I found out who sent me the Moth t-shirt – it was my friend Carol Ann!
Carol Ann is a kick ass stage manager in town. if you are not in theatre and don’t know what a stage manager does, the answer is pretty much everything. They make sure everyone is on time, where they are supposed to be, doing what they should be doing, and for how long they should be doing it. They handle paperwork, send hundreds of emails, make calls, file reports, and ensure everyone has the tools they need to do their jobs (most carry kits that contain everything from sharpened pencils to a needle and thread to those tiny little screwdrivers for repairing eyeglasses). They listen to whining and crying, coordinate schedules, organize people/objects/spaces, clean up messes, take stuff down, put stuff up, call the shots, provide feedback, mediate disagreements, handle injuries, cajole, reprimand, sympathize, compromise, and soothe. They are typically the first people to arrive at the theatre and the last to leave. When everyone else has gone home their work is still not done because they have to type up a rehearsal report or a performance report and the next day’s schedule. It is not a job for the weak, scattered, or easily offended/discouraged. The buck stops with them, and sometimes that buck is emotionally volatile or has a massive ego, and they have to stay and reason with it while everyone else has moved on to cocktails at the bar. They have to watch the show over and over and over again every night from the booth, for weeks – maybe even months, and stay awake. Even if it sucks.
And for all that work, they don’t rake in truckloads of money. Or even get to take a curtain call. You will never read a review of a show that praises their organizational skills or uncanny ability to talk someone off the ledge.
Which makes what Carol Ann did for me all the more touching. She and her husband both work, and they have two adorable children to support. It’s not lost on me that she could have found about 500 other uses for that hard earned $20. That she decided to do something nice for me with it kind of blows me away. When I expressed my gratitude, she simply said, “Hey, I’ve been where you are myself – and right now I had the money to do it for you so I did it.”
She just got herself a whole lot of free babysitting.
Love you, Carol Ann!
P. S. If any of my stage manager friends read this and want to add SM job tasks I have missed, feel free to chime in….