Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stage Manager

While tracking rehearsals and the process of producing a play, I will also shed light on some very key roles that are vital to the operation. The first profile will be of Lydia LaGue (great name, by the way), the guest Stage Manager for PICNIC.
I chatted with Lydia to discuss her ideas of the specific role that a Stage Manager plays within a production as well as to find out a little of the history that led her to work with the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.

Lydia views her role as the hub of the wheel, linking the production team with the director and actors. She is the eyes and ears of everyone throughout the rehearsal process, supporting the director's vision while also serving as an advocate to the actors. The Stage Manager is later crucial in the transition that occurs as the play progresses into technical rehearsals and Lydia will also be present for all performances, overseeing that the stage and all props are taken care of in addition to calling the light, scenery, and sound cues and working with the House Manager to ensure that the Theater is nightly prepared for an audience.

Lydia was born the eldest of five children and had a hammer in her hand by the time she was ten, helping her father with repairs at her family's lake house. She gained an appreciation and enjoyment of theater from her mother and as a child would put on plays in the 'proscenium arch' of her parents' dining room. While at the University of Texas she became a Technical Production Theater major, and found her passion at a time when not many females went into this type of study. Later, while working in Kansas City and then at SUNY- Purchase, she found that when working behind the scenes in technical theater that she missed the rehearsal process and strong connection to the actors. This led her to become the Production Stage Manager for the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival before moving to Wisconsin.

Having taken some time off from working in the theater to raise her family of five children, she is now ecstatic to be active with acquaintances that she has not worked with for quite a while, and on a play that she considers to contain great characters and plot. She is further looking forward to calling the performance cues, her talent and experiences providing the essential link that joins the artistic with the technical to present a memorable theatrical experience. Though the audience does not see her, the management and organizational skills that she employs are critical to the success of every performance.

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