April 4, 2008

Blogging Breaking Ground: Day Four

As you already know, Breaking Ground is a weekend full of rehearsals, rewrites and readings. For all these readings, we need lots o'actors, which means a lot of work for the company manager -- the great unsung hero of every theatre company. What exactly does a company manager do, you ask? Well, I had an e-interview with Teresa Gozzo, our hero-in-residence, to get a rundown on what BG2008 is like in her office.

L: You have over 30 actors converging on the Huntington this week for Breaking Ground readings alone, and the Huntington's production of SHE LOVES ME is right around the corner. This must be a particularly hectic time for you! What are your days like with so much going on?

T: You're right -- it is a hectic time! Anna Fisher, our Management Assistant, and I are spending a lot of our time calling actors and talking to them about their upcoming trips to the Huntington. We also spend a good chunk of the day on Amtrak's website, booking trains between NY and Boston and back again. When we're not trying to get ahold of actors, we check in with the casts of SHINING CITY and THE CRY OF THE REED to make sure they're holding up ok.

L: So how does your job differ as you work on these readings vs. Huntington productions?

T: When we're working on the Breaking Ground readings, actors,directors, and playwrights are typically only with us a day or two.They usually stay in a hotel instead of the Huntington's block of apartments on Bay State Road (especially this year, since those apartments are full of actors from the two shows currently in production). It's convenient because they can check into the hotel on their own, whereas when we house artists in apartments, a Huntington representative has to meet them at the train station or airport, give them keys, and take them to Bay State Road. With so many artists in for the Festival, we don't have the manpower.

L: For those blog readers who have never heard of a company manager, what does you job usually entail?

T: In a nutshell, I'm responsible for arranging transportation and housing for all visiting artists, as well as being a general resource for them once they're here. If someone needs to go to the doctor, wants to know about things to do in Boston during their free time, or has any kind of emergency (and I do mean *any* kind), they come to me. I help them to feel at home as best I can, since actors can spend months at a time jumping from project to project. It's a crazy job, but I have a lot of fun.

[L: And it shows! I'm really impressed with the way Teresa runs this show, with a smile on her face the whole time. You can really tell she's having a great time, so I had to ask her...]

L: What's your favorite part of your job? What's your least favorite?

T: The first question is easy. I really enjoy getting to know so many different people. My least favorite part would probably be getting a late night phone call from someone who has locked themselves out of their apartment... or worse, forgotten where they live.

L: What's your least favorite question, that you get asked on a regular basis?

T: "My best friend/brother/second grade teacher is coming to the performance tonight. From out of town. I know it starts in 20 minutes, but can I get three comps? To a sold out show?"

L: Ok Teresa. Fill in the blanks. (Teresa's additions are in all caps.)

1. A typical work day for me includes BURNING UP A LOT OF CELL PHONE MINUTES.


3. I really can't live without ANNA (Management Assistant and Huntington rock star).

[L: Anna, there's your job security.]

4. A good company manager should never TELL SECRETS.

[L: We're trying to figure out how much Teresa could make by publishing her memoirs. Any guesses? Would she be all set for retirement? Send in your guesses and/or bids!]

5. Never leave home without your COMPANY MANAGEMENT CELL PHONE.

6. My company manager mantra is, "TWO MONTHS AT A TIME."

Thanks to Teresa for guest-starring in this blog entry. Your answers are great and I hope our readers enjoyed learning about yet another part of all the work that goes into the festival and all the incredible staff that make it happen..



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