I have to spend a lot of time as a stage manager as little more than a glorified time keeper. That’s during rehearsal. My work is really before and after rehearsal – and I do what it takes to make performances go.
Luckily, my reward for sitting still for four hours at a time, six days a week, is a little bit of cash and a front row seat to watching talented actors give performances that only the director otherwise gets to see. And I don’t have to sweat having an opinion. I just get to sit back and watch.
I get to observe humans twisting themselves into emotional pretzels to find out what they’re trying to bring to light. I see the successes and failures and the amazing, illuminating truths in between.
Actors do this emotional heavy lifting, over and over, on a scale unlike any other. I find the work fascinating, as much to observe as to do myself.
Obviously, I’m someone who is capable of watching something over and over again. I know people who insist they find that impossible. I only find it unpleasant when the show itself is not to my taste. But when the show is good I can watch it repeatedly until the cows come home. Or the run finally ends, whichever comes first.
There’s a lot to stage managing that’s a bear, and I’ve dealt with actors who are a handful. But I’m glad whenever I realize I get to watch an artist I like go to work. Not many other jobs like this that I can think of.
Thanks, talented actors, for bringing it.