Addressing Urgency and Other White Supremacist Standards in Stage Management
15 October 2020
Seven stage managers in the United States—Miguel Flores, R. Christopher Maxwell, John Meredith, Alexander Murphy, Quinn O’Connor, Phyllis Y Smith, and Chris Waters—explore a few places white supremacist culture play out in their work—focusing on urgency, quantity over quality, perfectionism, objectivity, and power-hoarding.
Amanda Spooner talks about launching Year of the Stage Manager 2020, a grassroots endeavor meant to make visible those who continually operate in the background, and how the movement shifted after the pandemic hit and with the murder of George Floyd.
Panel Conversation Backstage with Deaf Artists and Technicians
Making production processes more accessible to Deaf staff, artists, and overhire folks.
Friday 13 December 2019
Production Managers’ Forum (USA) Diversity and Inclusion Committee presents the panel discussion Backstage with Deaf Artists and Technicians livestreaming on the commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 13 December 2019 at 11 a.m. PST (Los Angeles, UTC -8) / 12 p.m. MST (Denver, UTC -7) / 1 p.m. CST (Chicago, UTC -6) / 2 p.m. EST (New York, UTC -5) / 19:00 GMT (London, UTC +0)
One of the stereotypes about the post-Grotowski Polish ensemble theaters is that their processes are rigidly closed and their rehearsal rooms are treated like devotional spaces. There is often a way through a more closed door, but you may have to put on your sweatpants.
The O’Neill is a space for the playwright to explore the boundaries of his/her piece (play, musical, song, puppet). The success of a piece doesn’t always have the end result of “being produced.” Instead, the success comes from the writer gaining additional knowledge they need to continue the journey of their play—Kurt Van Raden, Stage Manager at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center.
The last two posts of this series have documented the kinds of rehearsal scheduling and breaks that some of the Polish post-Grotowski theaters use. However, in addition to this normal set of practices, on rare occasions, some theaters rehearse without taking any breaks at all.
This period of shared, relaxed time puts the performers in harmony with the theater, the rehearsal, and their fellow actors. It's like musicians tuning in the same room together. When I participated in this pre-rehearsal hangout, despite my initial antsiness, and not knowing what to do with this unstructured time, I found that my mind grew calmer. The flexible start was a moment of meditation before a strenuous activity: a deep breath before the dive.
Our US union regulations and laws require us to take breaks of a certain time, at a certain time. But nothing requires us to take *exactly* and *only* 5 minutes every hour or 10 minutes every 90. Why not, as an experiment, give them more? Why not make one break longer, and looser? An ongoing series of reports from rehearsal rooms and interviews with theater people in Poland; how US artists can modify or adapt Polish techniques for their own rehearsal kitchens.
Yes, some rehearsals (not all, mind you) are paid, and have to be regulated, legally, as work. But why did we decide, as US practitioners, that theater rehearsals fell so wholly into the realm of work and were so utterly unlike things such as parties or play? Why did we push rehearsals all the way to one end of the work-play spectrum? How did we become afraid of rehearsing without a stopwatch?