BLOOD BROTHERS BLOG #13: Assistant Stage Manager Jamie Rosler
"Adventurous theater in Astoria"

-- The New York Times

BLOOD BROTHERS BLOG #13: Assistant Stage Manager Jamie Rosler

Thursday night performance of Blood Brothers – an ASM’s point of view


Just before 6pm: I arrive in Astoria.  Swing by 7-11 for a large coffee (which I rarely drink and therefore fill with sugar, cream, and hazelnut syrup), a banana, and a bag of ranch Munchies.  Stroll in the sunshine back to the theatre.

Just after 6pm: Let myself into the building, plug my phone into its charger, and start setting props for the top of the show.  On Thursday, all of the props have to be carried up from the men’s dressing room where they were packed away and stored the previous Saturday night.  You see, every Saturday night at APAC, we take down the entire set (from audience platforms to instruments to curtains) and turn the room over for the church’s kimchee dinner on Sundays.  On Wednesday, the crew stops in for a couple of hours in the early evening to rebuild the entire set.

6:45pm: Put a dent in the nail polish job I did this afternoon (right thumb, if you’re curious).

7:15pm: Fight call.  Mostly I walk in a downstairs/upstairs circle because the actors who are called are already on their way up to the stage.

7:20pm: Tell Michael Friedlander, our PSM (production stage manager), “I think we’re good.”  He says, “Thank you.”  Then I change into my blacks, a charmingly flattering outfit whose only distinction is that you blend into the curtains and the darkness backstage.

7:24pm: Tape down part of my headset wire so no one trips over it.  This is another task necessitated by the kimchee dinner.

7:25pm: Tell actors to check their presets (that is, their props).  Referencing a comment made the week before, Britain Gephardt asks how my nips are doing.  “Free as ever,” I say.  Discovering my headset wires are fairly tangled in themselves, I decide that I don’t have the time or inclination to fix it.  (I get it untangled by Saturday, just in time to move everything again for kimchee.)

7:34pm: House opens.  Julia Borowski (2nd ASM) asks me what I’m eating.  “Munchies,” I respond.  “I’ll have to stop in a minute.”  She agrees.  “They are loud.”

7:36pm: Sign into then out of Hotmail on my phone.  It was recently hacked twice, so I never stay logged in.

7:43pm: Sneeze once.

7:45pm: Call 15 minutes and collect/lock up actors’ valuables.

7:49pm: This poison oak is driving me nuts.

7:51pm: Watch the drummer warm up a little.  He’s a cutie.

7:58pm: Relay message to spot ops that 5 minutes has been called.

8:03pm: Go downstairs to call places.  John Ashley Brown, the narrator, is eagerly waiting for my head nod that signifies we are indeed at places.  Wish the cast a great show and head back to my home, downstage right.

8:08pm: We have places, confirmed with stage management team on headset.  Cue Taryn Sacramone to give curtain speech, and we’re off!

Now I wait.  My next task is helping Colleen Hawks with a quick change on page 14.  Until then I mostly submit for work.  I answer a message on about a life-modeling job in Hoboken and I respond to postings on Craigslist, some of which are quite questionable and sketchy.  Just sending an email hurts no one, and I can always walk away if it doesn’t feel legit or safe.  This will fill most of my downtime during tonight’s performance.

8:37pm: “Julia, stand by for baby.”

8:39pm: Quick change.  I’m now on stand by until page 27.

9:01pm: Kayla Wickes, Simon Pearl and Rowan Michael Meyer drop off props.

9:05pm: Set up newspaper for Mary Elizabeth Milton and take other props to the Jesus room for Act 2 preset.  (I call it the Jesus room because of the crosses and crown of thorns, but APAC staff calls it the Harry Potter room because it’s at the top of the Harry Potter staircase.)

9:20: Jan-Peter Pedross tosses his police helmet through the curtain.  I grab it and run upstage, left, and downstage to the Jesus room, where Julia and I unpack the suitcases full of props brought offstage by the actors, and then pack them to be brought onstage and unpacked for Act 2.  This is intermission.

9:27pm: We’re basically done.  The actors are called to check their props and take places as soon as they’re ready.

9:29pm: First actors come upstairs to check.  I impart supportive words to one nervous cast member.

9:33pm: Michael calls places.  The house bell rings, cuing the audience to find their seats.

9:35pm: All suitcases picked up except for the one I carry downstage right to Jan-Peter.

9:37pm: On headset.  “We have places stage right.”

9:38pm: Act 2 starts, and I retrieve the empty suitcase tossed through the curtain by Mary Elizabeth.

9:43pm: I fart.  It’s quiet and odorless.  Phew!

9:44pm: Receive knife and coin belt from Jonathan Gregg.

9:46pm: Start searching new gig listings on Craigslist.

9:48pm: I crack my neck but it’s louder than I expect.  I hope no one heard it!

9:57pm: Simon hands off the newspaper.

9:59pm: Set myself stage left for a quick change.

10:02pm: Quick change.

10:05pm: Receive beach blanket and sunglasses from Kayla, upstage right.  Take props to the Jesus room and start packing up for the end of the night.

10:12pm: One suitcase packed, I return stage right for the next handoff.

10:14pm: Receive bouquet, wedding veil, and tuxedo jacket from Kayla and Rowan.

10:22pm: After another suitcase is half packed, I return stage right just in time for the first gunshot.  The rest of the play moves quickly, but I spend a lot of it watching Rowan keep himself worked up for his entrances.

10:28pm: Argh!  Poison oak!  I’m going to eat my banana.  Those are unrelated.

10:33pm: Page the curtain for Colleen, downstage right.  (That means I hold it out of the way.)

10:34pm: Page same curtain for Jan-Peter, Jason Pintar, and Matthew Labanca, each carrying off one chair.

10:35pm: Receive clipboard and sunglasses from Kristin Stewart.  (No, not that one.  This one is talented.)  Go downstairs to unlock dressing rooms and return actors’ valuables for their arrival.

10:39pm: Back upstairs for end of show.

10:42pm: Curtain call.

10:55pm: The house has cleared, we’ve packed up all the props for the next day’s performance, and except for small odds and ends, are done for the night.

11:05pm: Lock the front door.

11:10pm: In my car and on my way home to Brooklyn.

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