Friday, March 30, 2012

Small World

I graduated school, trained in stage management and wanting to work with kids (5-18ish) or in a children's theatre which catered to those ages.  It was an incredibly specific, narrow goal.  Or at least so I believe.

Since I've graduated, I've worked six shows with children/teenagers and am already scheduled to work two more.  It's worked out surprisingly well for me and because it's something I seem to be good at, I keep getting recommended for.

At the State Thespian Conference that I went to with the actors a few weeks back I briefly talked to a woman. I had just finished talking to the very harried, very overwhelmed technicians about the fact that there was no monitor system in place for the actors to hear the music.  Unfortunately that couldn't be solved, but we made it work.  As I was waiting to reenter the house from backstage I smiled at a woman next to me doing the same thing.  She complimented my name tag (which had been hand written in calligraphy through an odd series of events) and I asked her what school she was with.

It turned out she wasn't with a school, but was an adjudicator for the conference.  She asked what school I was with and I informed her of the school and my position there.  She then remarked that I wasn't a student and wondered if I had been hired professionally.  I explained that I had been hired to work the musical, but I was also in the process of training two very talented asms for their next school year.  A change went over her face when I mentioned that bit of information her face changed and she asked me for my email and phone (assuming I had a pen on me, which of course I did).

She told me she'd contact me next week about possibly teaching some classes for her theatre training program. I honestly didn't expect to hear back from her, but she emailed me practically the next day and we set up a meeting for today.

I went in, dressed for an interview and brought a resume, not quite knowing what to expect.  She had already said she wanted to hire me, but I wanted to make a good impression.   We talked to about an hour about various things.  It was a very relaxed atmosphere.  It turns out her husband had been an adjudicator for the tech portfolios, and thus for Tristan's prompt book (for the last show we worked).  She mentioned that her husband had been extremely impressed and I just marveled at how small the theatre world was.  It never ceases to amaze me.

As it turns out, I have all but been formally hired to teach a couple of workshops in stage management.  They are trying to help the high schools in the area build the program and they were hoping I could help with some hands on exercises.  I'm actually really excited for the workshops (though they aren't for months and months).  Luckily they weren't trying to hire me for a show, because the theatre is so far away, I would have had to turn them down.  But a day or two works just about perfectly.

As I've told people before, training new stage managers is one of my favorite parts of my job.  It's exciting and their progress is always stunning.  I've been very lucky to have enthusiastic, extremely competent trainees to be fair.  But there are some days, like this one, that I'm not sure I would trade my job for anything in the world.  It's just rewarding for me.

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