BWW Blog: A Senior Stage Manager's Take on the Back-to-School Season
It's just now what we might call mid-September, and I already feel as though I've been back at school for three months instead of three weeks. My bedroom isn't even completely unpacked yet. And as my Theories of Performance professor pointed out, we just had our first full five-day week of classes. But somehow, despite all of this, the first show of our department's season goes into tech this week and opens on Saturday night.
That show is Lauren Yee's Hookman, directed by Isobel Duncan in our smallest theatre space at Ithaca College, the Earl McCarroll Theatre, and I am the Production Stage Manager. As a freshman, sophomore, and junior, this was where I vaguely imagined but couldn't quite picture myself being as a senior. It took me some time to get comfortable with leading even the most incredible team-which is what my Assistant Stage Manager and two Production Assistants most definitely are! But I didn't have much time, with how soon performances begin, so I had to get comfortable quickly.
Coming back for senior year of college as a theatre major has meant a lot of things. It's meant figuring out how to be a good leader for younger stage managers, including two first-years (who, I'm guessing, may also have barely finished unpacking their rooms before this whirlwind production process began)-while still very much learning about and developing my own processes as a stage manager. It's meant getting a crash course in the time management I should have learned years ago, as my days get longer without actually adding any hours to the standard twenty-four. And it's meant navigating being a multi-hyphenate theatre artist, as I try to balance the immediate stage management tasks at hand with my other theatrical identities-as a playwright, an actor, a researcher, and a web programmer-and of course with classes and my main job as a student.
But being a senior has also meant rewarding collaboration with peers I've now known for four years. When we were freshmen and sophomores, Isobel directed plays I wrote; and now that we're seniors, I get to stage manage her Senior Directing Project, complete with all the fake blood Hookman entails. Our designers, too, are all seniors who we've "grown up" with in our theatre department.
And then I got the email telling me it was time to apply to graduate! That definitely knocked the wind out of me.
There's a lot to be said about heading to college for your freshman year, to be sure, but by senior year, most people expect you've got it down. And maybe you have, but that doesn't mean it's easy. I wish there were as many articles about how to be a role model, a leader, or even just a functioning human being in an off-campus house as there are about starting your first year of college! But since I've made it this far, I'm really excited that I get to share a little bit about how I've gotten here and how it's going.
And come see Hookman at the Ithaca College Department of Theatre Arts, playing September 21-28 in the Earl McCarroll Theatre!