The Art of Being Stage Manager

Evan Kuhn, Jack of All Trades, Master as well

With every good director of a play comes a good stage manager to help keep everything organized. In WCI, the role of stage manager has gone to Evan Kuhn, a highly regarded fifth year student. I had the pleasure of interviewing him recently. Here was the conversation.

How did you feel when Ms. Urquhart asked you to take on this responsibility?

Technically, Ms Urquhart did not ask me to be stage manager. I knew I would be absent for the auditions (as I had a conflict that was scheduled in the summer), but I still wanted to be involved in the show. So, on the first day of school, I explained my situation to Ms U and asked if I could be stage manager and she told me yes. 

What is your role as stage manager?

As stage manager, I keep track of attendance, blocking, sets and props mainly during the early stages of the show. As we have been progressing, my role has changed slightly as I have passed the responsibilities of sets, props and scene transitions to the ASMs (who are wonderful), as they will be back stage during the show, and as I will likely be elsewhere. Now, I still keep track of attendance, and make sure everything is running smoothly – reminding people where they need to be/when they enter or exit, where sets and props should be stored, and helping tech crew design the lighting and sound. During the actual performances, I will be calling the show from the tech booth, and I will also make an appearance as Tinkerbell’s light. 

Have you ever done this before?

This is something I have never done at the school, but part of my job outside of school involves the co-directing, blocking, choreographing, and teaching music of musical productions for kids, as well as running tech for end-of-term showcases. While it is a very different process, a backstage role is not something I am unfamiliar with, and a lot of the responsibilities are similar, making me feel comfortable doing this for the first time for a school production.

Is there anything about managing this show that’s unique?

What is unique about this show is how characterization has developed over time. Seeing as some actors will be putting on British accents, and others take on roles very different from themselves, the process of getting into character seemed uncomfortable or awkward for some people at first (just from an offstage perspective). As rehearsals have progressed, watching the actors immediately be able to switch on a perfect British accent or completely change their physicality in a split second is really cool to witness, especially compared to the first few times they tried. 

Do you hope to do more stage managing and directing in the future?

Taking on a production-based or backstage role is something I really enjoy, and I would love to do again, whether it be stage managing or another position.