I never set out in life to be a stage manager. I started acting, if you could call it that, when I was in high school and the musical came around. I did 12 musicals and 1 Shakespeare from the time I started high school to the end of my freshman year of college; a various combination of them on stage and in the pit band. I took a chance at directing my sophomore year of college and then at the end of the year a friend of mine, my very first director (Lucas), decided that I was a stage manager. It seemed odd to me at the time that someone who had never been a stage manager was asked to do that job. But Lucas trusted me.
That’s how I ended up stage managing 7 more shows after that first one. 8 shows where my job was to make a director’s vision a reality.
When a show isn’t yours – and what I mean by that is you aren’t the one who wrote it or decided to direct it and you aren’t an actor who is embodying the characters in it – it can be difficult to fully give yourself over to a show. This may not be the case with everyone, but it certainly is with me. That doesn’t mean you can’t do a fabulous job and you can’t enjoy it, it just means that there’s something missing. There’s no spark that makes you not mind spending all of your free time in rehearsals.
With the 8 shows that I’ve stage managed, I’ve probably only fallen in love with about 3, maybe 4 of them. Each show wins your heart in a different way and sometimes it’s unclear when a show has won your heart. Sometimes it happens during the rehearsal process, other times it’s during the run and sometimes it’s not until you’ve been closed for months. But you recognize that you love it when you realize you don’t mind spending your Friday and Saturday nights at rehearsals with your cast and crew or when you forget that you’re the one on book because you’re watching and enjoying the scenes. The show that I’m working on now, Stone Tape Party, I am very much in love with.
We had not even cast it yet and I was in love with the writing. It was truthful and honest and at moments dark and it played on the edges of feelings that I have been dancing around for a while now; feelings of being stuck and unable to get where I want to be. It’s one thing to love a show because of the characters or the action, but another because you see yourself reflected back to you. This show is the latter.
This is the story of Dusty trying to find his place in the world and dealing with the consequences of his decisions not only on himself, but on everyone else around him. It’s not my story exactly. I am not Dusty, or Aedan, or Jodie, or Basie, or Rich, or Zoe, or any of the Party Girls, but I can see bits and pieces of my story in theirs. It’s almost uncomfortable, but it’s wonderful at the same time.
It may be safe to say that the moment I fell in love with this show can’t be defined as a single instance. It’s come from working with it for the past few months. From sitting through rehearsals, watching the actors bring these characters to life and discussing technical elements that will add something to the show.
I highly suggest coming to see what I’m making all of the fuss about. Stone Tape Party opens on July 10th and runs through July 26th. For more information, please visit the NuSass website or check out the Facebook event.