It said, "Because somebody's got to be a bitch. . . " But friends and colleagues say that Jackson's personality conflicts with the tough role she must play as stage manager to keep the production running smoothly. In Threepenny, as in most other shows, the stage manager's job includes organizing and finding space for rehearsals, making sure actors attend them, and helping to maintain discipline. In the week before the show opens, her responsibilities grow to include checking that the sets and lighting are installed properly and helping actors adjust to working in the theater. Once the performances start, her duties continue to increase to making sure each night runs smoothly, coordinating backstage tasks over a headset. Cast member Jaci Israel said Jackson balances problem solving with good cast relations. "Knowing her as a person also, I think she's doing a great job," said the College sophomore. "The few instances that came up, she handled with style. She wasn't rude, but she got to the point." Jackson said she doesn't like to be a disciplinarian but realizes that her job requires it. "I don't like to yell at people," said the College junior. "In an ideal world, people would be at rehearsal on time and be totally and completely serious. But it wouldn't be nearly as much fun." Jackson said that both the most exciting and the most difficult thing about her job is the stage manager's complete involvement with all the details of the production. "It's the best way to get involved with the show and with the cast without either acting or directing, and I don't do either," she said. "But it's a big chunk of time." For Jackson, her job continues after rehearsal finishes each night adding that the show's problems, both techincal and personal, become her particular concerns. "If you have a problem in your life, it's going to cause undue stress," she said. "But it goes away." This year's Penn Players production has been plagued by actors dropping out as well as by everyday difficulties like finding adequate rehearsal space. Jackson said she is enjoying working on Threepenny Opera, even though it is not a conventional, happy-ending musical. "I thought it was a little strange at first," she said. "But getting to know it now, I really like it." Jackson, who is also producing the Stimulus production of Free to Be You and Me -- which is running tomorrow and Saturday at High Rise East Rathskellar -- became involved with University theater her freshman year. In addition to stage managing one show and producing another, she has helped build and move sets into the theater for countless University productions. "I like to be in the theater working on theater," she said. "I love to go help build because you can see what you're doing and what it's going to become, and nailing together two-by-fours is a great way to vent your frustrations." The stage manager added that the more she is involved with a show, the more she enjoys it and looks forward to future productions. "[Theater] just slurps you up," she said.Comments powered by Disqus
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