pigeons have to disappear. It takes about an hour with vacuums, brooms and air hoses to get all that nasty stuff cleaned up. Then they can leave.
I started my career backstage moving scenery, calling shows and running lights, and I remember occasionally getting whipped by a show. A certain summer stock production of Gypsy in the lovely village of Weston, VT comes to mind. But that didn't last. The next night the shifts were better, and the following night we won.
So here's to our crew who win every night; take a bow.
Well; Steve Kaus, Eileen Kelly, Pat Austin, Andrew Deshazo, Jenni Russell, Ken Porter, Kate Korolenko, Ian Schaff, Tim Clark, Christine Marr, Jeffrey Burrows, Rachel Padula Shufelt and Susie Moncousky.
Persephone; David Lurie, Hannah Cohen, Jill Oliver, Brian Masters, Cole Genuardi, Kat Fleischacker, Arshan Galius, Kyle Holmes, Catlin Medb Harrison, Troy Seigfried and Kirstin Kennedy.