Thursday, June 10, 2010

A day in the life of a Stage Management intern

As the (British) Stage Manager for ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ my days are rather different than the day that lighting intern Claire depicted last week. Therefore, I thought I would enlighten you on what I find myself doing here!

My day normally starts off very lazily, with sleeping in to some ridiculous hour, normally 11.30am-ish or thereabouts. Then, after a quick check of the e-mails to make sure no rehearsal report crisis’s happened whilst one was sleeping, I usually mosey to get some food, typically bumping into some of the brilliant Endstation folk or some of the Sweet Briar girls for a brunch-time natter. Then, to work!

After a cautious walk to the theatre (I believe there are snakes in these parts, and therefore snake scanning at all times is necessary), I wander around until I’m given some sort of task to do, be it ripping up pieces of fabric, helping with administration tasks, exploring the prop room, checking the mailbox or going to one of the fabulous Endstation production meetings, for example.

The location where the last snake sighting took place. Rather close to the theatre!

After this, I generally meander back to the dorms to do some paperwork: my current tasks include making my prompt book look beautiful and ensuring that the prop lists/the stage management paperwork is all up to date and in the hands of the right people. Also during the afternoon, one sometimes manages to find time to nibble on a specialised American delicacy (and my favourite food as of the past two weeks!), Goldfish Crackers, which are thankfully readily available at all times on campus, and surprisingly taste delightful in tomato soup!

An essential 'Tea Time' treat!!

After all this, the real fun begins: rehearsal!!!!

Five evenings a week, I find myself in the company of a group of wonderful people rehearsing ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ My job is to sit there and scribble down blocking and where props are in each scene, record lots of notes to give to the production team, to assist in setting up/tidying away the rehearsal room and to help the actors with remembering lines and suchlike.

We also occasionally find time to indulge in some riveting intellectual discussion, for example what a roundabout is called in the USA (It’s a Merry-go-Round in case you are wondering), and who makes the best crown rehearsal prop (my beauteous paper creation was greatly shown up by the magnificent thing brought in by Casey, which was golden and complete with gems!).

My Very Impressive Paper Creation (unfortunately Casey took his Far More Impressive Crown with him!)

As a health and safety conscious Brit, I also spend a little of rehearsal time praying that no one falls off a table, impales themselves on a teacup, chokes on an imaginary item of food or anything similarly dangerous. After a quick chinwag with Susan about what we want to put in notes, I find myself walking slightly less cautiously back to the dorms (because snakes go to sleep under rocks at night….right.?) albeit a little slowly as the fireflies are rather pretty. Once I arrive, it’s time to write up the rehearsal report, send out the daily schedule to the actors and update any paperwork that has changed over the evening. Then, time for a spot of dinner and a little bit of American television, which concludes my wonderful Endstation day!

So, what are the Top Five Exciting Things about being an Intern at Endstation? For me, they are:

1) Being given the responsibility to properly work on a show: At the majority of internships, interns have to watch people doing things, make tea for everyone, and generally have no responsibility. Here, I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to actually Stage Manage a show, which is FAR better than the other option (And I’ve not been asked to make the tea once yet!)! Learning through making mistakes is far more fun than just observation; there should be more internships like this out there!

2) Living in a stunning part of the world: Virginia is beautiful. And the Sweet Briar campus is more beautiful than most college campuses I have ever been to. I mean, what other campuses have two lakes, multiple woodland trails and deer living on them? Impressive.

3) Having a Green Room that is actually green: Amazing, right? This is something I haven’t come across before, and is a Very Good Idea.

4) The People: Everyone here is awesome. FACT. I don’t think I need to say any more!

5) Making VERY exciting theatre: I saw Complete Works last weekend and I was more than impressed, and I am certain that ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Hamlet’ will be just as high-quality. I’m excited about the theatrical discoveries this summer is going to bring!!!

So, I think that’s all from me! Keep Smiling :-)

Jess Boatright :-)

Stage Management intern


Anonymous said...


Lady Dulcinea said...

I would love some tea!! ...with pepper, of course.