Margaret Medwedew is Gulfshore Playhouse’s Company Manager and Volunteer Coordinator.
It’s a common trope of action adventure movies that when something goes wrong, we can find the hero screaming, “PLAN B!” Since being the Company Manager for Gulfshore Playhouse, I’ve learned that this is a common dramatic overstatement. There is always a plan B and often, B stands for Better.
What does a Company Manager do? Lots of things. The explanation I often give is that I support the actors that come to Naples to provide our community with theatrical works of art. I arrange their travel from New York, I pick them up at the airport, and I take them to their amazing housing, all the while expounding on the joys of the Florida lifestyle. While they’re here, I give recommendations on things to do or places to eat. I clean, I prioritize, I make spreadsheets for plans of attack, and I color-code everything. I fix broken faucets and swap door handles and I try to make sure that our guests love it here as much as I do.
I’m a native Floridian, which is often met with shocked expressions in a town that has so many seasonal residents. I’ve lived in lots of different places in this fair state and I’ve learned that Florida changes based on a stretch of highway. I’ve learned that Tallahassee is full of hills, Tampa has massive suburban highways, and Sarasota isn’t as nice as Naples.
I’ve learned to adapt to the places I’ve lived and that spirit of changeability means I can handle it when the plan for a single day shifts. I have started checking my emails before I drive in each morning in case I need to redirect where I am heading. If I planned on cleaning for most of the day, I need to have a change of clothes so that I look presentable if I have to go in for a meeting. My car becomes a mobile office, transporting luggage and cleaning supplies. I am more attached to my phone than ever because I need to coordinate pick-ups, not just check Facebook.
Being a Company Manager is like running an obstacle course while solving a Rubik’s cube and reciting the names of all the presidents, in order. Things do not always go as planned. It’s a challenge. But I love puzzles and I can retain lots of facts and I may be clumsy, but I will finish that course. I will hand in a completed Rubik’s cube. My job is make sure everything happens so that once an actor gets to the theatre for rehearsal, they don’t have to think of anything other than making theatrical magic.
I shrug my shoulders and move to plan B because this is how I serve the Theatre.
Margaret Medwedew thanks Kristen Coury for that last line, because it makes a really good closer and it’s true. She will next be seen in her car with a diet coke because someone broke a lamp.