There is more to a play than the performers.
If you take a step back, you can see the different colors and textures of the lighting, you can hear the music or sound effects that add to the mood of the production, the sudden movements of a scene change from the crew covered in black. Who makes sure the show goes through? The stage manager.
Kevin Simoskevitz, the stage manager for Las Positas’s upcoming production Stage Door, works hand-in-hand with director Dyan McBride.
How does the director and stage manager work together during the production process?
The director is the artistic brain of the show. They bring their image for the stage to the rest of the artistic team. The director works with costume designers, lighting technicians, Scenic construction crews, and properties masters. Not to mention the producers, publicity organizers, and other unseen artistic members of the team. It is the job of the stage manager to be the informational bridge between the directors and the design team. “My main job is the organization and distribution of information between the departments.”
The tech theater class (THEA 48) helps the designers build their creation to life. The class is the crew for the productions in LPC. There are different jobs that the students can take part of such as: sound design, props or dresser.
What does a stage manager do during auditions, rehearsals and shows?
During rehearsal the director works with the actors trying to bring her story to life through their words and actions. New ideas come up, props that are added, costumes that need modification, and the stage manager takes all of her notes and tells it to the design team through the rehearsal report. This is a document that is sent out daily to the designers and crew so they can stay up to date with the constant changes and updates.
During a show, the stage manager is up in the tech booth calling cues. Therefore the stage manager has an assistant stage manager to help them run backstage. In Stage Door’s case, there are two ASM’s who are Holly Simoskevitz and Jonathan Weiss.
How do you manage your time between rehearsal and (academics, job, etc)?
I try to separate my personal life from rehearsal and the show as much as possible. At first I tried to combine the two, and always be available to be working on the show in my free time, but it ended up being way too much and would lower the quality of my work on both sides.
Are there any memorable stories that you have as stage manager? What shows have you stage managed for?
Every day in rehearsal is different. When working in the theater you don’t have any boring or slow days. I have so many stories from rehearsals I’ve been in, but one of my favorite moments from rehearsal is when my director Dyan McBride was talking to her cast during our run of Evita. She was explaining how busy, fun, and exciting her life as an actor has been. She has been doing this since she was a teenager, acting, directing, singing and dancing. Now she teaches, directs, and acts professionally all over the bay area. In the middle of the story she said “One day I just paused and said…shoot… I forgot to have kids.” which elicited a huge laugh from the cast.
Why did you decide to become a stage manager? What shows have you managed for?
I was an actor before I got involved in Technical Theater. It wasn’t until I saw a few of Las Positas’ beautiful productions a few years back that I wanted to be involved in more. I’ve always loved all aspects of the arts, the performing arts in particular. Acting was fun but I was always more fascinated by the sets, the lights, and the costumes. but I didn’t know where to put my focus when studying. My professor said they needed a stage manager for a show they were doing that semester and I said I was interested. It turns out the stage manager is heavily involved in all of the things I had been interested in. I fell in love with the role instantly and my favorite part of this job is calling the show when everything has fallen into place. I’ve been a stage manager at Las Positas for the last 3 years, and I hope to be one for the near future.
What advice would you give people who want to pursue stage management?
For someone who wants to pursue stage management I would tell them they need to be extremely organized. They need to know their show very well, and be the #1 source of information for anyone who asks. Knowing how to create a spreadsheet, and organize a group of people is extremely helpful, and If you have good people skills, this job could be great for you.
Stage Door runs from March 6th through March 15th.
Mikala Slotnik is the opinions and copy editor of The Express. Follow her @mikala_xoxo.