+ + +
I finally had the phone call with my theatre liaison. He emailed me this weekend to pitch me again on stage managing his show; this follows weeks of phone calls making the same pitch with the disclaimer that I should talk to him when Mom was stable. She is and I did. Some small talk about the show led to me telling him my heart wasn't in it, and I could only promise a half-ass effort. I am unreliable for this, and he needs to find someone to depend on.
Now this stage manager business is required by a theatre tradition of a director releasing the reins when a show opens. I can understand this for professional open-ended shows. When you don't know when a show might close, a director can't commit to being there every night to make the show run cleanly. I guess. I mean, the paid actors and crew have contracts that stipulate they have to be there. The director would have begun his work earlier in the production. Stage managing also allows an apprenticeship of sorts for those who might later direct a show. But they may just as likely shift into a specific tech job.
Also, sure, a stage manager can run the show as the director talks turkey to tech folks. Again, a big-time show will require his attention in all areas. He can work backstage while an assistant cracks the whip.
A stage manager isn't so necessary for a community theatre production with a definite close date. Particularly when that show might only run two weekends. When I directed the one-act (twice, it turned out), I didn't consider a stage manager. It seemed irresponsible to mold a show and then set it adrift while I stayed home with the TV. There was no reason to bring in someone else to mind the script or set the props or corral the actors. I was there. I knew where everything was to sit and move. Who needs a Scooter?
That wasn't my argument with this director. He operates under that tradition of managers sitting in for rehearsals, learning the show, and running it when the audiences arrive. It's not that I'm so philosophically opposed to being a stage manager for a three-act show. I've done it before, and nothing caught on fire. I simply want to be home for a while. I'm burned out from the one-act and the later anthology lasting from spring through summer. And I don't trust the theater's resources and decisions.
Case in point: The smallest part in this fall play was given to Marley from the Scrooge play. If I had to manage that guy for a whole month, well, he'd be dead in two weeks. His diva behavior is inexcusable, and he's already bristling at such strident demands such as "learn your lines." Unlike the Scrooge play, this time he's working with people who will have their material down cold. I'd like to hope this standard would inspire him. I doubt it, however, and would not be shocked to hear the director take over the role a week before the show opens.
Picture of the Day
I caught the last home bout of rollerderby this season on Saturday, and the Blue Ridge Rollergirls won, 155-67. Team members Mazel Tov Cocktail and Rigor Morticia were strong for the home team again. They're really good. The people in the front of the photo are sitting in the "suicide seats." A number of the girls slid into them during the night, and it looked painful. But some of the rollers were cute enough to make it worth it.