Professional Theatre Vs School-Based Theater

Decent Essays
Perhaps it’s easy to assume that all theatre experiences are the same; after all, they include the same ingredients. You need a cast, a set, a director, a stage manager, and a few crewmembers to do the technological work. The differences between working in a professional theater and a school-based theater shouldn’t be that prominent, in the end. Except they are, and it’s not nearly that simple. Compared to the stage in Loeb, the Philadelphia Theatre Company located in Center City is, in fact, a completely different beast altogether. The theatre itself is located on the corner of Broad and Lombard with a separate office a few blocks down, but the main building is sprawling enough as it is. For the month of January, the company elected to put…show more content…
On the third of January, I showed up at the theatre along with everyone else, meaning every person who would be involved in Having Our Say. In attendance was the cast (totaling to only two actresses), the stage manager, the assistant stage manager, and every single relevant designer on the team, including those for the set, costumes, lighting, sound, and video. It was startling precisely how many people were were a part of this procedure, and considering that I had meekly introduced myself as “the intern,” I was a little overwhelmed. Following introductions, the designers then presented the work that they had done before the show even started. Their work was, to say the least, breathtaking; the scenic director had created a miniature of the scene plan and the costume designer presented forth sketches for what the dresses would look like. I admit I was overcome by how big an undertaking Having Our Say already was and how many hands it would need; I must’ve looked out of place surrounded by such professional figures around me. The first moment was the most surreal, realizing how much goes on and how much will go on as this process…show more content…
As the show came together, the core “crew” was established; it was to be the stage manager, her assistant, the director, the actresses, and myself. As more elements were added, the distribution of the jobs became clear; the stage manager was to record and check out blocking, the assistant stage manager was to keep an eye on props and reset them whenever necessary, and I was to watch for lines. This placed me in a position wherein I would have to tell the actresses, at least thirty years my senior and two astoundingly talented figures, what to do and how to phrase certain lines. Not only was this prospect daunting, but it was terrifying; I entered this project assuming I would be told what to do, but what they needed of me was to tell others what to do. The community of theatre, I realized then (and still hold with me now), did not rely on the heavy power structures that the rest of the world seems to care about so deeply; there is give and take. The director tells the stage manager what to do, yet sometimes the situation is switched. The actresses take instruction from the director, but the director will listen to them for thoughts on where the scene should go. Therefore, despite my small position as a standby assistant for whoever needs it, it was expected of me to correct the actresses and give them cues when necessary (no matter how uncomfortable I felt with it). I was nervous at the thought and yet this
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