Since Stage Kiss is built upon the world of the theatre, your friendly neighborhood Talking Horse blogger thought it might be a good idea to introduce our community to the people behind the scenes of our productions: the folks you don’t see onstage, but who are absolutely integral to the theatre process. To celebrate opening night, we’re kicking off this round of interviews with the Big Person In Charge after the rehearsal period ends: stage manager Meagan O’Neill.
Meagan may have only lived in CoMo for three years, but she has certainly made an impression on Talking Horse audiences. Meagan has worked on seven shows in this space (Reasons to be Pretty, A Man of No Importance, Truffles and Nougat, The Last Five Years, Mothers & Sons, and Stage Kiss), AND she has two more lined up (The Gin Game and An Antique Carol). Outside of the theatre, Meagan uses her organizational skills while working for Central Bank of Boone County on Paris Road.
Curious about what in the world it is that a stage manager does? Want to know more about this fabulous woman, including the all-important favorite karaoke song? Read on!
What was the first play you remember seeing? What was memorable about it?
The first show I remember, I cannot remember what grade I was in, but I remember sometime in grade school we went on a field trip to the high school in my town to see Peter Pan. I just remember all the kids in the audience getting so into the show. We actually hated captain hook that when he came out for his curtain call everyone boo'd him. I just remember being taken out of my life and being transported to another world. [Blogger’s Note: I did my Master’s thesis on Peter Pan, and there are articles out there about booing Captain Hook as an important part of the childhood play-going process!]
What is your favorite thing about stage management?
Oh gosh, where do I begin? This position requires a ton of organization. I just love keeping track of all the blocking and always knowing where actors need to be when. You cannot imagine how many times people stop and say "where am I supposed to be?" Also I have a secret obsession with sticky notes. All shapes and sizes. My favorite shows I work on have what seems like a million cues because I color coordinate everything! But what I absolutely love about stage managing is that time when a show opens and the director isn't steering the ship anymore. That responsibility lands to me and I get to take audiences on magical journeys that allow them to take a break from reality and enjoy a comedy or a drama. I always love looking out over the audience as a big moment happens in the show and seeing others react. That's what makes it worth it. Sometimes I stay really late to make sure to get my work done, so that when I am calling a show I have all the cues in the right moments so they make the maximum effect on audiences.
What should our audience know about what a stage manager does?
An audience should know that mostly everything that is happening on stage is because the stage manager is controlling it. All the light changes, the sound changes, the scene changes, everything. The stage manager manages the stage. When things are supposed to happen, nothing happens unless I say “GO.”
What do you hope the audience comes away from this play thinking about, talking about, or asking themselves? (What will they talk about in the parking lot and on the ride home?)
I hope audiences take home a laugh and a good smile. I want them to see the play and think about all the jokes, because there are plenty, and make themselves laugh again. I also want them to be able to see what rehearsals are like for actors. Sarah Ruhl does a great job portraying what a lot of rehearsal processes are like. She even captures stereotypical actors with her characters. I just want people to leave after having a good time.
What is your #1 karaoke song?
“Sweet Caroline. BAH BAH BAH!”
An here’s a shameless plug for her website : http://meggeroneill.wixsite.com/meaganoneill