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It all went horribly wrong

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by Dustincoc, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    I'm "PSM"ing a short play festival. We have 3 groups of 7 shows each over 2 weekends. Each group gets 2 preformances. In Group C which we're doing now, I'm SMing 2 shows in groups C which opened tonight, one before intermission and one after intermission.

    The first show went reasonably well, although on my way to the booth to call the pre-intermission show, I learn that someone had locked the crossover door, which goes through a dining room downstairs that I don't have a key to. I have checked and they were open when I got to the theatre. We end up having the actor cross the stage in a blackout before my first show and have campus security open the crossover doors which are open by the beginning of intermission.

    The opening of the second act is where all the problems happened. I call my actors to places as the house closes. I call my APSM on cans to confirm that we have actors, nothing. I keep calling here every 10-20 seconds for about 3 minutes, no response, I get no-one backstage. I decide to go ahead with the show since the other APSM is never on headset, and figuring the the APSM I'm trying to get is busy getting ready for the next show. The actor were in places but since I'd only called the show once before, I called the lights up too close to the blackout and the actors hadn't had time to get on stage. Seeing this they decide to enter at a different location and run backstage to enter through the curtain.

    Once they get on and get started, The APSM that had been missing got on headset and I asked where she had been. My APSM for some reason had decided to help take down the concessions stand after intermission. As I do this, the light board op starts to reprimand her and I, stupidly, don't stop him. This messes with the APSM's nerves and during the scene change into the next show, she drops one of the blocks being used as part of the set. The audience laughs at this, seeing it all because they are less they 10 feet away. All during this change, I'm on my way down from the booth and the APSM is in tears because of all of it. I tell her not to worry about it, that things happen but don't get anywhere. I go out into the lobby and see one of the other SM's who is a girl and ask here to go talk to the APSM since I'm not very good at dealing with this type of thing. As I return backstage the director of the show shows up freaking out and throwing my nerves out too.

    The APSM is an actor who has no experience backstage, and no desire to learn allthough she does or gives her best try at everything asked of her. This is both my first time SMing and PSMing although I have APSM'ed this festival twice. It kind of just fell to me being th only one left that had any experience doing the festival in the past and no-one else with SM experience wanting to do it. I don't believe in saying anything about issues that arise during a preformance until after the preformance to keep from affecting anyones feelings/nerves and messing with the remainder of the preformance. I did say something to the Light Op after the show but didn't say alot to the APSM although she did gert the message and I'll probably say something tomorrow. I did ask the APSM that's usually not on headset to be on headset during/after intermission tomorrow.
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    "Praise in public; discipline in private." Where have I heard that? You're the first person I've seen use a position as APSM. Is that position above/below the SM? And can you define your understanding of the difference between PSM and SM?

    The most important take-away I see is
    Never start an act without hearing from backstage.
     
  3. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    This show is a series of 7 short plays, each play has its own stage manager. The PSM and APSM's are basicly there to set-up / tear down the space before each show. We also act as the deck crew changing the set between the shows in full view of the audience. In relation to the SM, their about the same or slightly above.
     
  4. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    Also, in the opening number in this set, one of the actors gives an open beer to another actor on stage. I have no clue where it goes after the preformance, it just sort of disappears, thankfully, the director provided a 6-pack for 3 shows.
     
  5. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    Is there any question where it goes....didn't think so.
     
  6. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Send someone to the store for really cheap non-alcoholic beer.
    I have a feeling it might end up back on the prop table.
     
  7. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    I won't be doing that. The show closed Sunday, we just had a dry tech a tech/dress and 2 preformances. I'm not doing props. I'm the PSM aka. the deck boss with a really big title.
     
  8. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    reminds me of terrible thing we did to a actor, in the scene he is meant to take a swig of "beer" and then spit it out because it tastes terrible. but he wasn't getting it quite right.

    so last rehersal we confered with the director and we agreed to put straight lemon juice in the bottle.

    it got the required effect :)
     
  9. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    That would do it perfectly, wouldn't it! :)
     
  10. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    yes they didn't expect it and it worked like a treat, after that i think we reverted to water but the guy knew to perform well otherwise more would end up in his "beer"
     
  11. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Third to last night of rehearsal for Miracle Worker, some of the actors conspired during the dinner scene. Helen is given a cake by one of the actors, and greedily stuffs it in her mouth. Only, that night, the cake was filled with cayenne pepper.

    Wasn't exactly to help her as an actress, but sure was funny ;) (and kudoes to her, until the entire stage erupted in laughter, she didn't break character)
     
  12. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    that's just not nice, that
     
  13. deadlygopher

    deadlygopher Member

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    We did the play "The Art of Dining" last year, and on closing night one of the actors snuck a ton of pepper into all the food being cooked on stage. The play is one gigantic scene in a restaurant with a single intermission. Two actors stay on stage during intermission to cook the food, and about 2 minutes before intermission some cayenne pepper traveled with the smoke from the burned food. Thankfully I wasn't on run crew, because all the ventilation went through the light booth.
     
  14. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    An actor/friend of mine in my school has a fear of soda...don't know why, but he despises it. During one of the night's of our Dracula production, (I played Dracula, he played Renfield) someone sneaked sprite into the "wine" I was supposed to pour for him. As I poured it, I saw the bubbles and started freaking out in my head, because a month before opening night he threatened to walk off the stage if anyone screwed around with his drink. thankfully he muscled through the scene, but he was swearing up a storm backstage.

    Now CB member "themuzicman" will print this out and show it to him, causing actor friend to get pissed at me for putting this online. Thanks matt.
     
  15. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Just curious, [user]Hughesie89[/user], do/did you attend public or private school in Australia?

    Would Mr. Stanislvaski have approved? Probably.

    I did a show where a character was supposed to react to being hit with a followspot. I planned a 1Kw-6x22 w/ iris and L202 from the balcony rail and focused it DSC. The first run-thru, we took the, time 0, cue and the surprised actress reacted. The Director stopped the rehearsal and said: "Exactly! Remember that feeling. Do it that way every night!" The next cue XF'd to a 6x16 from the top of each box boom in L111, to make it "pretty and theatrical."

    Same run-thru. Actors weren't where I had the light. I asked the director if the actors were going to follow the same blocking as in rehearsal and showed him my notes. The director stopped, and told the actors they were supposed to be in a different place. They said, "We've always done the blocking this way." The Director said: "The notes the Lighting Designer took the last time we ran this scene say you were over there, where all that light is." Finally, the Stage Manager came around the prosc. and confirmed for us.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008

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