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Thursday, 21 February 2008

Just for Today

My career is in the entertainment field, specifically in the theatre. I spent all of the early part of my working life as a stage manager. A stage manager is principally responsible for organising and managing all the resources required to put on a show.

Once a show is on stage, the stage manager "calls" all the "cues". This involves telling all the technical operators when to perform specific tasks. The operators know what to do - fly in scenery, pick up an artist with the followspot, change the lighting, play a sound effect or music - the stage manager tells them when to do it. Timing is very important - for example the lights need to change when the scenery moves, or the doorbell needs to ring on a specific line of dialogue.

In some shows there are many many cues - lighting cues alone frequently number more than 100. They are written by the stage manager into the script or score along with 'standbys' which alert the operators to the fact that there cues are coming up.

During performances, especially in the early part of a run, the thought of calling all those cues is overwhelming. All those cues need to be called at exactly the right moment, in the right order, fully dependent on the actions of the performers on stage who may or may not deliver their lines or business the same every night.

The only way to be successful and considered a good "show caller" is to take ONE CUE AT A TIME. You can't think about the last cue, or the next cue, you just concentrate on the one for this moment.

This is how I feel today about competing. When I think of all the weights I have to lift, all the cardio I have to do, the tanning, the posing, the routine I need to create and perfect, the chicken breasts I have to eat, the water I have to drink, the fat I have to lose ... I am overwhelmed. It is all too much - especially when this is voluntary! I can't think about tomorrow or next week or next month or I will explode or run into the corner and curl up in the foetal position.

All I can focus on is what I need to do just for today. I'm concentrating on one day at a time.

Take the magnificent opportunity that is this day, and point it solidly, decisively in the direction of your dreams. Before the day is over, you'll already be feeling the progress.

-- Ralph Marston


  1. How fun! and stressful-I imagine. I loved theatre and did it from grade school through high school and a little beyond.
    As far as getting ready for the comp-I think you'll find as you go along that the more you learn-the less overwhelming it will seem and it will all come together. (crossing fingers!)

  2. That is great experience to draw on for the competition.

    I did a lot of work running speaker support for large conferences back in the early 90's - Pre-powerpoint.

    It was like live television with a three camera shoot and graphics all being mixed in with the lighting, audio and random wanderings of the presenters and other talent.

    it was so much fun and like you say, over whelming if you tried to think ahead of the script or hesitated on any minor hiccup that had passed.