I like stuff.
I sell books. I study theatre. I plant flowers. I play three chord songs in a folk band.
Alan Rickman (via composethesilence)
We all know every crew has an emergency kit. This is nothing special, but I thought I’d share my list of five “emergency” items that I used back stage the most.
1. Tape. Lots of tape. Every kind of tape. Masking, packing, glow, gaffers, scotch, electrical, double sided, painters, duct, et cetera, et cetera. Tape was my best inanimate-object-friend.
2. A sewing kit. Costume malfunctions happen constantly and when you least expect it. Make sure you have your basic colors of thread; white, tan, black, brown, red, blue, and grey are the basic colors I would recommend. While you’re at it, collect a variety of buttons; buttons fall off of jackets all of the time.
Buy extra safety pins and needles. Believe me, you’ll loose most of them along the way.
3. Clip-on flashlights/book lights. It’s dark back there. You need to read your prompt book. What do you doooo? Flashlights are an obvious need-to-have, but I found that “book lights” or just any small flashlight with a clip is extremely convienent. They can be clipped to your shirt, pants, script, notebook, cat, table.a.
4. Paper towels. You’re a back stage worker; you are an ORGANIZER. Cleaning is the first step to organization. As I always said, when in doubt, clean something. Paper towels are great because they can conquer any thing. Tea spills? Paper towel. Actor vomits? Paper towel. Blood packet bursts? Paper towel. Hairspay bottle leaks? Paper towel. Mysterious pool of actual blood? Paper towel. Mutated cockroach? Paper towel.
A clean backstage is a happy backstage, but this is theater; messes are unavoidable. Paper towels prepare you for any thing.
5. Sharpies varying in size and color. They’re convienent for quick prop fixes, but generally sharpies are a must for making labels. Tape and sharpies, man. Labels are great; remember, backstage workers are organizers!
6. A neat, concise check list. Yes, the title of this post claims that this is a list of five items, but, while a check list isn’t an “emergency item,” so to speak, it certianly helps prevent “emergency” situations.
Post a “preshow” checklist on the side stages and actually check things off as they are completed. It’s good communication. A good crew is good communication and organization.
This is based on my experiences as quasi-stage manager in my high school theater class. It was a lot of guess work for me and I certianly don’t know a lot about managing a theater, but nothing ever made me happier. :)