Lots of people come to see shows at SAAS, but few are aware of what goes on behind the proscenium. Noah Sarkowsky ’17 has stage managed several productions here at SAAS including Fiddler on the Roof and The Addams Family, which is currently running. Although his job as stage manager stays under the radar, he is essential both during the rehearsal process and during the shows themselves.
Q: What does a stage manager do?
A: A stage manager is basically a liaison between the director, the designers and the cast, and they make sure everything and everyone are where they need to be so that the production can run smoothly.
Q: Has the stage management program changed since you came to SAAS?
A: Prior to my being here, there wasn’t a true program. We would occasionally have a student who was interested in stage management, but then I along with several teachers in the theater department came up with a more formal program for it. We now try to have an assigned stage management team for each show and we’re trying to properly train everybody. Hopefully they get an educational experience out of it.
Q: What got you into stage management?
A: The long answer is that I started taking backstage training classes when I was in 5th grade, and then I emailed the 5th Avenue Theatre on a whim and to ask if I could come in and shadow someone. So how it works in professional theater is there’s a union. You can’t actually touch anything or do anything if you’re not part of the union and the one exception is stage management, so stage management was a department where I was able to get involved right then and there and start working on shows and helping out. So I joined that and I was fortunate enough to intern on one of their productions there and shadow a bunch of people and learn, and it was really fun so fortunately I was able to do it.
Q: Why do you enjoy it?
A: Everyone says that it’s one of the hardest jobs, but it’s really fun. I get to see the production form from a different angle than the actors or the director, and I enjoy the end result. I like being involved with an art form. Stage management gives me a way that I really enjoy to be involved in the theater. And I still get to be around doing what I love.
Q: What was your favorite show to stage manage?
A: My favorite show… Well, it’s complicated because I’ve done a bunch of shows for new works, and new works don’t actually get developed so what happens is we go through a rehearsal process and the script changes and the score changes and all that. I did this show called Come from Away, which is currently playing at the Seattle Rep where it just opened for the first time, so it had its world premiere. But two summers ago, they did the workshop version and that show was amazing. It’s about 9/11 and these planes that got diverted to Gander, Newfoundland and the story of all of these people coming together. That was really cool. But my favorite actual production? I got the chance to do Spamalot a few years ago, which was really fun. The Addams Family right now is really fun too.
Q: Do you plan on continuing stage management past high school?
A: Yeah. I’m currently looking at different college programs, so yes, hopefully.