Polish the what?

One of my very important duties as a Stage Manager is to make sure that the theatre is prepared each day for the show.  There are many things that go into this, including sweeping and mopping the space, making sure all the set pieces, lights, and sound are working properly, and making sure we have all of the props and costumes in working order and in the right place.  There is, actually, a sort of choreography to how each show runs, and it’s important that all of the elements involved are organized in a way that is conducive to this choreography.

Part of my job, therefore, is to make sure that everything is organized in the necessary fashion.  As you can imagine, with so much to do, it’s important to keep a daily checklist of everything that needs to be done.  Memory is fallible, and I HATE to rely on it.  So, for each show, I create an incredibly comprehensive checklist of absolutely everything that needs to happen before the show, at intermission, and post-show, broken down by category and by timeline.

Of course, most of this list is boring, mundane tasks like

  • Start up light board
  • Check functionality of set pieces
  • Sweep and mop onstage and backstage
  • Turn on the HVAC (heat when it’s cold, AC when it’s hot)

Things like that.  But, each show has its idiosyncrasies and, well, special needs.  So I end up with more interesting tasks. For example, Aliens With Extraordinary Skills includes checklist items such as:

  • Polish the stripper pole
  • Fill Guinness bottles
  • Fill vodka bottles
  • Roll a joint
  • Make 10 balloon squirrels, 7 balloon dogs, 2 squirrel heads, and a duck head
  • Re-polish the stripper pole after dance call

Of course, the substances are fake, but every now and then, while I’m going down my 3 page list of preshow things to do, I have to look at this ridiculous sequence of tasks and chuckle to myself.

I think I might have one of the best jobs in the world.


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