My name is Brandi Shook and I am a MFA Stage Management candidate at Wayne State University. I graduated with my BA in Theatre Technology, with a minor in Communications, from Old Dominion University in 2021.
As a stage manager, I believe one of my most important jobs is to create an environment in which the entire team feels safe and taken care of, so they are free to take risks and engage in the creative process without worry. I always try to make sure my team sees me as someone they can lean on and who will give them the support they need to succeed. I am often observing, taking in the different dynamics of relationships between the team and seeing where I am most needed, which allows me to fit anywhere. There are times where productions will have curve balls, so I have become skilled in thinking on my feet and providing quick and effective solutions to any problem.
It is also my philosophy that a stage manager is part of the ensemble of the show, especially when performances begin. This is most evident to me when calling a show, as I can fully see just how much the actors’ energy and pacing affects my calling and how my calling can affect their energy in a scene. While for some cues, consistency is key and they will always be called in the same place, there are others where I must feel the moment to call the cue correctly. It is like I am taking a breath in with the actors and I am able to exhale my cue with them. Some nights, we might hold our breath a little longer than others, and it is up to me to get that cue from them. Being in the ensemble is a give and take and the stage manager is an important part of that.