By Jamie Harkin, Production Assistant for the Strindberg Cycle
Being involved with this project has been the most challenging theater experience I’ve ever had. I contacted Cutting Ball about 5 weeks ago asking if there was any way to get involved in their company. I was a theater major in college so I wanted to use my skills. The Managing Director emailed me back quickly and offered me the position of the Production Assistant for the Strindberg Cycle and I happily took it.
I had no idea what I was getting myself in to.
As a P.A., I am at the theater upwards of 40-50 hours a week. So far, I’ve been working on these plays since the beginning of October. I’ve never worked this much on a show before. On a typical week day I get to the theater at six. I’m responsible for sweeping and mopping the stage and backstage areas and taking out all the trash. That usually takes a full hour to do. Then I help the Assistant Stage Manager with setting up all the set pieces. Once everything’s set, the ASM and I get on headset. I sit backstage for five hours. My only real job is to make sure the actors are in places and ready for their cues. I usually sit and read or write. Sometimes I go on Stumbleupon. That’s fun. At midnight, rehearsal is over and the ASM and I usually have to put away props for the next day. I get home around one in the morning. On the weekends I get to the theater at 10-noon and work for 12 hours. The weekends are the hardest on me.
Being a part of this process has really shown me how many people have to be involved in a play in order to make it come to life. Sometimes it’s almost too much for me. But I just keep truckin’ on. I’ve gotten to know a lot of awesome people, so that’s been good.
I consider myself an actor so it’s been hard for me to work on these plays. Usually as an actor, I get to rehearsal at seven and everything is already set up for me. But working backstage, I have to arrive usually an hour before the actors do to set up the set and props and by the time the actors get there, everything is set up and ready for them. I don’t think twice about who cleans the floor or makes the props or puts away the costumes. But in future, I will.