Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Men (and Women) in Black

I have to sing the praises of the running crew for The History Boys. Actually, I'd like to sing the praises of most of my running crews. Often, these people are overlooked when thanks and appreciations are going around.

I don't think anyone means to omit the crew but it happens. Perhaps, it's because of the conceit that if you wear black backstage, you won't be seen. Who knows?

But, after a long weekend of shows, I realized how much easier a show is when the crew is competent and pleasant--a key trait when we're doing 5 shows in a weekend. Crew members can become like an ersatz family especially after spending 70-80 hours with them during tech. We become each other's sounding boards and drinking buddies--a post show beer is a great way to let off steam.

They can also make my job much easier. I no longer have to worry about setting up backstage, I can just ask my ASM (Eric Snell in this case) if props are set and if he says, "yes," I know they are set. I can also call on them to go above and beyond. Larry Fowler is the sound board operator and I've worked with him on several shows. During The Seafarer, I had to rehearse an understudy so he jumped in and helped set up backstage so I could continue to rehearse.

Oh, and by the way, neither Eric nor Larry complain much about what they have to do. They are like walking Nike commercials; they just do it.

A previous Assistant Stage Manager of mine, Alec Farrell is now Stage Managing at the Arden. But he still jumps in and helps me out whenever I need it. An actor was late for the show one night and he took my car to try to find him. It's that spirit of "What can I do to help things run smoother," that makes a production so pleasant to work on.

Unfortunately, the crew is not often recognized as much as they should be. Although, Maureen Torsney-Weir, the only actress in The History Boys, made a point of complimenting the entire crew when we were in the green room. She said that all of us worked so well together and that we all made the backstage a nice place to be.

I was so excited that she mentioned all of crew when she did that. So I'm joining Ms. Torsney-Weir and raising my pint to the crew! Cheers guys!


  1. good job recognizing the ones behind the scenes that make everything happen. they are often over looked.

  2. Bravo to the support crew! Never enough lauds for those who work behind the scenes!

  3. Thanks Brian and Jane and I completely agree. Often they are overlooked because they make everything run so smoothly and never get in the way!

  4. I do agree that the behind the scenes people never get commended for a job well done. Without them the show could not go on! On a side note, I love your girl holding the cocktail!


  5. It's like any event I guess, those in the background generally miss out on the kudos while the stars have their moment in the sun. Nice that they were recognised as the important part of the team that they are!

  6. My step brother works on a lot of Hollywood stuff, and while you can find his name in the credits of some pretty major films, you never would know that he existed in the business otherwise!