My Summer Experience: Eric Batts
I interned with “The Book of Mormon” touring company
Theatre and Film Major
This past May, I was given the opportunity to go behind the scenes on the Latter Day tour of “The Book of Mormon” as a stage management intern. This was easily one of the greatest experiences of my life. Not only did I get to meet a lot of great people and make quite a few friends in the professional world, this internship basically solidified my ideas for a post-graduate career. Seeing other people doing the things I love and seeing them loving it too made me want to push myself even farther to one day become a great stage manager.
The course of my internship was based in Columbus, Ohio, at the Ohio Theatre. I arrived there on load-in day. Load-in day is basically where all of the trucks carrying every single piece of set, props and trunks for the cast and crew show up. The Production Stage Manager, Kim, greeted me at the stage door and took me throughout the theater, showing me every room that was being used by the company and how she went about assigning them all to the crew and actors. Once that was over, I helped set up the office for her and the other stage managers and then we were free to go for the night. But I knew things were definitely going to pick up, so getting comfortable was not an option!
Being a Production Stage Manager, or PSM, requires you to make sure every single rehearsal and performance runs as smoothly as possible. And that basically umbrellas into so many categories I can’t write about in this one reflection! But I got to check out almost all of them during my stay in Columbus.
Throughout the two weeks I was there, I was able to shadow every single position that they had during the show. A few of them were Fly Rail, Automations, Sound, Light and Props. For example, Automations were in charge of everything that moved on stage, such as furniture and set pieces, on a motorized track. Also Fly Rails were in charge of all of the backdrops and pieces that were flown up instead of being moved off stage.
It was so great to see what everyone was doing while the actors perform on stage. As a stage manager, it's so important to make sure you know at least the basics of every single position backstage as well as on stage. I also had to make sure that I was aware of where I was at all times backstage, so I didn't get run over! It’s almost like clockwork the way everyone moves backstage to get where they need to be at exactly the right time. That, in itself, was nothing short of pure professionalism and focus on the task at hand.
I also got to sit in on some of the rehearsals for the understudies and stand-by’s. An associate director flew in to watch the show and then came in to run it just with a piano and work lights the next day. It was so interesting to take such a hilariously shocking musical and really dig a little deeper to find the meaning behind such fantastic characters. It was definitely an eye opener to see working actors doing the same stuff I’ve done here at BGSU, and it made me that much more excited to pursue stage management after college.
The experience as a whole was nothing short of a dream. I really want to thank Shaun Moorman and Kevin Beebee, two alumni of BGSU, for offering me this opportunity and giving me a chance to take a closer look at the touring life. It was an experience I will never forget. Everything I learned while I was out there will definitely come back with me for the shows I will be stage managing during my last year here at BGSU; and hopefully in my professional career!