Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park stage managers ready to steer the outdoor course
PITTSFIELD — Haley Barbieri and Lindsay DeWinkeleer need to know "The Tempest" inside and outside.
As co-stage managers for this year's Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park production at The Common, the young women — following the script — feed lines in rehearsal to forgetful actors. They make notes on paper and their laptop computers of any changes in direction or staging, and provide preproduction organizational support to the cast and crew.
Come opening night and through the play's run on an outdoor stage, the theatrical dynamic duo will be the director's steering wheels, making sure the performances are a smooth ride in front of a captive audience, rain or shine.
The stage managers primarily oversee scene changes, communicating directly with the production crew and calling all the lighting and sound cues and orchestrating other technical aspects of the play.
In essence, the stage managers — not the director — are in charge once the curtain goes up.
So far, the youthful pair — Barbieri, 19, and DeWinkeleer, 24 — have a grasp of their duties and the respect of the cast and crew, after seeing them in action at a recent rehearsal in the basement of Zion Lutheran Church, adjacent to The Common.
"They're the first ones here and the last to leave," said Director Enrico Spada. "Glenn is right, they are like goddesses — without them nothing runs smoothly," Spada said referring to veteran Shakespearean actor, Glenn Barrett, from Stockbridge, cast as the integral wizard, Prospero.
At one point during the rehearsal, actor Tim Jones (Ferdinand) needed a line to start practicing a scene with his true love Miranda, played by Julie Castagna.
"Full many a lady," the stage managers said in unison, smiling at each other.
The unintended moment of oneness made them seem like twins.
"It's really useful to have two halves of the same brain working together," DeWinkeleer said during a break to speak with The Eagle.
The two local women have been on stage themselves, but have fallen in love with the high-energy, behind-the-scenes work of stage management. Barbieri, a Housatonic resident attending Bennington College in Vermont, was an assistant stage manager for last summer's "Romeo and Juliet" at The Common; DeWinkeleer, from Pittsfield, will be a junior this fall at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams.
Once the show goes up on July 21, one of them will be outside ensuring the microphones and lighting work and actors enter on cue, while keeping an eye to the sky for approaching summer showers and thunderstorms. The other stage manager will be in the church keeping tabs on the actors preparing for their next scene, making any costume changes and alerting her partner to issues that could affect those on stage.
Barbieri last year realized the importance of cooperation between the cast and the stage managers.
"Luckily the actors are helpful and attentive — it makes the job less stressful," she said. "It's great to be so young and be able to do this."
While DeWinkeleer has more of an acting background, she said being in charge is more of a challenge.
"I like more the responsibility to make sure everything runs smoothly," she said.
The pair didn't hesitate to keep The Eagle reporter in check, giving pleasant, firm reminders that it was time to resume the rehearsal.
"We have five minutes left," DeWinkeleer said.
A few minutes later Barbieri chimed in, "We have time for one more question."
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233
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