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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Life + Arts

Behind the curtain: Stage manager does it all

Stage Management freshman Ciara Ayala is the head stage manager of “Now This” in its world premiere at UH. Though she may be young, she’s had great success in running a major production with complex technical aspects.

“I was so excited when I got the news (that I would be head stage manager),” Ayala said. “Then we got into it and we realized how queue-heavy it was going to be.

“Then I was just like, I’ve done technical heavy shows before, but I’ve never really done the technical side because it was in high school and it was much much different. So I was really worried about being able to call those queues.”

However, Ayala had no problem queuing tech or dealing with any of the other responsibilities of being stage manager.

Aside from queuing lights, sound and projection technology, Ayala is also responsible for facilitating rehearsals, acting as a liaison between director and design departments and making sure that all aspects of the show go smoothly and stand up under the scrutiny of the director’s vision. It’s a big job, Ayala explained.

“There’s no way I could communicate to you how many things that I do,” Ayala said. “And for people who don’t know what a stage manager does or is, it’s really, really difficult to explain to them, especially if you’re not in the theatre world.

“And even then, a lot of people who are in the theatre world still don’t know half of the things a stage manager does.”

Despite the difficulty of her position, Ayala has enjoyed working with the cast and crew of the play.

“Every cast is like a new family or every show is like a new family, and this cast was great,” she said. “I loved every single one of them. They were all really fun to work with and it was across the board — there were freshman and grad students, and it was just really, really fun.”

But with several more showings of “Now This” remaining, Ayala’s work is not over yet. “Now This” will be showing on April 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. and on April 23 and 24 at 2 p.m.

Ayala hopes that audiences will enjoy the play and is excited to see how they will receive it.

“I love the show,” Ayala said. “I read the script and I fell in love and now I’m just excited to see how everyone likes it with all of the projections and the lights and all of that.”

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