When Worlds Collide – The Last Five Years

The Last Five (12) Years

Recently I had to face my own age when I attended a revival of a show I originated. It was bound to happen. I was a stage manager for 22 years, and in that time I worked on many world premieres. I guess a revival was inevitable . . . but I wasn’t ready . . . I still don’t feel old enough to be attending a revival of one of my old shows.

The show was The Last Five Years, and it was a (shocking) twelve years ago when I first Stage Managed the world premiere. It was a wonderful, moving, surreal experience to see it. However, the really odd thing happened after the show, when my old and new worlds collided.

After saying hello to my old pals I stopped in the lobby to tell the lead actor what a wonderful job he did. We were talking in the lobby and he asked me what show I was doing now.  I explained that I quit the business seven years ago and I now worked for a yarn company running their branding site. A young woman who was listening to our conversation, very nervously introduced herself to me. She said she was a Stage Management student and she was a big fan of my work. My knee jerk reaction was to ask “Why?” You see, Stage Managers are behind the scenes, and nobody knows them and they certainly don’t have fans. She explained that she was also a knitter. Ah yes . . . I forgot, standing in the lobby of a theatre and spending time with people from my old life, I forgot. I forgot that there’s a whole other group of people who know me not from theatre, but from knitting – weird. In the context of being in the theatre again, I was not thinking of my new life.


Old work space (Rehearsal room Jersey Boys)


                                                          New work space

The next day I was teaching a knitting class.  At the end of the class one of my first time students said I looked familiar.  I explained that she might have seen me on You Tube or on some of the TV interviews I’ve done for the Studio.  With each knitting related place I named that she might know me from, she just said “no”, “no”, “didn’t see it”.  Then, almost joking I said, “I used to be in theatre”.  She said “That’s how I know you!  I’m a Stage Manager”.

Weird.  Being recognized for knitting in a theatre lobby, being recognized for theatre in the knitting class.

Funny world.

Me & Tripp in tech

Me at work – then (with Tripp Phillips)

Me and Meg Swansen

Me at work – now (with Meg Swansen)

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  • Adrienne March 31, 2013   Reply →

    Why are there no stage management groupies? Why does no one ever lurk outside the Stage Door for the stage manager? Don’t they know that you hold the fate of the whole dang show in your hands?
    – A former stage manager, who didn’t go nearly as far as Patty in the biz but understands.

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