We are now in the thick of the department season, with two shows having opened and more on the way. With so much art and creativity to absorb, it's beneficial to take a step back and appreciate everyone who makes each production happen. Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Mariah Solis, the ASM for the upcoming TTU production The Father.
"An ASM is the Assistant Stage Manager, and they do everything that the stage manager does or asks them to do," says Solis. "The Stage Manager has a lot of responsibilities—organizing rehearsal, keeping track of blocking on the stage, coordinating lighting and sound, and it's far too much for one person. ASMs help share the load and step up to the role of stage manager if the need ever arises. Our daily duties include rehearsal reports, acting as a communication link between the director and the production team, and keeping the actors in line in terms of blocking and line notes."
Solis came to Texas Tech because of the numerous opportunities it offered, but she wasn't initially involved with the theatre department. After seeing the shows offered by Texas Tech, she found out how much she missed the theatre habit she had cultivated in high school.
"I started as an ASM under Sadie Nickerson for the show Elephant's Graveyard [by George Brant]," says Solis. "That was my first position, and it was a crazy introduction to the craft because it was an off-site show. Now, I'm the ASM for The Father."
The Father by Florian Zeller tells the story of 80-year-old Andre as his dementia starts to make him lose control of his surroundings. It will be presented at Texas Tech from November 14-24.
"I think a lot of people are going to have a personal connection to this show; I know I do," says Solis. "The way that we've staged it is like an artistic mirror to real life. Even though the subject matter is heavy, ultimately the show has a hopeful message."
Although stage managers work outside of the spotlight, Solis is happy with her chosen theatrical role. In addition to serving as ASM on The Father, she will also serve as stage manager for Guys and Dolls this spring.