Management

Alyx Kruger, Stage Manager; Ethan Swim, Assistant Stage Manager;

Avery Wisner, Production Manager

Designer Spotlight

Alyx:

Stage Management 

Managing this virtual production of Tuck Everlasting has been a joyous and daunting task. We set out with a timeline of about six weeks to put this production together. While a fairly standard schedule for live theatre, given the time needed to rehearse, record, and edit a two-hour multimedia project, this was a massive undertaking. My job throughout this process was to answer the question: “How the heck are we going to get everything done?” I worked closely with our direction team to keep us on a tight schedule that still allowed everyone enough time to work with actors, and that allowed our performers the time to deliver their best work. I also got to exercise my video editing skills and my background as a ballet dancer to edit together all of the dance videos (and the intro and finale) for our final product. This has been one of the most challenging and enriching learning experiences of my theatre career. Learning how to transfer my skill set as a stage manager to this production (where I became the “stage-less manager”) has given me the confidence, the grit, and the skills to continue to pursue what I love regardless of how it ultimately takes shape. 

Block Calendar:

Our Block Calendar was a consistently evolving document that laid out all of the different deadlines for our team across the entire production process. I collaborated closely with our production manager and the rest of our team to create a schedule that was both realistic and that kept us on track during our tight timeline. I’m a very tactile person, so I came up with a low-tech solution to keep all my dates in order before transferring them to a spreadsheet.

Weekly Schedule:

At the beginning of each week I would collaborate with the production team to draft a weekly schedule which detailed all the aspects of production we hoped to rehearse (and record) that week. These schedules were meant to provide a rough outline for what the team could expect to be doing in a given week—in reality daily calls could deviate substantially from this plan. This document details what we set out to do for our third week in production (note all of the different rehearsals for music, dance, and acting)

Tuck Weekly Rehearsal Schedule
Tuck Weekly Rehearsal Schedule

Tuck Weekly Rehearsal Schedule
Tuck Weekly Rehearsal Schedule

Tuck Weekly Rehearsal Schedule
Tuck Weekly Rehearsal Schedule

Tuck Weekly Rehearsal Schedule
Tuck Weekly Rehearsal Schedule

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Tuck Rehearsal Report
Tuck Rehearsal Report

Tuck Rehearsal Report
Tuck Rehearsal Report

Tuck Rehearsal Report
Tuck Rehearsal Report

Tuck Rehearsal Report
Tuck Rehearsal Report

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Rehearsal Reports:

One of a stage manager’s chief responsibilities on any production is to send the production team a rehearsal report after every rehearsal. In our online process, these documents provided a central source of rehearsal information that helped keep the team informed and on track to meet our deadlines. This document details what was accomplished during the rehearsal, any relevant information that came up during rehearsal, and a copy of the next day’s schedule.

Daily Calls:

Another important responsibility of a stage manager on any production is to send out a daily call to the cast after each rehearsal. This ensures that performers know what our schedule looks like each day and when they are called to attend. In our online process, rehearsal schedules could change daily based on what was accomplished the night before. We also added a “Work Due” section to our daily calls so the cast had a consistently updated list of the audio and video recordings they needed to provide us. In this document, you’ll see a daily schedule (at times we had THREE different rehearsals going simultaneously using Zoom breakout rooms), the work due for that week, and a list of first call times for each actor.

TUCK Daily Call
TUCK Daily Call

TUCK Daily Call
TUCK Daily Call

TUCK Daily Call
TUCK Daily Call

TUCK Daily Call
TUCK Daily Call

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Recordings Due:

Because we pivoted our process from a live format to an online one, we had to juggle LOTS of audio and video files from actors for each scene and song in the show. I collaborated closely with our music director and sound designer to create a labeling system that would allow them to easily sort through our many recordings. I would then provide our cast with a Recordings Due document that included each label they would need for their files. This document details all the recording labels we used for Chapter 1.

Ethan:

Being the assistant stage manager (ASM) for Tuck Everlasting has been an absolute joy! It has given me something amazing to look forward to every day. Normally the ASM helps organize rehearsals and then works backstage to make sure everything is functioning smoothly and most importantly – safely. Obviously, my job had to change quite a bit when we transitioned online. I still helped coordinate our Zoom rehearsals, taking attendance and notes in the breakout rooms we used. Instead of working backstage to coordinate our live performances, I worked as co-website designer. I used my management skills to communicate between all departments, making sure that we had all the materials and content our designers wanted to showcase. I then worked to organize and design many of the “Designer Spotlight” pages you have been viewing.

Line Notes:

One of my responsibilities that stayed the same was doing line notes. Making sure that the words the actors are saying match the script is very important in maintaining the integrity of the show. I would take notes on any mistakes and then compile them at the end of our runs to be sent out in an all cast email.

Production Management 

"The Production Management Saga"

A Vlog Through Avery's Virtual Management Experience 

 What Even Is a Production Manager? 

What Production Managers Normally Do:

  • Coordinate meetings, auditions, tech, & casting

    • Takes notes for production meetings & tech rehearsals​

  • Communicate between cast & cast families

  • Generate & collectspaperwork from the team, cast, crew, & orchestra

    • Contracts, order forms, biographies, & headshots​

  • Help provide solutions to unexpected dilemmas

  • Generate the playbill

  • Track & oversee load-in/strike

  • Communicate & enforce KIDSTAGE Expectations of Behavior

  • Assist the stage management team when needed

Production Meetings!

Every Friday at 4:30pm for all Summer Independent shows, (including this one!) a production meeting is hosted by the production manager and used as a weekly check-in for everyone on the production team.

Directors, designers, management, and our various mentors, all come together to collaborate, communicate, and update the team on our various projects.

Normally these meeting are held in Rehearsal Room C at Mainstage, but this year they were hosted over Zoom!

Here is how I organize our notes from the meetings:

What Avery Did For this Unique Production:

  • Coordinate & schedule meetings between all departments

    • Take notes for weekly production meetings​   (See below)

  • Communicate between all departments

  • Generate & receive paperwork via email

    • Contracts, biographies, & headshots​

  • Help provide guidance/answers to figuring out how to produce Tuck Everlasting virtually

    • How will we film? How will we edit? What format will we use? Who is doing what? How can the designers still showcase their work?​ Who wants something to do? What skills do we need?

  • Generate the "Prologue" page on the website

  • Communicate & enforce KIDSTAGE Expectations of Behavior

  • Assist any department when needed

  • Sit at the computer all day

    • Write/respond to emails​

    • Attend meetings

  • Coordinate scene-by-scene paperwork/schedule for our in-person lighting day

  • Coordinate & run daily editing meetings during the final week of the production

  • Work alongside an incredible & artistically diverse group of theatre artists & enjoy every second

I email the meeting agenda to the team the Wednesday or Thursday before our meeting.

I set up my notes about 30 minutes before the meeting to be prepared to start the meeting right at 4:30.

This is how my notes look right after we end the meeting. A little messy, but still understandable.

Here's the final draft of the notes!

This draft was sent in an email to the entire production team, including those who may have missed the meeting and would like to be updated.

Thank you again for supporting Tuck Everlasting and the Summer Independent program. Our team has put in countless hours of work and brainstorming in order for this online platform to even exist and I hope you can enjoy it at least half as much as we do.

Thank you to Alyx, Ethan, Rebecca, Julia, Erik, Aidyn, Linnea, Andrew, Colin, Hanna, Matthew, Cat, Tracy, Paul, Rachel, and Joel for all that you have done.

 

I feel extremely lucky to have been able to work with every one of you, and I cannot wait to see what magic you make as you continue your artistic careers and adventures.

Best always,

Avery Wisner, Production Manager