The jobs of an Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) include a variety of things ranging from running backstage, doing line notes, tracking props, and, of course, making coffee. These things take place daily during the rehearsal process and run of a show. As an Assistant Stage Manager and Intern, my duties can venture into other realms of the theatre. I personally have been doing Dramaturgical work for several of the shows, working in the office on various projects, working in the scene shop helping build the next set, doing light hang and focus, and loading the set in and out.
I have been an ASM on 18 previous shows in the last few years, with I Am My Own Wife being my 19th, making this realm of theatre not entirely new for me. This show and Gulfshore Playhouse have provided many news challenges for me. My background includes working on large scale productions, generally ranging from cast sizes of 18 to 50 people. This show has a cast of one. Since I Am My Own Wife is a one man show, he never leaves the stage during the show (minus intermission). Having been used to working on shows with a lot of things happening backstage during the run of the show, I was thrown off when I had a lot of free time during the show.
With the amount of downtime I have during the show, I was given a great opportunity by the show’s Production Stage Manager, Kate Haggerty. She has allowed me to be in the booth during the 1st act of the show for several days, watching and learning how she calls the show. ‘Calling cues’ is when the Stage Manager controls the changing of lights, sound cues and any other sorts of things that happen on stage (be it scene transitions, projections, etc). After several nights of this, I was able to call a sequence of the show’s cues myself. While I have had some experience with calling cues, I have never had the opportunity to witness someone else doing it. As a stage manager, one of the best ways to learn is from observing and then being able to do it myself, and this has been a great learning experience.
A few weeks following the close of I Am My Own Wife, I will begin rehearsals for The Whipping Man. This show will create a whole new challenge for me, with a new director and stage manager on board. It will be different because it is a space I am familiar with, but a whole new group of people to work with. Generally, when you work with a production team that is new to you, the space is new to you as well.
Overall, my experience here at Gulfshore has been great. The people I work with daily are a wonderful bunch of people who work really hard to produce amazing shows. The actors and designers they bring in are talented, fun and always a joy to have around. This experience is one I won’t soon forget.
Just a normal day in the office, me in a box!