To some people the ‘Stage Maid’, ‘Stage Kitten’, etc is just someone who picks up the bras after an act… well, this week’s post is dedicated to all you unsung stage heroes!
We’re very lucky at Bluestocking Lounge, to have our Dawn. Not only has she got her own fan club – and no show is complete without a cry to see the ‘crack of dawn’ (thanks to The Wonderful D who guest compared the show in December 2011, that one has stuck!) she is a totally invaluable member of the team.
If you are unaware of the work stage managers (we refuse to call them anything other than stage managers, as quite frankly, maid, kitten, and cutesy nicknames just seem too patronising and derogatory for the work our stage heroes do) here’s what they do to literally hold the show together…
1. they look after performers props – not only making sure they go on the stage in the right place (and sometimes at the right time if there’s a cue involved). They keep them in a safe place so they are ready for use.
2. yes, they clean up the discarded costumes after an act, but a good stage manager NEVER throws a costume at a performer/into the dressing room (this has happened at shows before). A good stage manager carefully picks up costume pieces and hands back to performers or puts in a designated place for the performer to pick up. They know the care that has gone into creating a costume and although a performer might have flung a said costume piece off violently, a good stage manager always treats costume pieces with respect.
3. They keep an eye during an act, to see where pieces of costume land. This might mean climbing into odd places (and possibly showing the afore-mentioned crack before it’s been called for) or even fighting with members of the audience to retrieve costume pieces, but every part of the costume will be found and handed back by a good stage manager.
4. they keep the stage hazard free. Believe me, treading on a piece of glass that someone has casually smashed on the stage and leaving a trail of blood is not nice. Nor is slipping on glitter or liquids.
5. They keep the show rolling… a quick turnaround on a stage is essential to keep the show going. Long gaps in between acts because the stage is not ready as the stage personnel is having a chat with a performer backstage has never happened at Bluestocking Lounge!
6. they act as body guards! Yes, even holding off some members of the audience from climbing onto the stage.
7. They do fun stuff like interact with the compare – remember, they are not just the cleaner!
8. They keep the show running on time, reminding performers they need to get on stage, letting the compare know the timing, etc.
9. they help the theatre/venue tech staff with anything that might happen
10. They think fast when there’s a problem – they might have a little code with the compere to let them know there’s a situation. And really, it can be any situation! Dawn helped my with my burst bra – just as I was being announced – and also recently was a hero when my ‘crystal ball’ exploded just before I went on stage. she’s also pinned performer’s costumes, sorted hair, sorted blood… sorted anything. and I’m sure I once saw her carry a performer onto the stage!
So, next time you are at a show, spare a thought for our unsung stage heroes as they literally put the show you see onto the stage…