I have a lot of the skills I need to be a stage manager pretty much down. Yes obviously I have to work to make them even better, but they are something that will grow as I take Stage Management specific classes. But the one skill I truly need to make it as a Stage Manager, an artist, and a human being, is being nice. Like it’s so hard for me. I used to be very mean, and I have come a long way, but I am still not a “people person.” I am not very sympathetic. I have a hard time communicating and connecting to people. My plan to acquire this skill is to just get out there and be social. Actively think about my behavior when I am around people. Make adjustments in my conversations. Stop being so self conscious. And this too I think will come with experience in the field. Watching other Stage Managers interact with the people in their company/production. Having to ask for things from people. Having to go to parties. I’ll get there.
In my school work: Hunter McConnell. Hunter is the smartest, most well spoken, culturally aware and literate person I know. I used to be very driven simply because I like good grades and knowing I could do better than other people, but after meeting him that all changed. He gives me the a thirst for knowledge. I want to learn for the sake of learning. I want to read because I want to know things. And I want to know everything about everything so people can come to me for help. I love the feeling of not knowing something and having him explain it to me, and I would love to be able to do that for someone else.
In art: crappy art and meaningful art. It seems contradictory, but both give me so much motivation. Usually it works like this: I see really awful artwork or plays that miss the mark somehow, and that pushes me to make really beautiful, well thought out and meaningful work. There’s something so motivating about seeing what you love to do fall flat. It drives you to make it better the next time. Talking about shows and discussing (intelligently, mind you) art give me passion, and passion itself is a huge motivator in my artistic life.
I’m an organized person, and I find that I can convey what I feel and how I see things best through lists. So here is a list (a long list) of things I value in my personal life, my work life, and my art (in no specific order.)
- Time (and the appropriate use of it)
- Beauty (unconventional is also welcome)
- A sense of self
- Pleasant sounds
- Human contact and interaction
- People who understand human contact and interaction are not always the answer
- Laughing/ Smiling
- Thought provoking writing
- A purpose
- The feeling of skin under your fingers
- Knowledge (and people with a lot of it)
- Actors who understand that without technicians they are naked mimes in the dark
-The giant Texas squirrels
- Good food
This is my forte. Organization and self-efficacy and effective work habits are what I’m all about. I think I can trace it back to the day I got my first “F” on a test when I moved here. My education before moving was far less focused on big fat ugly letters, and seeing this ugly red mark on my paper made a part of me go “this cannot happen again.” And for the most part it didn’t. At one point I took my structure too far, becoming frustrated and irate when minuscule obstacles got in my way. But I have since then found a good balance. I’m pretty anal about calendars and writing everything down and taking notes while I read. I have daily schedules (by the hour mind you) and even while in college I’m getting at least 7 hours of sleep. I take naps and treat myself to good food when I need it. I study and take breaks and listen to classical music. I took a whole class on “success” and the habits that make one successful in college, and in life. I preach the beauty and practicality of calendars and setting goals often, but the articles just…let me down. Most things that preach a method that everyone should use to become such-and-such thing do. I think it’s important to keep open minded to new ideas and to habits that may be of some help. But to me if what you are doing works for you, if you’re happy and producing work then THAT is success and you shouldn’t just change what you’re doing because a study tells you to. In this case in particular, I totally agree with the work habits mentioned. But I don’t think they are right for everyone.
My past has always revolved around ART. Not drawing, not painting, not taking pictures, not acting, but making art. It all started in elementary school. I moved to the United States from Argentina when I was eight years old. I was put in a class with the most warm and caring teacher, and in art classes that pushed me to express who I was when my words still failed me. Then I went to an arts middle school where for three years I felt my crappy charcoal renderings and clumsy pottery were worthless. I realized quickly that the art I was making physically did not have the grace or the beauty that was expected of it by others. But I never lost the sense that making art was important. That the meaning and life I gave my silly Yak/Human self portrait were graceful and beautiful. I cycled through a few mediums and art forms to find the one that truly conveyed what I felt. I ended up in a high school that I did not want to go to, and in Sophomore year, in a class I never would have taken willingly: Theatre. And thank the Universe for that. The class itself was not my cup of tea. Acting was not and is still not my passion. But I finally understood the way art and artist could work in harmony. I worked on some shows doing a couple of different things, and found that Stage Management is what I am best at. It grounded me, and opened doors that allowed me to express my emotions, voice my opinions, and make a difference without a mask. I felt at home.
My history outside of art has been a rocky one. Moving to the United States was a blessing, truly. I see no benefit to having stayed in my country. But with moving at an early age also came losing a lot. I left behind grandparents, cousins, uncles, friends, a home, a leafy companion, and most importantly two brothers. I will not get into the details. I never do. But my experiences with them, growing up thousands of miles apart, with nieces and nephews and wives in-between, were not always good. I do not like to blame either of my brothers, or the things that happened between us on who I am today. It is unfair to point fingers and say “This is all your fault!” I admit, I am grumpy and judgmental and often elitist. I am anti-social and my comfort comes from sitting up straight and writing in planners and not letting my guard down. But it was a personal, conscious decision to mold myself into that person, and not the long arguments or nights crying under the sheets (for the record, I was still very little when all of this happened.) Theatre helped ease some of that, and I found that I can contribute some of my not so personally pretty character traits and make them useful.
My history continues today. Moving to college, I thought I would transform myself again. Open up, make friends, be social and talkative and friendly. But so far none of that has happened. The idea of being with large groups of people terrifies me. Talking one-on-one becomes long awkward silences. Making friends is hard. I am not rude, and I try to smile politely and say hello to everyone I pass, but there has been no sight of transformation. Perhaps some day it will come. In a day or a month or a year. But for now I still roll my eyes and sigh. And I think for people to understand me AND my past, they need to also understand that I am both ok and not ok with that aspect of myself. It would certainly be nice to change, and all help is welcome, but I am comfortable with myself and understand the person I am now.
History is about experiences, change, and growth. My history does not end here.