“Actors, five minutes to places”. The call goes out across the intercom backstage and in the green room. While the Actors are busy putting the finishing touches on their costumes, the technical staff on the production burst into a flurry of activity not unlike like when NASA Mission Control is about to launch a rocket into space. This is live theatre, there are no redoes! For the next several hours many different departments and people must come together as one to execute perfectly to put on a successful live performance. If you haven’t opened a show (or were present for a rocket launch) it is one of the greatest thrills you can experience!
The Stage Manager is the ringmaster who runs the show. What they say goes. They have the awesome responsibility to make sure all technical depts. and actors are set, ready to go, and able to execute on their command. Before the show each technical dept. has already been on the clock for several hours prepping for that night’s performance. Paging the head of each dept. the Stage Manager confirm everyone is ready to go. Just like in Mission Control, one by one each replies “ready”. Once everyone is set and ready to go the Stage Manager calls down to the stage “Actors, places”. This is it the moment of truth. The show is about to start!
“Stand by Lights, Sound, & Curtains”. Each dept. head responds “standing” to confirm they are ready to go. An Assistant Stage Manager who usually roams the stage deck and acts as the Stage Manager’s eyes during the show signals up to the booth that the Actors are set in their places. Three, two, one; “Curtains, GO”. The main rag rises. “Lights & Sound, GO”. The lights blaze on, the music plays. We have lift off! With that the performance is in full swing. Everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief. The hard work of so many people pay off. The show is successfully up and running! However, the relief is short lived. The clock resets as there is another performance tomorrow night. It all must come together again. Oh, the rush of live theatre!