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I am.
I am really damn good at my job.

I am an organizer, a schedule writer, a note taker.  I invent props out of office supplies and kitchen tools, invent movement patterns for scenery based on barely legible, scribbled maps, invent motivation for every piece of blocking the cast is given.  I function as both a grade school teacher and a therapist.  I am a puzzle solver, a manager who strives to keep us moving forward on an impossibly fast schedule, and I have an answer for everything - or know where to get one.

They throw obstacles in my way: children subject to CA state labor laws, an actor who doesn’t arrive until the fourth day of rehearsal, and a cast in which someone has some conflict every day of rehearsal with only two exceptions.  I have an assistant who could only work 1/3 time for the first 1/3 of the project and who is new to her position besides, a tech process shortened by Thanksgiving, and a set that the director keeps remembering as it was designed the first time, instead of what it became due to budgetary issues.

I am making it workI am writing schedules taking into account all of the conflicts, tutoring, and fittings that the director has admitted he could never write, and rarely bothers to read (“what are we doing next” he asks me).  I am dealing with heads of departments who are all frustrated and burned out, soothing things where I can and getting us what we need.  I am writing concise and careful reports, asking some questions on behalf of other people in the room even though I think they are idiotic and other questions I can’t believe that no one has thought of until I did.  I am taking responsibility for some elements of backstage that I have never dealt with directly before, because I am the best possible choice for the work.

In rehearsal I am on book for lines, taking blocking notes, and occasionally being the director’s assistant since he hasn’t hired anyone yet.  The scenery shifts that once we’re onstage will be done by six motors, four crew people, and three dressers are completed by just the PA and me.  I’m tracking the cuts in the music, the changes in the lines, and the adjustments to who says what.  I’m figuring out where to put everything backstage so that we can have both actors and scenery, without cutting a hole in the wall or installing a tesseract.

 (I am exhausted, and overwhelmed.  I am wondering why I even care when the person who has my job on the other track has made a hash of his last three shows and still has a job.  Other than bemoaning the loss of our long-time assistant {and I agree he is missed, but also do you not see how saying this isn’t possible without him is a slap in my face?} I have received no extra support; instead they’re just giving me more to do.)

I will be damned if this show defeats me.  Throw me in a hole I will climb out, put things on my to-do list that have never been there before and I’ll accomplish them.  Give me assistants who are both new at their positions and then make one of them unavailable, I’ll do the work of two (or even two and a half).

I am an awesome stage manager, one of the very the best this company has ever seen.  This show will work because I say it will and no one else gets to say anything different.  If you don’t believe me then stay the hell out of my way and let me do my job. 

I am the reason this show will happen.  Audiences will have no idea who I am, and other than a few half-assed opening night cards no one will ever acknowledge it.  But I’m not doing this for anyone other than me, not anymore.

In twenty days we’ll be open, a month later the show will close.  And when that time comes I will cheerfully dance on the bones of this thing that no one was prepared for while I was expected to pick up the slack.  But until then I will be amazing, awesome, brilliant.  The show will become itself through my skill and talent even if I have to hold it down by the neck.  Because I am just that damn good at my job.

Any questions?

***This is my entry for therealljidol week 4 "What does narcissism have to do with me".  This is certainly over the top, but not quite as far from the truth as I'd like. Also, the PA on this show has been amazing, just saying.  There will be polls and voting, and as always a lot of other amazing writers doing their own takes on the topic at the com page, you should check it out.***

I love how strong and powerful this is, and how nicely the paragraph in italics contrasts with it. I think we all like the idea that the worst narcissists are as inwardly unhappy as they are making the rest of us unhappy to be around them!

I never thought I'd be using narcissism as a defense mechanism but that's kind of where I'm at right now. I debated posting it without the italics, but I am bouncing back and forth that hard, it only seemed right to share. Thanks for the kind words.

Ma'am, thank you, ma'am.

Part of me would love to print this out and show it to several folks, but I know they'd just look at me all confused that I'm not having a great time.

Not me I have no questions ::salutes:: Well done.

Thanks so much. It felt good to get all of this out.

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It does come with the territory and honestly being the one behind the curtain pulling the strings is part of what I like the job. But when I'm given tasks this above and beyond at least an 'atta girl' would be nice.

I appreciate a good stage manager! keep up the good work!

(in our last show someone who said they would be stage manager pulled out but.. uh.. didn't actually tell anyone and wouldn't answer calls. I have a deep and abiding appreciation of stage managers!)

Thanks so much.

That's not okay. Decided you can't or don't want to do it is reasonable, but you have to have the balls to actually say so instead of just hiding. Jeesh.

this is awesome. i almost sound like this everyday! lol!

Honestly, I think I may recite this in our empty rehearsal hall once a day just to remind myself that I can actually pull this thing off.

Go you! Awesome job.

(Friended you, by the way.)

Thanks so much. I still feel hugely behind, but apparently compared to everyone else I'm doing fine.

(Yay, friended back.)

I really like the fearlessness here, and this especially - "The show will become itself through my skill and talent even if I have to hold it down by the neck."

Honestly I feel like I need to beat people up and take their milk money to make this show happen, and I've reached the point where I'm okay with that. Every time I stop and really think about what I'm doing I freeze, so instead I just keep barreling forward.

I love how much you love what you do, and how valuable you are to your field. And I do love the theater, but I've always preferred film, because I like to have a souvenir forever. Though, there is something to be said for the community that forms backtage, and yet, that's a bit overrated, too, considering the cattiness. I've reused actors and crew numerous times, I treat them well, and if we work well together, then I prefer to go forward with folks where's there's been some history established. But, I would still really love to hire your clone, one of these days! ;)

I've never worked in film and would be really curious to try it. I'm guessing it's kind of like sprinting vs. distance running, the same muscles but used differently. Thanks so much for the kind words, and if I ever clone myself I'll absolutely let you know!

Thank you! I'm thrilled people are responding positively to this piece, it helps make up for the lack of anything I'm getting from work.

man I miss drama club, stress and all

It is its own brilliant, messed up, crazy thing, right?

*wild applause*

Love this entry. Love how strong, powerful and self-assured you are. It sucks that you *don't* get the recognition for all that you do, for all that you have to do because of circumstances. But good on you. And you're right, that show goes off because of you.

Great work.


Thanks so much. Honestly the strong is a bit of a front, because if I stop to think about how much is on my plate I freak, so instead I'm just brazenly doing all of it. Hopefully I can stay ahead of the curve for three more weeks.

You go! I love your take on the topic!

Thanks! I was a little shy about this idea, but by the end of weekend rehearsals I knew I needed to put this out into the world for my own mental health, conveniently it matched the topic as well.

I love reading empowering entries like this. Go you!

Thanks so much! I'll just keep running as fast as I can for as long as possible.

Very cool. I did amateur stage manager stuff when I was a teen. I miss it sometimes. :D

Nice. I'm in a place right now where I'm looking forward to missing it - ah well through is the way out.