Friday, September 30, 2011

Big Bag O' Stuff

The show opened!  Opening a show always eases my mind.  Tech is stressful but once a show is opened, things become routine and it becomes my goal to get better and better at the routine.

My point, however, is since the show is open, I want to share a bit more about stage managing.  Not all stage manager do, but many stage managers create something called a stage manager's kit.  This consists of everything you might potentially need to survive a production.  Now this may or may not sound like a lot of items to you, but I assure you, it is a hell of a lot of items.  Some people have larger kits than others (and in truth I have the largest kit of any stage manager I've personally met).  I tend to obsess over it and if I'm going to make a spontaneous purchase, it's most likely is going to be for my kit.

Now, what's specifically in a kit?  Here's a list of what's in mine (and remember my kit is probably excessive):

     Pencils, Pens (multiple colors),   Eraser,  Pencil Sharpener,   Highlighters, Sharpies, Scissors, Whiteout, Erasable colored pencils (for blocking notes),  Bobby pins,   Hair clips, Hairbands,   Elastic headbands,  Brads,  Metal fastening rings,  Binder clips, Safety pins,  Paperclips, Nails clippers,  Nail file,  Tweezers,   Stapler,   Extra staples,   Hole punch repair stickers,  Garage dots,  Labels,  Dental floss,  Toothbrush and paste (disposable), Hairbrush,    Comb,  Band-Aids,  Neosporin,   Ace wrap, Gauze wrap, Gauze pads,   Super glue, Felt horseshoe (for reducing swelling), Ice Pack,  Heating packs,  Sling, Mouth wash,  Shaving razor,  Shaving cream, Icy Hot Muscle Rub, Multimeter,  Mini level, Hammer,  Multihead Screwdriver, Ruler, Scale Rule, Tape Measure,  Cotton balls,  Q Tips,  Flavored water packets,   Juice boxes,   Granola bars, Ziploc bags,   Three Hole Punch (kept in prompt book),  Tie line,   Flashlight,  Posit Notes,    Extra notepads, Deck of cards,   Chalk (for taping a floorplan), Keelenx,  Styling gel,  Lint Roller,  Calculator,  Makeup remover, Tampons and Pads,  Hand Sanitizer, Hairspray, Dry shampoo,  Tide to Go stick,   Screws, Nails,   Bolts, Batteries (AA, AAA),   Battery charger and rechargeable batteries,  Small laundry detergent packs,   Chocolate,  Hard Candy,  Lotion, Baby Powder,   Glasses repair kit,   Eye wash,   Eye drops,  Fingernail polish remover, Rubbing alcohol,   Lotion,  Pain Meds, Antacid,    Lozenges/cough drops,  Cold medicine (Dayquil),   Disposable silverware, Sewing kit, Deoderant (male and female),   Rags,   Scotch tape, Medical tape,  Athletic tape (normal and finger), Prewrap,  Electrical Tape, Masking Tape,   Packing tape, Gaff Tape,   Glow Tape, Spike Tape, Small crescent wrench,  Glue stick,  Tea, Instant Coffee, Instant Cocoa, Instant Apple Cider, Compact Mirror, Handi-wipes,  Protractor,  Gauze Pads

A stage management kit is extremely personalized. I keep a lot of sport medicine things in my kit because having done sports for ten years of my life and having a mother trained in sports medicine means I have quite a bit of knowledge of how to tape a knee, or a wrist, or an ankle (unlike the majority of people). I also have strange things like baby powderm which will keep spilled soda from sticking or nail polish, not only for it's normal purpose, but also to remove super glue.

As for containers for kits, many people use tackle boxes or art supply boxes.  Some people use tool boxes and some just use large open boxes that have lots of smaller divider boxes inside it.  I use a tool bag that has lots of pockets and three divider boxes.  I love the bag, it's been great thus far.

Though it may seem like a lot of things,in truth, I have used everything in my kit (believe it or not).

Things I would like to get for my kit (if I can make room):
  • Soldering Iron
  • Hot Glue Gub with Gluesticks
  • Smaller Multimeter
My Kit

The Inside of my Kit

The Divider Boxes Inside my Kit

Health and Fitness

So I really like Jessie, I honestly do (I've never liked someone this much whose paradigm differs so wildly from my own), but sometimes people with her views about health and fitness drive me crazy.

I am overweight (I've never been comfortable with calling myself fat, but yes, I am fat).  With my genes, I'm honestly not that surprised.  I played national caliber volleyball and select soccer through high school, which helped a ton, but as soon as I stopped playing I gained a lot of weight.  I've never been particularly comfortable with it, but throughout college I was so busy with classes and productions and work that I rarely had even fifteen minutes to spare, let alone enough time to actually go to the gym and work out (you can scoff, but honestly with being in the theatre five hours a day, in classes an average of five hours a day, and holding two jobs I honestly didn't have time).

Now that I'm out of college and only working a job at night I have a lot more time on my hands, so I've taken to going out and running.  It feels good, but damn I'm sore afterward.

Anyway, I digress, what bothers me about Jess and many other people I know (particularly my boyfriend's dad and his dad's girlfriend in particular) is that people who are in shape and as thin as a rail is how superior they are about it.  They probably don't realize but they so often talk about working out is the only worthwhile thing in the entire wold.  I hate conversations that go like this"

Health Enthusiast: "Man, I just climbed a mountain and I feel great."
Me: "That's really cool.  Good for you."
Health Enthusiast: "How was sitting on the couch all day? Did you actually get anything done?"

The derision in their voice is just so frustrating!  (I desperately wish that conversation was hyperbole and not an actual conversation I've had).  Yes, I did sit on the couch all day, but in that time I've made twenty props, done two hours of paperwork, and written a chapter of my story.  Is not all of what I did worthwhile?  And, if I had sat on the couch watching movies the entire day, why is that any less valid?  It's not like all I do is sit on the couch and watch movies every day.

I want to lose weight.  I want to feel better about my self image (stupid media).  I do not need other people's condescension.  If you want to help me get and shape, then come running with more and don't laugh when I can't go as far or as fast as you.  Your lifestyle is perfectly valid, but so is mine.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Currently, my living situation is a bit interesting.  I'm about an hour and fifteen minutes away from my home, living in a different city for about two months while I work on a production.

I have never really been away from everyone I've ever known before and I absolutely hate it.  Being alone is one of my biggest fears and here I am, alone for two whole months.  At times it could be a lot worse but at times I can barely stand it.

I miss my family, I miss my friends, and most of all, I miss my boyfriend.  He's only three hours away but it might as well be the moon with how busy we both are.  God, I fucking hate it.  Today's a particularly bad day, as you might have gathered.  When the show is going well I can sorta lose myself in it, but the last few days have been particularly frustrating (tech generally is fairly stressful) and so living in this city with people I don't know is basically unbearable.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Calling a Show

One of the largest responsibilities of being a stage manager is calling a show.  It is far more complicated than it sounds.  It involves timing, multi-tasking, and an excellent feel for the show.  One of my mentors said that a good stage manager should be breathing with the actors in order to call a show well.

A stage manager gives their board operators and tech crew a stand by a some point before the cues need to be called.  Then when the time comes the stage manager will say: Light Cue # GO.  A good board operator knows not to click the button until the stage manager says the operative word: Go.

When I first started calling shows it took me awhile to realize that a stage manager needs to call the cue slightly ahead of when the cue needs to happen so that board op has time to react.  Once I realized this, my timing for cues got significantly better.

Currently I am serving not only as a stage manager but also as a light board operator.  I have done this before, but I forgot the amount of multi-tasking required for calling other cues (such as follow spot and sound cues) while also hitting the button.  It means that I actually hit the button after I would normally call the cue.  Basically it takes some getting used to.

Hopefully my ramblings were actually comprehensible.

As a side note.  Props that I made (Schlitz labels):

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tech Tech Tech

My show went into it's first day of tech today.  Somehow it's always almost magical how a production suddenly comes together when tech elements get added.

I have seen prettier lights, I have heard prettier sound, but overall it's a lovely show.  The costumes are fantastic and the wigs the actresses are wearing are just amazing.  Rarely does my belief get suspended enough that I can truly believe a actor's portrayal of a character, but these actresses are both so believable.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


First of all, this is not a post detailing why Caprica is awesome.  I firmly believe it is/was and that it shouldn't have been cancelled, but it isn't really something I want to debate.  What I would like to discuss is Caprica's view of sexuality.

Inside the world of Caprica there seem to be no laws dictating that x person cannot marry x person.  There are heterosexual marriages, homosexual marriages, group marriages and all of this is not treated as novel or exciting but simply matter-of-fact.  Within the Caprica universe any adult consenting person can marry whoever they wish.

I was discussing this with a friend a while back and we decided that well sexuality was handled quite well, gender was hardly addressed at all.  And, I think I still stand mostly behind this opinion, but I was thinking about it more and realized that gender is addressed in at least small subtle ways.  Firstly, within the work force, women are fairly likely to be in any position (simple employee to management).  I would say that their workforce is still leaning toward androcentric, but I think it's more balanced than our own society.  Secondly, gender roles do not seem to exist.  Children are raised (what seems to be) equally by both/all parents, both/all parents generally work, and the person who cooks in a family appears not to be gender based.  So, even though Caprican society is still largely heteronormative, there are little improvements that made me happy.

Finally, what interested me most about Caprica (which I mentioned earlier) were the group marriages.  This is a topic that is not addressed by any (that I can think of) media source.  Within the show it was a fascinating dynamic.  Within the group marriage everyone had (relatively) equal standing and everyone was expected to pitch in with chores and raising the children.

Group marriage interests me because it addresses a question I have always wondered about: what would it be like to raise a child with more than two parents.  The traditional statement is: children should be raised by one monogamous, heterosexual couple.  But, a homosexual couple is just as likely (some statistics point to more likely) to raise a child well than a heterosexual couple.  That raises the question, why would one monogamous couple raise a child any better than four polyamorous people or two monogamous-to-each-other couples.  Traditionally throughout history, children have been raised in a group setting.  When raised by only two people, a child gets only those two (generally just one) perspectives.  However, if you were raising a child in a group setting then you would have so many more opinions and I honestly believe this would help teach a child open-mindedness and flexibility.

Certainly there would be some issues when raising a child in a group setting.  You would have to set out strict guidelines between all members involved in the raising before having a child.  If not, you would be fairly likely to get the: "no, she's my biological child so my opinion should have more sway" or I have more children, so my opinion should have more sway".  You would likely still get these issues even with agreed upon rules.  However, I do think it would be a fascinating and possibly positive way to raise a child.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


While I had awful insomnia last night, I sat down and had and  was reading one of The Pervocracy's old posts ("Ooh Baby") which brought to mind my views on the issue of consent in children.

In the post linked to above, Holly talks about a baby that she saw in the grocery store and her mother had put makeup on her and pierced her ears.  Holly was fairly taken aback and quite frankly it's just something I have never and (most likely) will never understand.

Not only is this mother sexualizing her less-than-a-year-old child (which is bad enough on it's own), but the parent is making an assumption about their child and placing assumptions about who that child should be, long before that child starts to think about who they are.  Maybe it's just a touchy subject for me, I didn't pierce my ears till a month ago (after much deliberation), but maybe that child will grow up and wish their ears hadn't been pierced.  Maybe that child will grow up and wish that they had be the one to decide they wanted their ears pierced.

Yes, getting your ears pierced is a fairly minor thing, but it is being done to your body, not someone else's and, ultimately I think it is you (used in a general sense) that should decide whether you want to inflict harm (however minor) on yourself.  I believe that yes, even children should have this right.

And for me, it's about so much more than just mere ear piercing.  People so rarely ask children's thoughts, feelings, or permission for anything.  And in regard to ear piercing, where does making decisions for your children without even talking to them end?

What about intersex infants, those born with "ambiguous genitalia"?  Should the parents make a decision about their child's genitalia at birth, within the first 48 hours of their child's birth, as doctors so often recommend? [1] I will obviously argue against this practice and yet is far more common than many people suspect.  Why not let the child grow up a few years and as they grow explain to them what is different about their body, explain how it is different than "normal".  Then after the parents have done this, explain to them the options and fucking ask their child what they think about their body.

The arguments I have heard against this range from: but they won't grow up normally to (the more rational) but they will be teased.  In the face of the first argument my response is: so what? Normal is overrated and I would much prefer my child to grow up an individual who understands themselves.  To the second argument I would say: if the parents explain to their child that teasing is a possibility and explain why other people might laugh and mock, but assure their child that they should be free to be themselves, then teasing shouldn't be the biggest issue in the world.  People so often underestimate children's understanding of situations and I understand the urge to want to protect them from all teasing but ultimately I think a bit of teasing is worth the heartache/break later in life from potentially assigning a child at birth what the child considers the wrong sex.

I'm sorry for the excessively long post (I am naturally a very verbose person).  This is something I feel passionately about and something that always bothered me growing up.  I just wanted to be asked my opinion, children are people and the ageism built into most cultures is something that bothers me more than most things.

[1] This is an article through the Intersex Society of North America which discusses what intersex is and how it is often handled. Dominant treatment protocals is particularly relevant to what I discuss above.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pet Peeves

Is there a reason we can't start rehearsals on time?  I mean, technically it's my fault.  I'm the one whose supposed to keep us on schedule but I can only say, "we should be starting now" and look at my watch pointedly so many times.  I just want to start on time.

Also, as much as I love the show I wish the script could spell words correctly.  "Biult" is not a word, "built" however is.  The word you are looking for is "quite", not "quiet".  And finally please learn the difference between "here" and "hear".

Finally, there is a guy at my work who only seems to own Washington State University t-shirts.  Seriously, two weeks of seeing him every day and I have only ever seen him wear a wasu shirt. What the fuck?

A Frustrating Conversation

I am currently in an interesting living situation.  I took a job about an hour away from where I live and, not wanting to commute every day, needed to find housing.  I found this nice guy who had an extra room that he wanted to rent out.  I took my boyfriend to meet with him, his girlfriend, and his daughter and to see the room.  I ultimately took the room and am living here throughout the length of the show.

But, while I'm not really at home in this living situation, the people who live here are extremely nice and fascinating to listen to.  My landlord's girlfriend, Jessie, is a beautiful (in the media sense) woman: blonde, skinny, tall, tan, athletic.  And Jessie was talking to my landlord's daughter about teaching her daughter (she's divorced) not to judge other people.  All in all, a really good lesson and one a fifth grader needs more than a lot of other lessons.

However, Jessie's daughter was telling Jessie about a girl at school who looked like a boy and, like a good mom, Jessie told her daughter you can't judge "a book by it's cover" (which is a statement that, in regard to books, is only nominally true).  But, a few days later, Jessie was picking her daughter up from school and saw the girl that her daughter had mentioned and thought to herself "that really does look like a boy."  Not she, not the girl's name (which she knew), Jessie used the word "that".  And it wasn't a one time offense either.  The discussion became: "that really did look like a boy," and "that looked just like Justin Beiber."  Jessie's final remark was: "that girl is going to grow up to be a lesbian".

And...just GAH.  There are so many things wrong with Jessie's thoughts.  So many things wrong.  Firstly, no human being deserves to be referred to as: that.  We have pronouns for a reason (I will get into my thoughts on pronouns some other time) and as far as you know, that little girl just enjoyed dressing like boys but used female pronouns.  So fucking use female pronouns.  Also, maybe that girl is a lesbian or trans or maybe she just enjoys dressing in male clothing.  Who the fuck cares.  The girl is still a person and I have to say an exceedingly brave person for dressing in the way that she wants, even though she has undoubtedly taken crap about it before.  Final assumption that I found offensive.  One does not: "grow up to be a lesbian" necessarily. The girl could already think of herself as a lesbian or maybe she thinks I like girls, but doesn't label herself as a lesbian.  Sexuality and sexual orientation is not this magical thing that suddenly becomes relevant when you're a "grown up".

I should have said something.  I really should have.  I regret not saying anything, but it was for the sake of being able to live here another month in peace.  And at least Jessie did say, "How am I supposed to raise children to not judge people when I judge people all the time.  I guess it's a do as I say and not as I do kinda deal."  I don't know, Jessie is a really nice person who just happens to have some rather unfortunate views about sexuality/sexual orientation (views which I doubt she even realized she was expressing).  And she is right, everyone does judge others, but how she spoke about that little girl just makes me angry.


Thursday, September 22, 2011


I didn't really have many female friends till junior high.  My closest friend for most of elementary school was a very geeky, very adorable guy.  My other close friends were guys.  It wasn't till fifth grade that I actually made my first female friend and it was somewhat novel, because she was not at all like most of the girls I knew up until this point.  She didn't care if her clothes got wet and muddy playing dodge ball, she might have a crush on a boy but that crush wasn't going to rule her life, and she was completely into math and computers and science (which I wasn't, but I found that different and exciting).

Looking back, the girls at my elementary school (at least the ones I had contact with) were walking female stereotypes and I loathed them for it.  Granted, I was privileged and for half of elementary school went to a private school, an exceedingly conservative private school (though I didn't know that at the time).

When I went to junior high I discovered that, contrary to my beliefs, not all girls were like the ones I knew.  I feel in with a group of four other girls who were some of the only liberal people at the school.  We talked about classes and sports and more importantly for me, not about makeup and clothes and boys (though we talked about boys some of the time).  I think that's the first time that I discovered that girls can be just regular average people, with concerns larger than: what am I going to wear tomorrow, and I've had mainly female friends ever since.

And that's what I look for nowadays in a friend, a person.  A person who doesn't need to use fancy clothing as a shield to hide who they actually are, but instead dresses in a way that reflects their personality.

PS. I realize that this post reads as horribly judgmental.  Maybe fashionable clothes (as dictated by Cosmo and other magazines) really do reflect who a person is, but I think my point is, if that is the case then I probably won't want to be their friend.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gender Growing Up

I recently had a close friend confess that he was trans to me.  I couldn't be happier for him and transitioning seems to be making him happier (having never before had a trans friend before, I'll probably post more about him later).  But when he did come out to me, I couldn't help remembering what I was like growing up.

I was such a tomboy when I was younger.  I wore dresses everyday till I was about 9, when I transferred to a different elementary school, and promptly decided that dresses were silly and I wanted to dress like the boys.  I started soccer and volleyball (on a ymca coed team).  Eventually it got so I was the only girl allowed to play soccer with the boys (they claimed they were scared they'd hurt girls who played accidentally, like girls were delicate flowers or something). I was so proud of that status.  I played pokemon, swapped trading cards with my guy friends, and was even to the point of saying to my parents, "I want to be a boy when I grow up."  They weren't really alarmed and figured I'd grow out of it.

I did to some extent, I never identified as trans.  I'm not particularly "girly" or "feminine" now, but certainly more so than I was then by a considerable margin.  But, I've learned to own my body and myself.  Looking back, I can realize that I didn't have a problem with my gender so much as I had a problem with the way my gender was treated.  I started puberty earlier than most anyone else I know (got my period at 9) and I hated what my body was doing and I think subconsciously, I was probably compensating.  I didn't want to be weak, I didn't want to bleed every month, I wanted to be treated like the boys.  When someone asked for help carrying something heavy, I wanted to be the one called one to help (really this is still the case, nothing drives me crazy more than someone asking for "strong men to help" or women saying "oh no, I'm too weak, let a man do it").  The boys had the run of the place in elementary school and I wanted that freedom.

Honestly, I think it was elementary school where I learned that it was my actions that led people to treat me how I wanted to be treated.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Should be Doing a Rehearsal Report

Instead of sitting down like a responsible stage manager and writing a rehearsal report (paperwork which is basically what it sounds like, it details any technical notes that come up in rehearsals), I am instead sitting down and writing another blog post.

We finished the blocking/staging for my show tonight.  It is a great little show and I am really impressed with the work that director's done with it.  It's so nice to work with a director who is not only competent (this is a rarer quality than you might think) and also pleasant to work with.

I have all sorts of things I need to do on my day off tomorrow though: writing the letters used in the show, finding how to make fake stamps that are period 60's, and find a cigarette purse for a prop.  I haven't done props since I first started out working in theatre.  I did props for Pride and Prejudice, it's when I first met my boyfriend.

Anyway, I'm going to go off and watch glee over the internet with my boyfriend now (a somewhat guilty pleasure).  Maybe I'll even do my rehearsal report while I'm watching.

Hi, This is Me

My name's Kaylee, I graduated from college in June and currently am trying to make my way in the real world.

By profession I am a stage manager, which is, in part, why this blog exists.  A stage manager works in theatre and frankly no one outside of theatre knows what they do.  When someone asks me what a stage manager does, and they inevitably do, my first (mental) response is well they manage the stage.  But, unfortunately, that's not really helpful.

A stage manager is hired at the beginning of a performance and attends all rehearsals along with the actors and director.  They keep track of things like schedules, notes about technical choices, notes about where and how the actors move on stage, and when an actor needs to be fed a line, it is the stage manager who does it.  Those are just scattered responsibilities during rehearsals.  When the show gets to tech (which is, as the name states, when technical aspects start getting added (sorry if this is obvious, I have no actual idea of what people outside of theatre know)) it is the stage manager, rather than the director, who is in charge.  They are in charge of calling the various cues (lights, sound, set changes, projections, etc) for their show.  All in all, being a stage manager means that you are a laid-back, empathetic, organized, prompt person.

I am certain that I will get more into what a stage manager does later, because it is complex and I really do want to share in depth what my job entails.

And before I wrap this up, because I don't want to write a novel here, I will share a few more things about my personally and my goals with this blog.

I am a heterosexual, cisgendered, outrageously socially liberal, twenty-something woman with very slight bisexual leanings, who is madly in love with  her boyfriend of almost four years.  The majority of my friends are gay, lesbian, and bi, so if you're uncomfortable with non-heteronormative people, this is probably not the blog for you.  While not a compulsive journaler, I am a compulsive writer (helps with stage managing), which is ultimately why I decided to write this blog.

In regard to this blog, my goal is to be completely honest and completely open.  I am an open person by nature, but putting my thoughts and feelings in writing have always helped me, so here we are.

Hopefully that wasn't to rambling and my explanation of what a stage manager does was comprehensible.  I will probably post another entry after I get back from rehearsals, so I start getting in the habit.

PS. A prompt book is a binder that a stage manager keeps, which holds a record of the paperwork for an entire show, and this blog is intended to be a prompt book for my life.