Stage Write: A day at rehearsal from (a somewhat biased) ASM’s point of view


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(Pictured above: [top] cast and crew of Urinetown sitting together for notes / [bottom – photo credit to Matt Steinberg who was our amazing lighting designer for the show] a shot from the final dress rehearsal with director Ada Dolan-Zalaznick watching on intently)

Are you interested in theatre at Brown?  Whether you’re a veteran actor or a fresh newbie, you’ve come to the right place – Stage Write! I’m Olivia Cummings, first-year Shakespeare enthusiast (try to find the Shakespeare  Urinetown reference in this blog post!), techie, and budding thespian. I’ll be writing about my experiences in the various facets of theatre life at Brown this year.  

Curious about what we do at college theatre rehearsals? Read more for an hour-to-hour description of one of pre-production’s busiest days – wet tech.

10:45 – The management team shows up.  The ASMs (assistant stage managers) get the space ready by sweeping, cleaning up, and getting the set ready.  The director asks an ASM to get her a frap from Starbucks.

photo courtesy of danielle perelman

11:00 – The actors show up. They’re ready for a long day with bagels and coffee.  The ASM who went to get Starbucks comes back, making the director very happy.

12:00 – The lighting designer is re-designing light cues.  The actors are getting restless.

photo courtesy of matt steinberg

12:15 – The lighting designer gets the image he was looking for.  The SM gives everyone “10,” (a ten minute break) to which the actors reply “Thank you, 10!” while leaving the space quickly.

4:00 – You realize that you’ve been in a dark theatre for five hours.  Time really does fly when you’re having fun!

5:00 – Some people are getting a little hangry (as in, hungry+angry).  Fortunately, everyone understands and tries to hold their hangriness back to be as attentive and helpful as possible.

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photo courtesy of danielle perelman

5:15 – The ASMs have to find some actor’s phone. How did he lose it?  Where could it have gone when we haven’t left the building in six hours?  All questions the ASMs mumble to themselves as they pull out flashlights to look under chairs and under other’s belongings.

5:25 – The actor finds his phone…in his pocket.  But another actor has lost her keys.  ASMs hold back their growing need to snap.

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photo courtesy of matt steinberg
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photo courtesy of matt steinberg

6:00 – DINNER BREAK!  Everyone goes to the Ratty or goes home and takes a nap.

8:00 – Back in the space.  SM and ASMs are already there doing something.  Are they always busy?

8:15 – Starting a run! A few actors forget their lines much to the director and the SM’s dismay.

9:15 – Break.  ASMs remind actors to keep an eye on their stuff.

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photo courtesy of danielle perelman

10:30 – We finish the run!  It went pretty well!

10:40 – Everyone sits down to hear notes from the director and the music director.  Actors have to 1) remember the choreography and 2) enunciate.

11:00 – Wet tech is over!  Most of the production team goes home half-dead from their two consecutive days of 12-hour rehearsals. (The production team has to do a 12-hour paper tech the day before wet tech).  The actors go to Jo’s for a late-night snack.  The ASMs clean up a little.

As a potential Immunobiology and/or Public Health concentrator who is pre-med (PLME), I’ll approach theatre as someone who is doing it as a (very time-intensive) hobby. If you have any questions for me or would like to be connected with someone who is looking to pursue theatre after college, email me at olivia_cummings@brown.edu.  Looking forward to seeing you all at Brown soon!

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photo courtesy of matt steinberg
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