Behind the scenes with the stage manager


Ali Simpson, stage manager for The Glass Menagerie, at the tech table.

Ali Simpson is a junior theatre major from Maquoketa, Iowa.  During high school she was involved with the school Drama Club.  She also worked with local community theaters including, Peace Pipe Players and Encore. She has two siblings who both have made careers in theatre and helped support her, along with her parents, in her decision to pursue a career in theatre.  Ali has held a number of positions at Theatre Simpson. In addition to stage managing she has been on the deck crew and has acted in productions.  This year Ali is serving as the first Undergraduate Assistant in Marketing for Theatre Simpson.  These are some of Ali’s insights into her experience with Theatre Simpson’s latest production, Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie.

As the Stage Manager for The Glass Menagerie I’ve been working on this show since…last July. With my job I am responsible for keeping everyone informed on what’s going on with the different production areas.  I also work to keep everyone happy and calm during rehearsals, and to help out with whatever I can. I also “call” the show, which means I cue the lights and sound during the run of the show.

For me tech week is one of the most exciting times of the production. This is when everything is coming together; months of planning, staging, and hard work are all going into this one week of tech rehearsals and then four performances. This is also the time when I get to learn so much about how to work well with people.

While working with this company I have learned how to read people–something that is really helpful when working under pressure.  It helps to know when people are getting flustered, agitated, or are doing great.  With this experience I know that I work well under pressure, and that when under pressure I can still keep a level head and stay happy.

Organization is key–if you are not organized with your work you tend to lose things (that’s not a good thing when you start losing the props, costumes, or even the actors). Another thing I learned is that as stage manager my attitude sets the attitudes for the rest of the company. If I start out a night just grumbling to everyone I see they then grumble to others and so on. However, if I stay my happy self, ask for things politely and mind my manners, everyone is in a better mood and helps those long rehearsals seem shorter and more enjoyable.

I am looking forward to the run of this show and seeing the audience’s response to the production that Theatre Simpson has created.  I hope to see you at The Glass Menagerie this weekend.  If you come to the show, look up.  I will be up in the booth watching the magic unfold on the Pote stage.