Laraine Gurke is Yeast Nation‘s stage manager. Laraine also worked on Ray of Light’s productions of Tommy and The Rocky Horror Show.
I’m always surprised by how much I learn with each different production I’m involved with. I was… less surprised by how much I learned (and continue to learn) working on Yeast Nation. A new show, a workshop with the creators, a full blown production with 355+ light cues, a set made of spandex, and every cast member wearing their own light-up belly? There is a whole lot of learning potential there. As the stage manager, part of my job is to listen to the ideas from the designers and creative team and do my best to support them however I can and attempt to anticipate any problems. With a new show, there’s the added layer of a changing script. Like most things in theatre, stage managing is not a perfect science. I was prepared to learn.
Working on any production presents its fair share of challenges but when the show is so new there are some extra obstacles. In new work, things usually change constantly since there is no reference point from which to start. Another part of my job is to try to track these changes and make sure that cast, staff, and creative team are on the same page. The continued flexibility from the cast, our director and choreographer made this much easier for me than it could have been.
With this show tech week was a whole new ballgame. I’ve never spent so many hours at a theater and I’ve never had a better time. I’ve never really seen such collaboration between departments and the overall attitude was positive and fun–even at four in the morning. No matter how interesting the material is or how much you’re getting paid, you still have to interact with the people involved and ROLT consistently hires people who are a joy to work with. When I look up at whatever horribly early time it happens to be in the morning and Angrette [set designer], Joe [lighting designer], and Daniel [technical director] are all singing their own off-key, high pitched version of whatever ridiculous 80’s power ballad is blasting from the radio, I know things are going to be just fine.
My job now that the show is open is to maintain the integrity of the production and handle any issues that arise from day to day. Honestly this has been incredibly easy. The energy and consistency from the cast have been spot on and it’s been a blast to watch the show hit its stride. Also, I have to mention our stellar band, lead by music director Ben Prince, and their incredibly even tempos night after night. Everyone who shows up to the Victoria every day makes my job fun and interesting and for that I am very grateful.