Backstage at Metamorphoses – Q and A with the Stage Management team

Any theatrical endeavor involves a lot of planning, patience, and hard work.   With a 4000 gallon pool, things get considerably more complicated!  Here’s some insight into the amazing people who help keep the spectacle  running smoothly.

Jewell, Kat, and Dan backstage at Source

Q: How did you first get involved with Constellation?

Cheryl: I was working as a Floor Manager at Studio when my good friend from college told me that Constellation was looking for an ASM for the their show Orestia. I got in touch with Allison, we met at Kraemer books. She offered me the job and then offered me Crazyface as an SM, then the whole season!

Kat: Someone I knew from school was ASMing for one of their shows and got cast in another production, so she asked for people to apply. So I did! And that was that!

Jewell: I got involved through out lovely Production Manager Cheryl Gnerlich. We used to work together at another theatre of which she was my favorite stage manager. She was leaving that theater to work at Constellation and when it was my turn to part ways with the same theatre Cheryl was the first person I called. I was looking for more experience on the production/management side of things – my background is in finance. Cheryl, trusting her gut, offered me an Assistant Stage Manager position and after the first show I was hooked. I’m now an Associate Artist with Constellation beginning work on my 3rd season with the Company.

Daniel: After seeing their magical production of The Green Bird, I knew Constellation was a company I had to work with at some point!  When I saw they were looking for backstage help on Metamorphoses, I sent my resume and scheduled an interview.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment to having the pool?

Cheryl: That the show just became exponentially larger in every way. 42 towels are used a night, so laundry increased from 2 hours to 4-5 hours. For me, the biggest adjustment is the extra duties in a realm that I is outside my norm – testing chemicals, check water temperature, managing leaks, calculating air temperature verses mold verses water temperature.

Kat: All of the actors are always wet, and because of that, their costumes are dripping.

Jewell: THE WETNESS!! I mean everything gets wet!!! Rather than worrying about regular transition collisions backstage, we now worry about people slipping, costumes getting wet before they are supposed and hygiene, hygiene, hygiene!!!

Daniel: I think the biggest adjustment was what to wear… We can get very wet very quickly backstage at certain points in the show, so the whole crew has been reporting to work in black swimsuits and pool shoes!

Stage Manager Cheryl performs a pre-show repair in her pool-gear!

Q: What is the craziest thing you do backstage during Metamorphoses?

Cheryl: My craziest time is probably the same as the ASMs, page 39 – 40. The challenge is that the cues are many and very specific and based on different things. Sometimes its the lines, or the actors movements, or Tom. In that sequence I use a cue light to cue the USC doors to an ASM not on headset. Being in the booth and with no one on headset, I don’t know how the multitude of quick-changes are going, so I hit that button and hope the ASMs and actors are ready on the other side…

Kat: Light candles underneath a wooden stage.

Jewell: Let’s see.. So at one point I’m changing three actors at the same time, but the craziest of all is during 4 pages in the show. I change one actor, climb the stairs, hand off a prop, grab another costume from an actor, signal another actor, change the first actor once he’s off stage, make room for someone to climb around me to move out the stairs, signal 4 more actors, let them pass me while I’m trying to be flush against the wall with three costumes in hand and then finally run to the other side of the stage through the dressing room to change the first actor into his original costume…. Wooooooo!

Daniel: Page 39 (the transition into the tale of Orpheus & Eurydice). I help with a quick-change, then dive under the stage to open the doors on the other side without disturbing the other quick change happening in our tiny back hallway. As soon as the doors are open, I’m running another quick-change for Hades, and the moment they are done I run back to the other side of the stage to turn on a water effect as Orpheus enters the Underworld! Talk about a workout!

Q: What is your favorite part of the show?  What do you like about it the most?

Cheryl: The enthusiasm and dedication that everyone is bringing to the process. From the minute the crew arrives, to when the actors arrive, to the last load of towels, everyone is here to make this show the best it can be each time. The true magic of the show, and I think it is something tangible to the audience without them even realizing it, is that entire ensemble is working on and off stage. The joy we all have creating the show is part of why it is so compelling and dazzling. It is easy to give all of yourself to the show when you know that everyone around you is too.

So there is not a single favorite moment. Although I love the “sleep” scene every night – haven’t gotten through it once without at least one yawn.

Kat: Probably when Matt tries to surprise me in a different way every night with dripping red flowers.

Jewell: I like how although we are all wet, we are all tired, we are all cold at one point or other during the show, we still find time to laugh and joke with one another. When someone doesn’t feel up to doing the show or is hungry, exhausted, etc there is always someone to offer a hug, a pep talk, a brownie, lol. We’ve become a little family 🙂

Daniel: Metamorphoses has always been one of my favorite shows, and it has been an incredible joy to join forces with the amazing and talented artists at CTC in bringing these ancient (yet vitally relevant!) stories to life.

Jewell and Kat in the dressing rooms


2 thoughts on “Backstage at Metamorphoses – Q and A with the Stage Management team

  1. Pingback: Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses « szlykworldlit

  2. Tim

    What’s up i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this piece of writing i thought i could also make comment due to this good piece of writing.


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