Post 2: From One Show to Another

Orpheus in the Berkshires closed on Sunday and I started rehearsals for And No More Shall We Part on Tuesday. With this transition from one show to another, came many changes. I went from a show with an 80 person cast to a show with a 2 person cast; from a show with community members who were acting for the first time to a show in which both actors have been in numerous plays, movies, and TV shows; and from a fun musical to an extremely serious play. Needless to say, my experience is going to be different in so many ways. Despite all of the changes, my responsibilities as an Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) will be similar.

When working on Orpheus in the Berkshires, I thought a lot about the importance of theater. Because work in the theater is often high stress, it is easy to forget why we do what we do. Seeing how much this experience meant to the members of the Berkshire community, made all of the hard times and late nights worth it. Additionally, this article talks about an actor who is a member Soldier On, an organization that helps homeless veterans, and how life-changing this experience was for her. Skills that I developed while working on Orpheus include anticipating problems before they arise, adapting depending on who you are talking to, and being extremely aware of everyone around you. These are skills that are important in stage management, but become even more necessary when you are working with a cast of 80 people. 

This picture captures some of the incredibly talented people that contributed to Orpheus in the Berkshires.
This picture captures some of the incredibly talented people that contributed to Orpheus in the Berkshires.

At Brandeis, the work is less focused on product than in the professional world, but a little less focused on process than the community engagement project was. Experiencing both sides of the spectrum, has allowed me to appreciate more why we do theater. Working at Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF) is more intense than my work in the Brandeis Department of Theater Arts. Yes, WTF is also an educational experience, but here you are expected to work alongside the professionals without a noticeable difference. The stakes are higher and as a result, mistakes have more of a significant impact.

One of the community actors painted a large version of our show poster.
One of the community actors painted a large version of our show poster.

 

I came to WTF to make sure that I wanted to pursue working at higher level theaters. This internship so far has confirmed this. Working alongside New York and even Broadway Stage Managers has proven to me that I want to strive to get to Broadway. I am learning a lot about what it means to be a successful ASM. At Brandeis, I have Stage Managed more than I have ASMed, so it is helpful to be able to work on the skills necessary for an ASM since that is what I will start out doing professionally. Next year at Brandeis as a Stage Manager, I will be able to better guide my assistants because of my work as an ASM and my observations of professional Stage Managers.

The Stage Management Team of Orpheus in the Berkshires.
The Stage Management Team of Orpheus in the Berkshires.

I am excited to see what the last month of my internship has in store for me. So far, I am loving every second at WTF and I look forward to continuing to work on And No More Shall We Part.

Hannah Mitchell ’17

Theater WOW Recipient

2 thoughts on “Post 2: From One Show to Another”

  1. Hi Hannah,

    First I just want to say, that picture of your company’s production of Orpheus looks absolutely incredible and really captured my attention here — it sounds like Orpheus was a wonderful production being able to work with so many people from many different backgrounds. I’m very curious to hear about your experience with the next show your company is putting on, And No More Shall We Part. I’m also curious about your job position as assistant stage manager and about your role in each production. I completely agree with what you mention about how theatre productions have a very significant impact on your life and what you consider important, and it sounds like you are doing fantastic work here to create a very moving environment for the audience of these shows!

  2. Hi Rachel,

    Thank you for your comment. And No More Shall We Part is actively the opposite of Orpheus in many ways. With only 2 professional actors, the challenges that arose were extremely different than the challenges that we encountered with Orpheus. My job as an Assistant Stage Manager includes tracking all props and costumes, ensuring that the actors are saying the correct lines, and anything else that the Stage Manager asks me to do. As a Stage Management team, we strive to create a positive environment in the rehearsal room so that everyone can work together to create the production. The job is mostly people managing, but we also act as the liaison between the cast, crew, and designers.

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