By Alex Smith
Ames247 Staff Writer
Casey Buenzow, senior in performing arts, has been stage manager for four ISU Theatre shows. Her most recent show, “Love’s Labor’s Lost,” is currently running at Fisher Theater through Sunday.
Q: What made you decide to be a stage manager?
A: Well I actually sort of accidentally fell into it. When I was a freshman here, I took the Intro to Technical [Theater] class, and somebody said, “Hey we need a house manager,” and I was like, “I’ll do it!” Then I started getting paid for that, and then I realized that being a stage manager … I had to talk to them when I was house managing, and I realized that was a way cooler job, [because] they got to sit in a booth and wear a fancy headset and push buttons and stuff. And then in “Twelfth Night” … I don’t know if they didn’t have [a stage manager] scheduled or if they quit at the last minute or something. So I said, “I’ll do it!” raised my hand, “I’ll do it!” But I had no idea what I was getting myself into. So that’s why I started doing it, accidentally. They needed somebody and I volunteered myself.
Q: How many shows have you been a stage manager for?
A: I’m on my fourth show right now. I started with “Twelfth Night” with Adam Heffernan, and then I did “The Importance of Being Earnest” and last year’s [Star's Over Veishea] “Kiss Me, Kate” and now “Love’s Labor’s Lost.”
Q: What are the common duties of being a stage manager?
A: It’s all different. I mean being a stage manager is sort of like being a secretary and a drill sergeant at the same time. So usually in the audition process, we make sure everybody gets signed up and is in and out just as quick as possible so the directors get a chance to see everybody. And then we type everybody’s emails and send out callback information if we have to. Then once everybody’s cast we contact everybody, tell them the rules of rehearsal.
During rehearsal, we have to make sure that the director shows up on time, that all the actors show up on time, that we have all the stuff we need on time. It’s just a whole crap-ton of stuff that we have to do. Then during performances, we have to do all of that stuff plus make sure the musicians, designers know what they’re doing. We have to go to all the production meetings and take notes at all of those and sort of communicate and keep, you know, the designers and directors from arguing with each other during performances. On top of that, we have to call the cues for the show, which means I sit with a book and a script and make sure that set pieces are moving at the correct time, make sure that lights are changing at the right time, make sure the sound cues are happening at the right time, making sure that the house managers shut the doors when I ask them to and things like that. It’s just, it’s a lot. But as long as you have everything written down it doesn’t seem like it.
Q: How did you become stage manager for “Love’s Labor’s Lost”?
A: I actually sort of requested that I get it because I love working on Shakespeare plays. Most of the stage managing that I’ve done here has kind of actually been [Shakespeare]. “Earnest” is the only one that wasn’t Shakespeare in some way, because “Twelfth Night” is obviously a Shakespeare play and “Kiss Me, Kate” is a musical about a Shakespeare play… . I love the music and the language, and I’ve had Matt Foss, the director, [for] my theater history classes, and I really enjoyed that, and I enjoy his personality. So I wondered what it would be like to work with him. It’s also good for my resume to work with as many directors as I possibly can. So I asked for it, and luckily, everyone OKed it, so I got to do it.
Q: What is your favorite part of being the stage manager for this show?
A: I think that “Love’s Labor’s Lost” has provided a really unique rehearsal environment. Everyone’s sort of come together, as like a team or a tribe or something like that and I’ve never really had such an experience before. Like with Brad Dell on “Kiss Me. Kate,” you know, it was very professional and everyone knew what they were doing and it was in-and-out, as fast as we could do it and get everything done, and the way it looked. “Twelfth Night” was kind of the same way. “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Jane [Cox, the director,] had pretty much everything figured out so all I had to do was push buttons. “Love’s Labor’s Lost” just has had a lot more unique challenges because we didn’t know what the set was going to be for a long time and then, since so many of the pieces move, we didn’t know where they were going to be for a long time. So there was a lot of choreography not only with the actors but with the stuff. I think that was neat for me to work with.