By Jocelyn Thompson, Stage Manager for the Strindberg Cycle
I still remember the day I decided to come on board for this project. I had no idea what I was going to be getting into as I had only studied a portion of Strindberg in college. I only knew that I had the opportunity to work with Rob Melrose and Cutting Ball again- which was not something I was going to pass up. After the first initial pre-meetings I came to the realization that it would end in one of two ways for me as an artist- to show me that this was not something I should pursue and that I should remain behind a desk job or that stage management was exactly what I was meant to be doing. Over these past 10 weeks August’s Chamber Plays in Rep have shown me that I couldn’t have chosen a better career choice or a project.
Most people don’t see what we as stage managers do. Others don’t even know there is an entire crew behind the scenes helping to bring the magic of these plays to life with the cast. I’m here to say that I’m one of those people. Night after night I sit inside of a control booth with my light board operator connected to my Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) and Production Assistant (PA) on headsets. I’m calling cues, coordinating with house management, directing backstage traffic, having minor heart attacks and yet still enjoying the thrill of watching what my cast of 13 has worked diligently to create.
These creations have not been an easy feat for any of the people involved on this project but it is something we’ve grabbed hold to and walk with each day. From the lighting designer who tosses over the intensity and realism of a practical light in the space, the sound designer who is compelled to strive for the musical integrity of the piece, the ASM who spends hours tracking the detailed position of each set dressing on and off stage between five plays to the actors who are holding private brush ups during half hour call. Strindberg has challenged us all. It’s allowed us to see the true beauty in what we do. And I have the chance to watch it all unfold with a keen eye behind my window of glass in front of the sound board.