I hope that you have enjoyed this wintery break before returning to class. I took additional time off during the holiday season to spend time with my family and friends, and to reflect on lessons learned over last year. While I don’t personally make New Year’s Resolutions, it has been nice to focus on what I would like to accomplish in the future.
Something I have always enjoyed about myself is how thoroughly I appreciate the things that interest me; one of these is theatre or performance. Years ago, my high school choral teacher David Collins introduced me to Michael Rutter who was at the time, in charge of recruiting supernumerary actors for the Nashville Opera Company. Supers, as they’re called, are on-stage actors that do not have any spoken or sung dialogue. Having enjoyed performing on stage during high school, I signed up and have been fortunate enough to be a part-time super for 7 years.
Something that struck me immediately upon starting with the opera was how much more I enjoyed it than I thought I would, and how impressive of an operation it is to put on a professional performance. There are technicians that need to be queued to the music, set changes that need to be finished in seconds, actors that need to be gathered into places on time, and the director’s vision needs to be executed. This—and more—is accomplished by the Stage Manager, with the assistance of dozens of incredible people.
Kat Slagell was the production stage manager for the Nashville Opera company for many years, but has since left to pursue other endeavors. I have always appreciated Kat’s kindness, her ability to command large groups of people, and her no-nonsense approach to making sure everything gets done on time and on point. In 2016 while we were working on an English translation of Mozart’s Die Fledermaus, I sat and asked about her background in education and what it means to be a successful stage manager. Below are photos of Kat that I took backstage during La Bohéme, Die Fledermaus, and Don Giovanni.