Saturday, February 10, 2007

Diary of an Assistant Stage Manager


A day by day account of the rehearsal process of BYU-Idaho's "Crazy For You," from the point of view of yours truly. Since the show's been running successfully for three nights in a row, I figured now was the best time to publish this.

January 23
Two weeks before the show opens. It feels like a lot of time. But then, in moments of blazing clarity (and panic), I realize that it’s actually not. Hyrum keeps confusing me when it comes to the chairs that we’re supposed to be using in each scene.

January 24
Our Polly has only tried on 2 costumes. I’m becoming concerned. The double Zangler scene looks great...definitely one of my favorite parts of the show. I wonder how many bottles there are actually supposed to be on the bar. Hm.

January 26
Spent a good hour or so after rehearsal concentrating on the tedious task of removing tape from the stage. Wow, was that boring. I still have tape under my nails. The show’s coming along, and I can tell it’s going to be great. It’s nice to have to continuity of running entire acts. I’m attempting to stem the tide of panic and responsibility awaiting me as soon as the Stage Manager leaves the stage for the booth and leaves me in charge of everything down here.

January 27
Double rehearsal today...morning and night! Hyrum had one of his obligatory tantrums at tonight’s work-through. He threw a music stand and said “I need to go away for awhile, because I’m just done with all of you.” He returned to find everyone rehearsing again, somewhat more focused this time, and for the record, he did 10 neutral breaths while gone.

January 29
Had a nightmare last night that we were trying to work scene changes, but we couldn’t because all of the set pieces were floating a few feet above the stage. We finally worked out a system of magnets to hold everything down, which proved to be problematic since everyone in the show wears tap shoes. The car came in today and it looks fantastic! Jenny ripped her pants on a “scary nail” in the hood where she hides, but it’s taped up now, and by tomorrow maybe we’ll have the car running. The fact that its a rental worth thousands of dollars scares the --------- outta me.

January 30
Rehearsal from hell. Tried to work scene changes as best I could without enough knowledge of where things are and who can move them. On the bright side, the car is running! Now we’ve just got to figure out how it can enter in between the lighting poles like its supposed to in Act II, without also hitting the flat directly in front of it. Hyrum finished choreographing “I Got Rhythm” tonight, at last. Only 2 more numbers to finish before we open in a week. Got enough people to help with scene changes and props and all tonight, so we should be good to go by tomorrow night. With the exception of that stupid abandoned theatre scene. I’ll have to apologize tomorrow to anyone I might have snapped at. And spend several hours assigning scene changes.

January 31
I stayed up until 3:30 in the morning working out scene changes, set arrangements, and prop assignments. I had to call into work with a “family emergency” in order to get everything done today that I needed to. Lord forgive me my white lie. Rehearsal was terrifying, but I think it was productive. The costumes look great. We spiked everything tonight. Not sure how that’s going to work out, since the stage still has to be painted. I accidentally almost sent about 6 chairs back to the ranch today in an effort to get organized. Thank goodness they stayed in the shop.

February 1
Another late night CHANGING scene changes. And of course it’s still not final. But we’re getting closer! I’ve decided that “Slap That Bass” is going to be my own personal dance solo backstage during this show. Mostly for Mallori, because she’s the only one who can see me. =) The orchestra was here tonight, and they sounded great! It really is going to be a fantastic show. It’s still nitty-gritty, but it’s getting smoother. We only did Act II tonight, so it’s before 11pm and I’m HOME! How great is that? I don’t know what it is about Riley, but he makes me laugh so much. Onstage and off. I’m glad for people like him. And God bless Cameron Boyle for his patience, good attitude, comfort, and smile! He’s keeping me sane during these rehearsals.

February 2
Hoorah for smoother rehearsals! Which were filled with awkwardness, for some weird reason. Dan kissed my teeth today. And I kept trying to say funny things that didn’t out the way I planned, or that didn’t get the reaction I hoped for. I think tomorrow I’m going to type up the REAL actual FINAL scene change list.

February 3
Whew! Rehearsal mania. Morning and night today...holy cow, it was overwhelming. I had to be there at 9 this morning, which was an experience that reminded me that I am NOT a morning person. Jordan playing the piano this morning was my sustaining force. That, and Cameron, as always. Adventures today consisted of finalizing the scene change list at last, and then changing it again during the highly necessary scene tech tonight, which we had since our male lead couldn’t make it to rehearsal. Poor Dan has bruised ribs and is in need of a root canal and so was in rehearsal with moderate amounts of pain and exorbitant amounts of prescription painkillers. Props to Jenny Farley for bravery! Today will go down in history as one of the first and only times I’ve ever seen anyone stand up to Hyrum’s bullying, and ask for a little respect! And she wasn’t rude or snotty about it! It was fantastic, and I was so proud of her! I decided tonight that I’m not cut out for stage managing, and I don’t enjoy it. Too complicated. I think my system might react poorly to the 4 or 5 Hostess Ding Dongs I consumed during rehearsal tonight.

February 5
Invited dress! The audience was fantastic, although somewhat...what’s the word Hyrum used?... “animalistic” at times. It went really well, no huge disasters, no ridiculous scene change catastrophes. My favorite part was the fact that in the last scene with the car, they opened the hood to “fix” it and found me sitting in it with a little sign that said “Great Dress Rehearsal.” But it felt like it was just what we needed to have a successful opening night!

February 6
We did it! We opened! Successfully! No injuries, no disasters, it was great! Here’s to a fantastic show! I’m so tired I can’t even think of anything else to say about it.

And a great picture of Jenny Mae, Beckah, and Dan from the show to end with!


1 comment:

Little Whee said...

All I can say is no one is supposed to be able to bend that way. No one.