Sarah Dryer Talks Stage-Managing AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY at the Ritz Theatre
"The set needs a couch! This actor needs a wig." These, and countless others, are the requests directors have given to stage-managers, since the relationship between the two entities had been formed to create stirring, surprising and entertaining theatre. Sarah Dryer, the Stage-Manager for August: Osage County at the Ritz Theatre Company does not fall short of ensuring that the thirteen actors and countless talented creators have the means to do what they do best.
On a typical weekday evening, most people unwind from their busy days, crawl onto their couches after eating dinner, and fall asleep while hearing how their spouse's bosses had chosen blue post-it notes over pink ones at the company meeting today. It's during these hours that Sarah's day is just beginning. Sarah prepares the table, where Esther Flaster will watch and listen to her dedicated cast. She then places the props, which have been carefully chosen with the most sensitive eye for detail and kept under a strict inventory by Sarah herself. While taking care of every detail, she must simultaneously be the liaison between set designer, Kris Clayton, the costume designer, Rusty Miller and the lighting designer, Chris Miller.
The cast enters to what appears to them, by now, as typical. The set is ready for them to work, play and imagine. For three or four hours, the cast will push themselves beyond the limits of their abilities as performers. With every new discovery an actor makes, Sarah must find a way to re-create that discovery at each performance.
August: Osage County is just around the corner now, and with its September 12th opening looming like the harvest moon over the Ritz Theatre Company in Haddon Township, NJ, Sarah puts the markings of a great show into one giant black binder, which she will use, religiously, to make sure that all the hard work which is to culminate into seventeen performances, is perfectly executed.
When asked how she will get through each performance, Dryer remarks "I will be having a-lot of gummy bears." Sarah went on to express that she finds joy in keeping the actors on their toes.
One might often ask, "what is a stage manager?" or "how can a stage manager have fun while calling a show?" Dryer sheds lights by saying "my artistic choices come from how I call the show. It's my own way, and nobody else can mock it. I perform as much as the actors do, and I labor to make an enjoyable environment for everyone working for me." This, to many, satisfies the essence and definition of a stage manager as well.
It could be said that the stage manager has one of the best jobs of all. He/she is able to watch and manipulate a play or musical every night. By seeing August: Osage County come together, Sarah looks forward to the little exchanges and quips between Violet Weston and her daughters, Barbara, Karen and Ivy.
Join the Ritz Theatre Company and Sarah Dryer as they set the stage for their production of Tracy Letts' award-winning August: Osage County, starring Bruce Curless, Ginna Higgins, Susan Dewey, Paul Weagraff, Maureen Corson, Paul McElwee, Megan Ede, Michael Monroe, Casey Williams-Ficarra, Rob Hargraves, Sofie Yavorsky, Merri Rashoyan and Alex Wilkie.
Tickets, $20.50-$33.50 plus a $2.50 Historic Preservation Fee. Shows: Wednesdays: 9/25, 10/9 at 7:30pm; Thursdays: 9/12 at 7:30pm; Fridays: 9/13, 9/20, 9/27, 10/4, 10/11 at 8:00pm; Saturdays: 9/14, 9/21, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12 at 8:00pm; and Sunday Matinees: 9/15, 9/22, 9/29, 10/6 at 2:00pm. Group rates available. Student rush seats $15. Assistive listening devices available, handicapped accessible. All seats reserved. Advanced Reservations: Ritz 24-hour ticket hotline (856)-858-5230. On the web at: www.ritztheatreco.org.
Since 1986, The Ritz Theatre Company has been producing an artistically excellent theatre experience for over a million Delaware Valley theatergoers, receiving numerous accolades, both for young audiences and for Main Stage offerings. The Ritz Theatre, originally a Vaudeville theater built in 1927, is on the National Register of Historic Places.