From Hillary, boom Assistant to the Director/Casting Intern
I have the best seat at the house. Back of the main floor, house right. Tech day 2.
Our director is behind me discussing looks with the lighting designer. In the center section, our sound designer is adjusting cues on a computer that somehow connects him with our sound operator in the booth. Down front, our costume designer is talking about some potential changes with her assistant. It’s awesome that I get such a sneak peak as this show’s design team gets boom up on its feet.
But the best view I have is over our stage manager Elisabeth Farwell’s shoulder. I see her script, filled with notes about blocking (where actors move when). I see the funny-looking machine that connects to her headset. While I can’t hear what comes in through her headset, I know she is connected to our deck hand (a crew member who is in charge of moving scenery, props and curtains), our stage management intern (who helps keep up paperwork and round up the actors), the lighting designer, the sound designer, the light-board operator and the sound operator.
That’s a lot of voices to be talking to one ear (I mean that quite literally—her headset covers one of her ears, leaving the other free to hear what’s going on in the room).
Our stage manager is now coordinating what is going on backstage, onstage, and in the booths. By “in the booths,” I mean the cues that the light-board operator executes (i.e. any light changes) and that the sound operator executes (i.e. any pre-recorded sound). It’s amazing to hear her call a sequence of cues- she feels out when the moment is just right (usually a breath or two before we actually want to see/hear the sequence) and then she’s off! It’s a beautiful and amazing thing to listen to: If character and story are one motor of the show, our stage manager is definitely the other.