Tag Archives: Stage Manager
Stage Managers have some of the most important jobs in opera. Unlike other types of performing arts, such as musical theater, stage managers in the opera cue almost everything — from paging artists to the stage, to entrances, to sound cues and special effects, stage managers pretty much run the show. It’s an enormous responsibility, one that Chelsea Antrim, Production Stage Manager at LA Opera, feels prepared for every performance.
Our production of Puccini’s La Bohème boasts one of the quickest, major set changes ever seen on our stage. From Act I to Act II, La Bohème’s setting changes from a rooftop and garret (loft) to a Parisian street.
The main set piece – the garret – is rotated to reveal its opposite side – a two-story building with a ground level cafe. This may not seem like a big deal. It’s just rotating a set piece. How difficult can that be? Difficult – very difficult. It isn’t just a light-weight structure or a façade that can be easily maneuvered. This garret is a giant 1500-square-foot, 30,000-pound structure – the equivalent of a three-story house. Moving it requires planning, precision and a great deal of practice. That’s because the structure needs to be moved manually (yes, manually, by a team of 20 production crew members) and hit very specific, pre-determined marks on the stage.
“I may not be an expert at every single detail, but I’m involved in every single thing that goes on, and that’s incredibly rewarding.”
Wrap your brain around this amazing little factoid: While many opera companies have Production Stage Managers, only very few, as in less than 20 in the whole of the U.S., have it as a full-time position instead of seasonal or contractual. LA Opera is one of those twenty and Lyla Forlani is the company’s Production Stage Manager.
Click here to read Tom Lady’s full article about Lyla on OperaLeague.org.
Tom Lady sits on the Executive Committee of the Opera League of Los Angeles and is the editor of BRAVO, the League’s newsletter. By day he works at Yahoo while at night he toils over his own writing projects.