Not that you’d ever know it from this blog (or maybe the lack of activity does prove it), but I have completed/survived my first year of theatre school. Damn, what happened? I got my ass kicked, that’s what. Only in the most glorious way possible, of course. 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 8 months. Literal blood, sweat and tears shed along the way. I loved every moment of it (even when I really hated it).
So I’m just going to take some time to I don’t know, HIBERNATE and DRINK, and I’ll be right back with ya.
As part of our final project for stage management class, we were asked to write up a definition of what stage managers are/do. I put a little twist on mine.
1) Thou shalt have no ego before the Company, for thy purpose is to serve the Show.
2) Thou shalt facilitate, not dictate the Creative Process.
3) Thou shalt not take any Company Member’s name in vain, but maintain a respectful attitude and label dressing rooms in the correct format.
4) Remember Equity breaks, to keep them holy.
5) Honour thy paperwork and scheduling.
6) Thou shalt not kill in times of difficulty or stress, but remain an oasis of calm.
7) Thou shalt not commit a note to memory without committing it to paper.
8) Thou shalt not steal the Director’s job come opening night, but ensure that the vision and direction of the Show is maintained through well-written and objective Show Reports.
9) Thou shalt not accept false witness from a Company Member, but investigate and monitor the situation thyself to obtain objective information before taking action.
10) Thou shalt not covet the spotlight, nor attention, nor power, nor anything that goes against the spirit and leadership of Stage Management which upholds Patience, Diplomacy, Collaboration and Adaptability.
When you walk around with a giant fake axe and no one looks twice.
Scenic painting is fun.
Design brainwave at 2:11am. Bingo, baby.
1) Be good at receiving criticism. You will be criticised for the rest of your life; get over it.
2) Be critical. Of yourself, and others’ art. “Good enough” is not an acceptable level to stop at.
3) Endure mess.Theatre is messy. Do not be afraid to fail.
4) Have great appetite for challenge.
5) Share (vocalise) your thoughts.
6) Be in the room.
7) (But don’t seek attention)
8) The things that come naturally to you are not the things you need to work on (as much).
9) Prep is everything.
10) Keep working. Then work some more.
There is stress that motivates and stress that suffocates.
There is stress that propels and stress that weighs.
There is stress that makes you want to conquer the world and stress that makes you not want to get out of bed.
There is stress that makes you a Head Bitch In Charge and stress that makes you a bitch, period.
Know the difference.
—Journal entry, December 14 2010. I like to think of it as a litmus test for whether you’re doing what you love even when you’re feeling shitty.
I find that the lessons I’ve learned in theatre are often valuable life lessons that have stayed with me, and have honestly helped shape me into a better person. It’s why I love working in theatre so much, and I’ve often thought that people in other more “legit” professions can stand to look at the process of theatre as a prime model for collaboration, negotiation, organisation, communication, innovation, self-motivation and superb work ethic.
Businesses, firms, corporations, banks, big companies et al: instead of hiring some fancy overpriced motivational speaker for your next staff training/team building day, consider sticking your employees on stage as crew for a load-in or strike. I guarantee they will get their asses kicked and they will also learn more about teamwork and leadership in their hard hats and steel toes than anything from a PowerPoint slideshow.