VII- Stage Manager/Assistant Director

• Stage managing and assisting directing are normally two different duties.
• For the purposes of Teatrotaller, I have combined both of these areas, since often times they are performed by the same person. If there is more than one person to conduct these duties, then the director may choose to divide them between the assistant director (AD) and the stage manager (SM).
• In this case, the assistant director will take responsibility for assisting the director in artistic decisions. The stage manager shall take control of the administration of all duties having to do with rehearsals. He/ she is the person in charge of making things run smoothly. That means reminding people of deadlines, collecting props, reserving rehearsal rooms, calling absentees, etc.
• The stage manager/ assistant director works as the liaison between the actor, the director , and the producer. He/ she must be present at all rehearsals.
• The stage manager/ assistant director is responsible for relaying the information to everyone in the production team, including actors, designers, etc.
• Establishing a list on E-mail is a very efficient way of keeping in touch with everybody. Please, reinforce to the group members the importance of reading E-mail frequently and let them know that any announcements will be communicated through this means.
• Good stage managers need to remain calm during adverse situations. It is very important that the stage manager keep control of the situation at all times. The director and the actors might go through emotional breaks, but it is the duty of the stage manager to calm things down and keep the rehearsal running. The stage manager cannot let him/herself be intimidated by the temperament or expertise of any member and should remain in good working relationship with everyone.

Duties of the Stage Manager/ Assistant Director:
General rehearsal period:
• Prepare a contact list with the names, numbers, and e-mail addresses of everybody on the production team. This list must also include our advisor’s office phone number, Statler’s stage manager’s number, etc. (Look at sample contact list enclosed).
• Have extra copies of the contact sheet at all times. Also, keep extra copies of the script in case the actors forget them.
• Along with the director, prepare a preliminary rehearsal schedule. Both the director and the stage manager should have copies of the conflict sheets that the actors filled out at the beginning of the semester. In case the director wants the stage manager to prepare the rehearsal schedule on his/ her own, the director needs to indicate which scenes need to be rehearsed.
• From the very beginning of the process, provide the actors and the entire team of Teatrotaller with a list of those rehearsals where their presence is mandatory (i.e. Dress rehearsals, strike, etc.).
• The SM/AD is responsible for informing the crew of their expectations and responsibilities. The stage manager supervises so that all duties are conducted promptly and correctly.
• Write down the blocking of the play. (Actors are supposed to write down their own blocking. However, it is very useful to have blocking in writing if the SM/AD is available to do this).
• Take notes at rehearsals of any changes/ needs that the director might mention. This includes changes in the set, lights, cues, etc. If there are any changes after the rehearsal, relay the information to those who might need it. (i.e. If there needs to be a hook on the door because the actor needs it to hang a coat from it, call the set designer and let her/ him know.) This will avoid any last minute changes once the rehearsals in the theater begin.
• Prepare a detailed list of props. Also take note of any extra items in the costumes/ set, etc. that the designers might have forgotten to take care of (i.e. purse for the character).
• Collect the props that will be needed for the final performance. Bring those that are essential to as many rehearsals as possible. Consult with the director as to which props to choose.
• Request the actors to prepare a list of all of the props that they use during the play. Let them know that you will be setting the props in place for them but that it is their responsibility to make sure that they have been placed correctly.
• Before they move to the theater, request from the sound and light designers a copy of their cue sheets. Following the same format as the lists they have given you, prepare a cue sheet where you combine the cues for lights and sound. This will be very useful once we move on to the cue to cue rehearsal.

Moving to the theater:
• Moving everything to the theater is the responsibility of both the SM/AD and the producer. Since the producer is not familiarized with all of the items that need to be moved, the stage manager should prepare the list of items to be moved and the producer will coordinate the people who will be moving materials to the theater. Enclosed is a sample of a moving checklist like the one the stage manager is responsible for putting together.
• Make sure that a tool box and a first aid kit (costumes) is taken to the theater. Keep track of these in the theater and know whether new materials, (batteries, staples, etc.) need to be purchased.
The tool box must include:
Flashlights (2) with batteries
Industrial stapler with staples
Screw Driver
Fishing string
Regular string
Tape (Many kinds)
X acto Knife
Colored tape
Rubber bands
Extension cords


Once in the theater:
• The first rehearsal in the theater is a spacing rehearsal. The stage manager will request the actors and the director/ assistant director to move to a rehearsal room while the set is spaced in the stage area. The designer will request the crew to set it in place. Remind the crew that nothing is set in stone and that changes will continue as needed. Supervise the crew and delegate tasks to keep an eye at all times on the full stage.
• Once the sets are in place, spike the set to the floor with colored tape. Take advantage of the different colors available for specific needs. For example, if there are two different set designs for each act, spike each act with a different color in order to expedite the set change between acts.
• Request headsets from the stage manager of the theater (Jeff Hetzel in the Statler). Make sure that you have enough headsets for the lighting designer, the sound designer, the director, the stage manager, and any other crew members backstage.
• Make a detailed list of the props for the play, specifying where each needs to be placed, who uses it and when it is needed (check sample list enclosed). Put the props in place and once they have been put in place request the actors to check them.
Spacing rehearsal:
• Once the set has been put in its right place, the actors will proceed to run the play on the stage. Remind the actors not to play with the set, props, costumes, etc. , and to be courteous in their remarks about them. The stage manager shall take notes if there are any changes in the blocking of the play, etc.
• Often times the director gets caught up doing many different things. Always keep track of time and let him/her know how much rehearsal time is left.

Cue to cue:
• In a cue to cue rehearsal the stage manager, following the script, will lead the director and designers from cue to cue. Both lights and sound should be done at the same time and they should be done in the order in which they take place in the play.
• The cue to cue rehearsal tends to be one of the most tiresome and difficult points of the rehearsal period. However, with the help of the stage manger, this rehearsal should run smoothly and without any major difficulties.
• The stage manager will be communicating with the designers and the director by headsets and will let the actors know when they are requested on stage. Following the script, they will go from cue to cue until they have been perfected.
• The cue to cue rehearsal helps the lighting and sound designers learn the cues. However, the stage manager, who is much more familiarized with the blocking, will be on headsets “calling cues” for them in case their visibility isn’t good enough or they just don’t know the play well enough.

How to call a cue?:
1-) About a page before the cue takes place say:
“Standby Cue A, cue #5” (Remember letters have been assigned to sound and numbers have been assigned to lights).
2-) The sound and lighting designer will reply “Standing by cue A (or cue #5)”. It is very important that the designer reply to you after each warning. This is the only way the stage manager will know if everything is in control in the booth. When the lighting and sound designer reply “Standing by” they have a chance to look at the computer and make sure that they are programmed for the right cue. If the right cue is not programmed, then they have chance to reprogram it before the next cue takes place.
3-) Right when the cue is supposed to take place say:
“Cue A, cue#5 GO!!!!!!!!!!!”
4-) The lighting and sound designer are supposed to say “Cue A, cue #5 going...”
• A lot of trial and error needs to happen before the cues run smoothly; give yourself plenty amount of time to practice with the designers and technicians. Repeat running the cues as many times as possible, but not less that ten times.
Before each final rehearsal:
• Make sure that everyone gets to the theater on time.
• Set up the set, props, and costumes (if applicable).
• Prepare a list of the things that need to be done right before the performance (look at sample “things to do list” enclosed). Rehearse going through the list as much as possible. Regardless of the play, every list of things to do must include steps 1, 3, 5-14 included on the sample list shown.
• Time yourself as you go through the list of things to do so that you will know exactly how long the set-up process before the performance will take. Also, make sure that you time the intermission and that it takes less than 10 minutes.
• Request the actors to get in costumes and makeup (if applicable).
• Let the staff and crew know of any changes that might have happened.
• When everybody is ready (you might have to hurry some of them to be ready by the time you’ve decided you want to start the run-through), request them to go to places.
• Begin each rehearsal following the same process that you will follow the day of the show.
• At the end of the run, consult with the director if the set will be let “as is” or if it will be put away. Meet with the director for notes/ comments. The stage manager should take note of any changes and relay them to the appropriate person, in case the person is not present at the time.
• Coordinating how the set, costume and prop changes will occur during the intermission is the responsibility of the stage manager. Designate specific people for each task that needs to be done. (i.e. Uri and Max carry the desk offstage while Juanfe sets the globe in place.) Always time the intermission during rehearsals to make sure that there is enough time to make all of the changes needed.
• During the final rehearsals and performance, give warnings to the entire crew letting them know of how much time is left until the end of the intermission.

• The stage manager and the producer are in charge or coordinating the strike for the show. The strike generally happens the morning after the performance, depending on the agreement between the producer of Teatrotaller and the stage management of the theater (Jeff Hetzel).
• Make sure that you have boxes, tape, and trash bags to be able to sort out the materials.
• Have everyone bring everything to the stage and start sorting everything out by design area. Each designer is responsible for sorting the materials out, returning them to their owners, or putting them back to the place where Teatrotaller’s belongings will be stored.