Saturday, October 15, 2011

Centralized Power

I'm not a leader by nature.  I'm really not.  I don't need to have control and in groups outside my closest group of friends I listen and don't talk.

Throughout my life I took integral positions, but not ones that were noticed.  I was a goal keeper in soccer and it's an important, but it's generally the forwards who scored the goals and got the glory.  In volleyball I was a setter, a position that had all the responsibility and none of the glory.  It was the hitters who got the glory.

Stage managers are in the exact same position.  They have so many responsibilities, so many responsibilities, but people outside of the theatre world have never even heard of a stage manager.  And thinking about it, I guess the question becomes why do stage manager exist?  Light and sound board operators could execute cues themselves.  Actors could keep a script on hand that they could check to see if their lines were correct or not.  Basically all the responsibilities that a stage manager does could in fact be done by someone else.

So I am brought back to the question: why does a stage manager exist?  And I think my answer to that question is that a stage manager centralizes power and responsibility.  If you have a question, then you know to ask the stage manager.  If something goes wrong, ultimately the stage manager shares in some, most, or all of responsibility.

It's a difficult position to be in.  Even when a stage manager calls a perfect show, no one will notice, because that's how the show is supposed to look.  People don't realize that it takes skill, but at the same time, I don't mind not getting the praise.  I'm happy when the actors get the credit and don't mind that I'm not "in the spotlight".  I'm happy when a show goes off perfectly and no one says a word, because that's what stage managers do.  They aren't supposed to be noticed, they are supposed to control everything and have no one know about it.

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