Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Follow Me Around on Opening Night (It's Just a Step to the Left)!

We made it in the paper!

I often see these "photo an hour" challenges, where basically someone takes a photo every hour to document what a regular day in their life looks like. I thought it might be fun to do the same, but rather than the whole day (my whole day isn't that interesting), it'll document my job as assistant stage manager at the theatre! Opening night for The Rocky Horror Show was coming up, and I thought that would be the perfect day to do it! I started writing this post, planing on choosing from my collection of photos I took to use one for every hour, but then I just couldn't decide which photos more accurately showed what I was doing. I decided the most logical thing to do was use them ALL! I took a photo about every half hour, hahah. So here's a little glimpse into my life at that theatre place I'm always talking about :)

Woooo! Let's get started.

5:00 PM

Call time was at 6:00, but my boyfriend, Andrew, was going in at 5:00 to help finish the set. As assistant stage manager I'm supposed to arrive before the cast anyway, so I just tagged along with Andrew. So yeah -- it was opening night and our set wasn't finished yet. Welcome to live theatre! Hahah. I snapped this picture of the set as I walked in. In this picture, the set hadn't been fully painted yet, and they're hanging the "Denton - The Home of Happiness" sign and the church used in the opening scene with Brad and Janet.

5:30 PM

Earlier that day I was talking to my bloggy friend Pam about how she started taking #OOTD (Outfit of the Day) photos, so I snapped this photo in the dressing room as I was making my rounds of the building. I thought about posting it on Instagram, but then I felt self conscious, hahah. Sorry it's so grainy :(

6:00 PM

One of my duties is to check in all the props used in the show, and preset them all before each show. One of my presets is to set up this little collection of props for Dr. Frank-N-Furter used in the song "Sword of Damocles," which is when his creation, Rocky, comes alive for the first time. The director specifically said she wanted him to use a baby bottle, a rippable teddy bear, a rattle, and a dildo. So there ya go.

6:30 PM

By 6:30 I had finished what I could of my duties (they were still doing set finishing stuff onstage so I couldn't do all of my set up stuff), so I went to go help our prop mistress make these little Rocky Horror goody bags. If you're not familiar, there are some audience participation things for live showings of Rocky Horror, such as holding a newspaper over your head and shooting squirt guns when it's "raining," throwing rice at the wedding, and throwing rolls of Scott's brand toilet paper when Brad yells "Great Scott!" Since we have a lot of expensive equipment that we don't have the money to replace, we decided to be party poopers and ask showgoers NOT to bring these supplies. Instead, we're providing these bags that contain the supplies that are safe to use, and this way we have a better idea of what will be thrown around and what to look out for. Some people sneaked in some things anyway, but it could have been worse. Do you like the red Rocky Horror lips stamped on the front? I thought it was a fun little touch :)

7:00 PM

Just for fun, whenever we start a run of a new show we draw "secret buddies." It's the same as a secret santa, but we surprise them with little gifts throughout the entire 3 week run of the show. Things can get stressful, so a little surprise of your favorite snack or something can help lighten the mood. On opening night I received my first very generous set of treats from my secret buddy. Sour gummy worms are one of my favorite candies! I laughed at the little framed picture of Oprah; I had written on my secret buddy form that she's my hero! Finally they also left me these cute Sleepy tissues. I can't remember for sure, but there's a good chance I wrote about my love for napping on my form too. Or whoever sent these just knows I'd usually rather be sleeping, hahah.

7:30 PM

The set finally came together thirty minutes before the curtains went up! #Hustle?! Hahah. Here's a little peek of the pillars that come in for Dr. Frank-N-Furter's lab. The little glowy parts are light bulbs lit up behind tissue paper! A week before I had helped get the light bulbs ready. Our set designer had bought twenty boxes of colored string lights from Target, and we had to unscrew all the light bulbs and screw them back on in a different order so we could string them up and down the pillars just right!

8:00 PM

8:00 was go time! No one is allowed to take pictures during the show, so I just took a little snap of my set up backstage. During the shows I hang out on stage left, where our fly rail system is (that's what we use to make the hanging set pieces fly on and offstage, with those ropes you see here). Andrew flies most of the things in and out during this show, but there are a few scenes where things fly up and down at the same time, so for those ones I help him out. On the bottom half of the picture you can see my music stand where I keep a script for the show, because you never know when an actor is gonna frantically run up and flip through the pages because they brain farted on their opening line for their next scene. The black box thing clipped to it is part of my headset that I have to wear during shows. I REALLY hate wearing a headset, but unfortunately it's kind of important. The stage manager hangs out in the techie booth calling the light and sound cues, and if something goes wrong he needs to be able to tell me immediately. Usually when this happens it has something to do with the trap door we use in the show, or an actors microphone went out, so I have to go check their microphone pack when they get offstage (or I tell the dressers and get them to do it if I can't/don't want to touch a sweaty person).


This was during intermission. Honestly I just forgot to check what time it was. In theory it should have been about 8:45, but with live theatre it's hard to tell. During intermission I have surprisingly few things to do. I set this upright bed thing to center stage, and that's it. With spare time I'll pick up some of the act 1 props left backstage that we don't need in act 2. I had to take the picture at this weird angle because the front main curtain is down, and this bed has to be set as close to the curtain as possible. I guess I could have taken the picture before I set it where it needs to go, but whatever hahah. If it looks like a bald guy is creepin' in this photo, it's because he is.

10:00 PM

We made it through the show! In act 2 during the song "Eddie" they use nine teddy bears with their limbs velcroed on so they can tear the bears apart. They throw the limbs in the air and by the end of the song the pieces have managed to get EVERYWHERE, and after the whole show's done I go around collecting bear pieces so we can do it again tomorrow. Sometimes I can't find all the pieces and I have a minor freak-out, but they always show up...somewhere...eventually. Hahah.

Ta-dah! So there's a little look at what I do during shows. Depending on my job for a specific show, things might be a little (or a lot) different. For this show I'm assistant stage manager, so I basically just help the stage manager get things done and be his second set of eyes and ears. The last show I did, Bonnie and Clyde, I stage managed it all by myself, so things were much more hectic and I did a lot of different things just hoping it'd all get done, because I didn't have an assistant! Sometimes I work more with lights, and during the actual shows I spend most of my time 50ft above the stage, making things look bright. Maybe for the next show I'll do another one of these posts, so you can get a look at even more things around the theatre? We'll see :) Do you see a lot of live theatre shows? 


  1. This looks like such a fun job! My best friend actually wants to be a stage manager, so she's always telling me the 'behind-the-scene' stories!

    1. Stage managing can be really fun! Sometimes it just feels stressful, but by the end it's usually worth it, hahah!

  2. Awesome! Thanks for the behind the scenes look. It looks like so much fun.


  3. You made it feel like we were there with you! Thanks so much for the peek back stage.

    from #SitsSharing

  4. This is awesome! I love all the behind-the-scenes stuff. I was a stage manager once and then was like, nope, never again.

    1. Thanks! Yeah it isn't the easiest job, is it? Hahah.