Stage Write: Assistant Stage Management

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Hi! My name is Carrie Adams, and I’m a freshman here at Brown. On my column, Stage Write, I will be filling you in about all the drama at Brown (no, not who sat with whom at the Ratty, but actual glorious theater!). Each week I’ll be highlighting different theatre groups on campus and shows that are being performed. All of Brown’s a stage!

Hey guys! Sorry for no post last week, I’ve been super busy as an ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER for my very first show with Brown (which is what I’ll be talking about this week). Basically, ASMing is the best. During a typical rehearsal, I will take blocking notes for the director and actors (which means I write down who walks where when) or be on-book (which means I help people remember their lines if they forget while onstage). I am also responsible for sweeping the stage before rehearsals (loose nails on stage would be a very bad thing) and making sure all props are set for the actors. During the run of the show I will most likely be backstage helping move props around or in the booth helping with screen projections for the show. Basically, if the director or stage manager needs something, I’m there to help them. I’ve directed and acted before, but I’ve never done any form of stage management. So take it from me when I say no experience is necessary! There will be a lovely stage manager who makes sure you understand everything you’re doing and will give you the opportunity to try out things that the stage manger is usually responsible for (for example, last night I sent out the rehearsal report to get practice with it, but this is usually the stage manager’s job).

The great thing about assistant stage managing is that you get to sit in on rehearsals. I have learned so much by watching our director and actors talk through their scenes and ideas, and I’m getting to know so many more people in the theatre community! Sometimes I get to do warm ups with the actors too, which is really fun and develops my own acting skills!

The show I’m working on is called Bobrauschenbergamerica and it’s being produced through Production Workshop. Because this is not a department-affiliated show I don’t get credit, but if you chose to assistant stage manage a department show you would get an S with distinction (basically a pass+ in a mandatory pass/fail class) for your intro to acting class technical requirement! Even if you are determined to focus on acting in college, I recommend that anyone involved in theatre tries ASMing once as it’s a very eye-opening experience into the other parts of theatre. Now as an actor I definitely appreciate the hard work ASMs put into shows (but I also know the secret about how much fun being an ASM is)!

Questions? Comments? Want to Skype and practice monologues together? Not sure if that last one is actually possible, but for the other two, feel free to email me at Carrie_Adams@Brown.edu!

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