A week in the life of a Stage Manager- Production Week

Production Week is one of the busiest weeks for Stage Management. Here is a diary of what I’ve done this week. This production of Tartuffe is not technically complicated so this is a fairly relaxed sample of what a production week would usually look like.

Monday – Bump In

7:00 am – Pack lunch. And dinner. And snacks.

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Food = Fuel

For 6 days. I’ve found the best way to make sure I get time to eat, is to bring as much of it with me as possible. This way I also eat healthier food which helps with my energy levels for the week.

 

 

9:00 am – Check in at theatre.
Answer any questions that may have come up at the initial stages of bump in. There was no time for a pre-rig, so not too many questions here this morning, as they’re swinging bars and rigging lamps.

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Start of bump-in. A blank canvas.

 

9:15 am – Check in with Scenic Artist: sort out which props can she take from rehearsals for art finishing. Check in with Wardrobe: discuss new information and see if there’s anything we can use in rehearsals.

9:30 am – Set up rehearsals, set props for the day’s scene work.

10:00 am – Rehearsalsimg_3919

11:30 am – While the actors are on break, check in at theatre. Answer questions that have come up. There’s some complicated rigging going on, so it’s interesting to see how that’s progressing. catch up on paperwork, emails, messages and missed phone calls that have come in while I’ve been in rehearsals.

11:45 am – Back in rehearsals

1:00 pm – Eat. It’s important to make time for this.

1:30 pm – Catch up on more correspondence. Play a little hackey-sack with the cast.

2:00 pm – Rehearsals

5:45 pm – Send rehearsal report (which contains information that each department needs that has arisen in rehearsals today). Check in at theatre, see if they are ready for the Subscriber Briefing.

6pm – Subscriber briefing – A chance for State Theatre Company subscribers to ask questions of the cast and creative team before they see the show. Tonight there was some interesting discussion on the adaptation by Phillip Kavanagh.

7pm – Measure mark up: this involves measuring the marks for all the props and furniture on the stage. This needs to be done before the lighting focus, so the Lighting Designer can focus to the correct position. I will transfer the marks to the stage once the floor has been laid.

7:30 pm – Go home

9pm – Update tomorrow’s schedule with some extra publicity calls that have just been added. Catch up on pressing emails, the non-urgent ones can wait until tomorrow (or the next day).

Tuesday

11:00 am  – Check in at theatre and answer any questions.

11:15 am – Check in with our Wiggy and make sure that the actors calls give them sufficient time, making sure to avoid as much overtime as possible.

11:30 am – Check in with props to discuss some changes that need to be made.

1:00 pm – Eat

2:00 pm – Rehearsals – This is our last session in the rehearsal room. We are working on some scenes that need a little more detail. I’m making sure that my blocking stays up to date with any changes, and keeping notes if any changes are likely to affect what the creative team may have already done in the theatre.

6:00 pm – Send rehearsal report. Check in with production manager. Find out which things still need some work, what has come up that we weren’t expecting. What hazards do I need to be aware of?

6:30 pm – Eat

7:00 pm – Get theatre ready for cast.

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Getting ready for the plot

7:15 pm – Induct cast. This involves safety procedures, evacuation procedures, incident procedures. Make them aware of any hazards that exist. Chat about how the sessions are going to run.

7:30 pm – LX plot (with actors onstage). Often there will be no actors onstage during a lighting plot, we would use ‘walkers’ instead so the cast can have an extra session in the rehearsal room. For Tartuffe, the lighting is not too complicated, so we have decided to use the time on stage for the actors to work with the director, while I sit with our Lighting Designer to plot the lighting. As it is still a lighting session, we are not focussing on any technical moments, we are working separately from the cast. Meanwhile, the Assistant Stage Manager is starting to set props, set up the backstage areas, and make sure everything is safe. She is also putting some white tape on obstacles backstage so the actors can see them easily in the dark.

11:00 pm – Check in with the Designer about any notes that have come up, things that need to be fixed or finished.

11:15 pm – Send out updated schedule to everyone with tomorrow’s changes.

Wednesday 

9:00 am  – Respond to emails that came up yesterday, and answer some phone calls from the office.

11:00 am – Check in at theatre. Some new masking is about to go in that will affect actor traffic backstage as well where the Stage Manager’s Desk (SMD) can go. We tried to come up with some solutions that will solve both the sightline issues and also the traffic issues. It’s still a work in progress.

12:00 pm – We are trying to solve some furniture storage issues, as we have a 4 metre long table. This show doesn’t have any legs or masking upstage of the proscenium, so we’re trying to find some solutions for where to store such a massive table during the show when it is not needed.

1:25 pm – Half hour call.

2:00 pm – Technical rehearsal – The first time we put all the elements together, sound, lighting, costumes, actors, consumable props, final props. We step through the show slowly, making sure that we work sequences until we get them right.

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The view from prompt-side at the start of the tech.

6:00 pm – Eat.

7:00 pm – Continue technical rehearsal.

11:00 pm – Go home.

Thursday

11:00 am – Check in with Production Manager and have a look at some new masking that has been put in.

12:00 pm – Check in with all the departments about how things are going.

12:30 pm – Eat.

1:00 pm – Preset and do pre-tech checks.

1:25 pm – Half hour call.

2:00 pm – Continue technical rehearsal.

5:30 pm – Eat

6:00 pm – Preset for dress rehearsal

6:30 pm – Pre-show checks. We have blown a lamp over the marble. The lighting department change the bulb. This is why we do pre-show lamp checks early enough in the evening.

7:15 pm – Half hour call.

7:40 pm – Dress Rehearsal. It goes really well. Still work to do to tighten things up, but a very good foundation to work from.

10:45 pm – Notes in the green room with cast, creatives and Director.

12:30 am – Send some emails about tomorrow, and send running times to relevant people.

12:45 am – Go home.

Friday

11:00 am -Respond to emails and phone calls. There’s a lot of these as I haven’t had time to do any of this since Wednesday morning. Mostly they are questions from the office.

12:30 pm – Eat .

12:55 pm – Half hour call.

1:30 pm – Rehearsals onstage with a photographer in attendance to take production photos.

6:00 pm – Eat.

6:30 pm – Preset for the show & do pre-show checks.

7:25 pm – Half hour call.

8:00 pm – Preview # 1.

10:45 pm – Check on the marble floor. We found two cracked tiles before the show, and needed to tape them over for bare feet. We now have four cracked tiles. Workshop are coming in to replace them tomorrow.

11:00 pm – Check in with one of the producers and our Sound Technician about some sound issues that we are having. Come up with a couple of solutions and order in which to try them.

11:30 pm – Join notes with cast, creatives and Director.

12:30 am – Send show report.

12:45 am – Go home.

Saturday

1:00 pm – Print off script changes for cast & update the prompt copy with all script changes.

2:00 pm – Rehearsals. At this stage we are working through a list of things that need attention from last night’s preview, including working through the script changes, acting notes and tightening up transitions.

5:30 pm – Finalise schedule for next week & distribute

6:00 pm – Transfer blocking to pages that have had to be replaced in prompt copy because of script changes.

6:30 pm – Eat.

7:00 pm – Preset & run through pre-show checks.

7:25 pm – Half hour call.

8:00 pm – Preview #2.

10:45 pm – Notes with cast, creatives and director.

12:30 am – Send show report then go home.

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