by Jenna Worden Stage Management/Production Apprentice
Being the Assistant Stage Manager for Out of Sterno is exhausting and laborious. It takes me and Rogin at least 30 minutes to hang the splatter-painted drops each night. It takes me 7 hours to launder all the costumes. It takes me an hour to repair the stuffed-bottom Dotty wears. I’ve created props, maintained wigs, and performed my usual ASM duties. In many ways this has been the toughest ASM assignment I’ve ever had. But this has also been the easiest ASM assignment I’ve ever had simply because of the people I work with.
I adore the people working on this show. The cast is hilarious and smart and just plain fun. Richard keeps us in stitches during pre-show ensuring we never take ourselves too seriously. Amanda’s energy and wit gets everyone in the right frame of mind and catapults us into the show. Jen offers kindness and understanding to all of us, and Noah tells us inspiring tales from his youth (I will give $20 to anyone who can find an image from his stint as a “Pepsi Boy” during the 90s. Serious offer). This cast is a cohesive team and a ball of fun. Best of all, they have allowed me to be a part of that team. I trust these people, and I feel safe with them. It’s a fringe benefit that I get to witness their stellar performances every night.
Of course I would be remiss not to mention my incredible Stage Manager, Meg. She is our fearless leader, masterfully navigating technical difficulties and enhancing the story we tell. Not only has she taught me a multitude about stage managing, but she and I make a great team. Our personalities are so in sync that the work we do flows effortlessly. But she is so much more than my stage manager. We talk about theatre and boys and food and politics and family. She has become a friend and mentor, and I look forward to working with her again. If Meg Leddy asks me to jump off a cliff I’ll do it, because I trust her and know that I will be taken care of. Relationships like the one I have built with Meg are a large reason I came to Gloucester Stage in the first place. Even if the rest of my time in this apprenticeship turns out to be horrible (unlikely) it will have been worth it because of the time I spent working with Meg.
Out of Sterno has been a wonderful reminder of why I love what I do. Yes, the work is exhausting, and it can be easy to get lost in the repetition of the job. But at the end of the day, I have the privilege of working with incredible people and creating a world of love and laughter on stage. I don’t want this show to end. I’m not ready to let go of my team.
*GSC Blog posts are the select opinions of individual employees and may not necessarily reflect the views of Gloucester Stage as a whole.