… or if you’d rather the more PC term, ASM (Assistant Stage Manager for short).
We are currently rehearsing a play for our summer production – A Life in the Theatre by David Mamet. It has 2 actors and 26 scenes which means, from the prompt’s point of view, a whole heck of a lot of line learning!
And it’s not easy dialogue. Lots of mms and ahs and yeses. And the conversation is not really telling a story it is a display of the ebbs and flows in a relationship between two men.
I’m glad I don’t have to learn it!
Which makes the fact that these two blokes are more or less pretty much book down six weeks from opening night all the more impressive.
Yes, they are stumbling here and there, but still, they’ve had pages and pages of fairly uninteresting conversation to learn and well… I’m in awe!
Well done, chaps!
Prompting can be a pretty thankless task and at times you do feel like banging your head against a brick wall, but it is all worth it in the end when they get through a run through of the play without needing a prompt.
That is what being prompt boils down to – the less you are needed the better.
The big bonus of being prompt – for me anyway – is that, because I have no creative responsibility then I can just quietly watch the production come together as the weeks go by.
Don’t get me wrong, in this little society we all chip in with ideas all the time, but when prompting the creative success of the play is not resting on my shoulders like it does when I am acting or directing or stage managing.
It is not a job I would want all the time, because I like getting my hands dirty and being creatively involved, but to do it occasionally is great fun.
And it also reminds we what being prompt is like, to bear that in mind when I am acting and on the receiving end of some barb or other!