Hello friends! My name is Meg Morrill and I’m the Stage Management/ Company Manager Apprentice for the 2016 summer! Well..I was, I’m writing this just as we’ve finished up our final week here at MMT. So many emotions are going through my mind right now as I say goodbye to so many new friends. But I’ll touch more on that later, first a little bit of background. I’m a rising senior at Christopher Newport University where I’m a theater major with a concentration in directing and dramatic literature. Yes, I do both. I love Stage Management and Directing equally. I think they have many similar qualities to them, and I couldn’t choose. So, as you can imagine, my life is a little hectic.
“Mom…mom…mom!” I hear this as Alex needs me to run sound so he can check the speakers. “Hey Mom!”, Drew calls me because he needs safety pins for the curtains. “Moooom” Tres calls me because his suspenders snapped off. All things I can’t go do yet because I’m taping a mic to Jillian’s face. This is basically what happens everyday, I’m the problem solver, I’m there to pick up the pieces when things get crazy, I’m mom. I always knew that being the stage manager was like being a mom, but add the company manager title to that and now I’m mom times two. Every aspect of the show from travel, to set up, to starting on time, is on my shoulders. It’s a lot of pressure for one person, especially since I had never done anything like this before. My idea of a stage manager was in a dark booth on a headset calling cues. Now here I was running between loading mic batteries and cutting a melting prop cake in 90 degree heat. One day, I came back from a show that started off running late. Someone’s mic belt was missing, an actor got hit in the face with a cord and had to perform with a swollen lip, a few sound cues were missed, a mic went out, and everyone left tired and angry. I felt like a terrible stage manager, I laid down on my bed for a good 30 minutes wondering what the heck I was doing with my life. But took as a lesson and I moved on, I woke up the next morning and did another show and everything went fine.
This has been the most challenging but rewarding experience I’ve had with my theater career thus far. Some days were more challenging than others, but I asked for this…literally. When I took this job Anna and Jay both told me I had the hardest job, and I told them “great!”. I wanted the challenge, the field I have chosen is not easy and I don’t want it to be. I don’t start at the bottom like most people do in office jobs to work my way up. On day one, I walk into the rehearsal room and I’m the manager, the leader that everyone looks to for help when they don’t know what to do. It’s scary, and exciting, and requires the person to have themselves together. I have to stay organized and alert at all times. But I also have to remember to take a moment and breathe. This job can drive you mad if let it take over your life, but you haveto remember to keep calm and not cry over spilled milk. Little mishaps will happen here and there, and happen to even the best stage managers. Your job is to be the voice of reason, and calm the chaos that ensues with every show. If you lose control, the rest of the show does too.This job has forced me to step up my game and take control of situations with confidence. I have learned so much over the past few weeks about myself and my craft.
Now I’m preparing to say goodbye to some great friends and performers. Such strong connections that I never thought I would make in six weeks. They are off to other things as I remain here at MMT to work on Into the W
oods Jr. Another adventure that I feel very prepared for after this experience. My advice to the future stage management/ company management apprentice; take care of yourself as much as you take care of the company, stay organized if you ever ask yourself “should I write this down?” the answer is yes, and stay calm, the company feeds off of your energy if you keep it together, they will too.