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Tales from the Wild Bush – 11. Stage management interview
ALEXIS: My name is Alexis. I'm the deputy stage manager for 'Tales From the Wild Bush.' So throughout our course, Technical Theatre and Stage Management, we do obviously, stage management roles. We also do lighting, sound and video kind of systems roles, and design roles.
So, on this show, we have, from our second year, we have a lighting designer and a sound designer who are in their second year of this course as well. And then our operator for lighting is a first year for the same course and now ASM.
We get-- we're involved in more shows than anyone else within NIDA. Everything that goes on, really. Someone's working on it, helping out, even if it's not part of our course, we're always there, helping out if anyone needs a hand.
INTERVIEWER: And it's a 3-year course?
ALEXIS: Yes, 3 years. But in our third year, we mostly do secondments, so kind of a placement at another Theatre.
So it's been different, we're obviously working with a younger cast, and with an external cast, it's quite different to working within the NIDA bubble. And then also-- yeah, working on a more devised piece, where it's all kind of come together in the rehearsal room.
Some of the main challenges would be just getting to know everyone and coming into that environment a bit later in the process. Most of the time, here at NIDA, were in from before the first day of rehearsals, but for 'Tales From The Wild Bush' we were-- I kind of came on board about halfway through, so there's already an established kind of environment in the room that I had to fit into. But everyone was very welcoming and very easy to slide in there.
Our main thing is kind of scheduling and reports, and that, as well as getting everything kind of set up for rehearsals. In this show, we didn't have an assistant stage manager until right in the tech week. So I also had to do all of their roles, kind of sourcing props, getting stand-ins, getting everything ready. And then during an actual rehearsal, I will note down all the blocking, so everywhere the cast moves on stage, as well as prompt them for all their lines if they forget.
And then after every rehearsal we send out a report, just for anyone who couldn't be there. So it might be for costume, lighting, set, sound, just to tell them if anything happened that they need to be aware of in rehearsals, if we're changing anything or anything like that. And then we also send out the schedule to everyone. So kind of have a meeting with the directors after every rehearsal, plan out what they want to do the next day, what scenes they want to work on, and then send that out to-- normally it would go to the cast as well, but in this one they're obviously being managed by the Arts Unit, and so we'll just send it to all basically everyone else around NIDA who needs to know what's happening.
So during the actual performances, I call the show. Which means that for every lighting cue, sound cue, anything that happens, I will give the cue for that. So I will give a standby, and then I will say, for example, 'LX 6, go,' and then that means all the cues happen right on the same point every night, and then all the lighting and sound happens together.
So there's about 100 lighting cues, and maybe 40 sound cues in this show. So that's fairly standard for kind of a 45-minute show. It obviously depends on the show, but you can get for 2-hour shows, you'd get in the hundreds of cues.
INTERVIEWER: So your book that you take with all of that information becomes essential, doesn't it?
ALEXIS: Yes. So it's called a prompt copy, and we write all the cues in that book. And that book is kind of everything we need to know for the show. We write down everything so that if anything happens, and I can't be in one day, or the lighting operator can't be in, or the sound operator, that the show is exactly the same, everyone has the same experience because it's all documented in that book.
So I've been loving this course, so far. It's been really good. It's really challenged me a lot. I don't have come home a very technical background, but I've been really pushed to learn so much about Theatre, and all the kind of lighting, sound things as well. As well as in stage management, I'm getting to take on these big roles, particularly from our first year, where straight away into proper roles on shows. It's been really good.
If this is something you're interested in, this course is definitely one to look into. We also, NIDA also does like open courses, so they'll do weekend courses, or like, short courses that you can also look into that obviously don't have the same pressure. Or, I would also say if this is something you want to go into, just to get involved, whatever you can, I started doing community Theatre around Sydney.
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