This week’s blog is written by Gulfshore Playhouse administrative assistant Alexis Salinas. Alexis recently served as a production assistant at the 7th Annual New Works Festival.
This past week, I had the absolute pleasure of revisiting stage management while working on this year’s New Works Festival as a Production Assistant. I studied stage management throughout college but as I continued to pursue my career in arts management, I assumed I bid my days of wearing blacks and a headset farewell. It goes to show- life has a funny way of coming back around!
This Festival gave our playwrights the freedom to develop and workshop their script with seasoned actors and directors at their side. One of my main responsibilities this past week was to ensure that all actors had the most up-to-date script (I apologize to all the trees that sacrificed themselves in the name of art!). Along with this, I generally supported the production by prepping the rehearsal room with materials such as pencils, music stands, chairs, water, etc. The jobs may be mundane, but they are certainly a large help to the process!
I spent most of my time this past week working with Gulfshore Playhouse around the clock, because not only was I sitting in on prep, rehearsals, and performances, but I was also juggling my year-round position as our team’s Administrative Assistant in our Administrative Office! A typical day this past week would be: rehearsal, office, rehearsal, office, rehearsal, office… it was a hectic week for sure.
To get a click glimpse into my opening night experience…:
First, print scripts. Three hour rehearsal. “Lunch” A.K.A. run personal errands and scarf down fast food in 5 minutes. Four hour rehearsal. Clean the stage, organize the chairs and stands, grab mics, grab water, prep for performance. Fifteen minutes before the house opened I was in the bathroom changing into my black clothing, brushing my hair, and eating dinner at the same time. To put it simply, it was a WILD weekend.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s true, life in the theatre industry is not always enchanting. I leaned against the bathroom sink struggling to put my shoes on while eating my sandwich. I spoke more to the printer (it’s a little touchy, okay?) than I did my own boyfriend. I must have spent my entire paycheck on Starbucks. But wow, it was an experience I wouldn’t trade for the WORLD! To have the opportunity to revisit my passion again was a blessing.
The time spent in rehearsal was a terrific new experience for me. Typically, I work with stories that have been completed and it is simply a matter of translating it to the stage. This go-around, I got to see it all in a new light. The actors and directors truly made it a collaborative workshop and all with the intent of helping progress the story. All of our scripts this year had deep, meaningful characters, themes, and relationships.
Seeing the show transform from mere words on a page to seeing it performed a week later with practically a new script? All the while I get a behind-the-scenes look at the people who make this festival and company as fabulous as it is?
The process may not always be glamorous, but this experience was glorious. Thank you to all who brought it to fruition.