Since my last blog on Friday, I have been exploring Frankfurt which has been nice as it allowed me to feel like a typical tourist and understand where I will be living a little bit more. This week also marked my first ‘proper’ week at work, which involved working mainly with Umberto (the English Theatre’s Deputy Stage Manager). On Tuesday, I was asked to come in ready for the ‘half hour call’ which in theatre terms is 35 minutes before the show begins… so 18:55. Naturally I turned up an hour early, but enjoyed introducing myself to my colleagues and helping out backstage with the legend of the theatre… Bob.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, last Friday (26th June), I enjoyed an evening socialising with friends from work during which we attended the Alt Oper festival. Here we enjoyed local German food and drink and listened to some of the local artists- one of which included a member of staff from the Theatre Box Office… Tunc! It was a really great atmosphere and the theatre staff were telling me that in Germany there is often a festival like this one every week- and it is usually free (even better!) Another first at the Alt Oper was trying the famous German apfelwein… It turns out it is actually cheaper to buy this than bottled water in Frankfurt due to it being untaxed. At first, I thought this was like drinking vinegar… but once I had added some Fanta, it wasn’t bad at all!
My role this week at work was to shadow Umberto for the first few days in his role of calling the show. In the theatre, the DSM (Deputy Stage Manager) is an important role as they are the person who cues for all the technical elements to occur. So for example, lighting doesn’t just magically happen on its own… but it is instructed to ‘GO’ at a specific moment (a moment that was chosen during the technical rehearsal). A Deputy Stage Manager is also responsible for creating ‘the book’ which has all of the blocking (actor’s movements and key actions onstage) in it and it also contains all of the cues. I enjoyed doing this during one of my University modules, therefore it was a really good experience to do this here as I was able to see the differences between our Drama department and a professional environment. Umberto and the team also told me to enjoy shadowing as by the end of the week I would be flying solo on calling ‘Death and the Maiden’. I was a little nervous by this at first as it was a professional production… with professional actors… led by a professional director, but I was also keen to do my best and hopefully not make too many mistakes! It was also important that I gained their trust as I have been appointed the next show’s (Alice in Wonderland) DSM.
Next week I am most looking forward to joining the English Theatre staff on their annual work outing at a local restaurant and beer garden called ‘Ginnheimer Wirtshaus’. I think it will be really nice to meet with everyone outside of work and whilst doing so, try some of the local foods (and drinks).
By Jessica Thackray xx