This is a photograph of how we would have interviewed Schyler, if we weren’t social distancing and Victoria was athletic…
Tiff loves to go kayaking, canoe believe it?
This week we decided it would be fun to check in with a stage manager from RLT’s recent past. We tried to do a seance to talk to the very first RLT stage manager but it didn’t work and Victoria is now haunted. After that whole ordeal, we thought we would use a safer method and email Schyler Delano, a SM who left RLT (broke all of our hearts) and started professionally stage managing. We conducted a brief interview with her, and gained a little insight into the afterlife, all before lunch! Here’s what she had to say:
- How did you get involved in theater?
Freshman year of high school, my sister took me to see the high school’s production of Bye Bye Birdie. I instantly loved the feeling live theatre gave me and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. For the rest of high school, I worked on every production they put on and then continued my theatre education at the University of Nevada, Reno. Freshman year of college, I started stage managing productions at Reno Little Theater and many of the productions at the University. Since graduating in 2018, I have been able to make a career out of theatre not only as a stage manager but as a technician as well!
- Why Stage Management?
I started as an Assistant Stage Manager at Reno Little Theater for the production of Glass Menagerie. I only knew the basics of stage management from high school and was interested in learning more about how the stage manager works and functions in the theatre. Once I saw the importance of a stage manager, I grew to enjoy the challenge it provided me. It forced me to think outside the box and be more creative when faced with problems. It’s a tough job at times but I get excited when I fix problems, meet amazing people, and overall put on a great show for the community.
- Have you ever thought about partaking in anything on-stage?
I was actually a part of the ensemble in my high school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. I did enjoy being on stage, but I enjoyed the hands-on creation that the tech side of theatre provides more. Also, for me, memorizing lines is just way more stressful than calling cues during a show for some reason. Therefore, there’s no chance anyone will see me on stage again.
- Do you think going to college for theater is helping you in your career now? If so how has it benefited you?
Definitely. There’s a lot to learn in theatre from lighting, sound, carpentry, etc. Being shown how everything works in a theatre by someone who is actually there to show you the ropes is a lot more beneficial than being thrown into a production and only knowing parts of how a theatre functions. Don’t get me wrong, I am still learning new things today in the tech world, but it has been nice to know the foundation of everything. Without the knowledge I learned at the University, I would have been disorganized and worked a lot slower than my coworkers in most of the jobs I have had.
- What was your favorite class/subject?
Carpentry! In this class, I was able to use my hands and not just my mind as I do for stage managing. It was not just a good stress release, but I realized I could do things I never thought I would be able to do. It was also fun to be a part of the whole process of putting on a production. From building, painting, installing, and eventually striking each production, I became more aware of the hard work others in a theatre do and I believe that helped me as a stage manager/technician overall.
- First professional job as a tech/ASM/SM?
My first professional job was at the theme park, Busch Gardens. I stage managed one of their events for their Halloween season. I believe I got lucky to have this as my first professional job. The people I worked with supported me and helped me grow as a stage manager. Overall, I recommend to anyone who is starting their career in theatre to try theme parks!
- How do you stage manage? What’s your approach?
I like to believe I am a hands-on stage manager. I like to be approachable by everyone who is involved in the show whether it’s the technicians or the actors. A Stage Manager is the backbone of any production. It is a team effort to create an amazing show and no matter how small of a job someone has, they need to know that they’re important to make the show possible. Working through problems as a team and not by myself is more beneficial not only to my stress level but to the production as a whole. Being able to connect with everyone makes communication easier, and in the end, the production runs more smoothly when everyone knows they’re stage manager has their back. Teamwork makes the dream work, am I right?
- What is your favorite part about stage management?
The organization. To have all the answers in one binder and to know exactly where everything is placed just makes me really content. I’m able to pull out one piece of paper and give anyone the information they need at a moment’s notice. Also, knowing that the time and effort I put into all the paperwork was all worth it, in the end, makes stage-managing that much more enjoyable for me. Nothing like a good color-coded excel spreadsheet to get me jazzed up about starting a new show.
- What is your least favorite part about stage management?
It’s a hard job and sometimes the stress of it all gets to me. Knowing that something could go wrong at any moment no matter how prepared you are, makes it hard to relax and enjoy the moment. Sometimes the stress adds up and the fun part of the job can be lost.
- What was your best experience stage managing at RLT?
Working with a great team on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Having the support I needed to make a great production come to life made everything about working with RLT a great experience. I met so many people I probably wouldn’t have interacted with in real life if it weren’t for RLT. Without RLT I wouldn’t have discovered my love for stage management and for that, I am grateful!
Wow, what a great interview we did! Can you believe we’re not journalists or someone who interviews people? Thanks to Schyler for interviewing for this. RLT needs stage managers please come back.
About the authors:
Victoria Blanford is the Operations Manager of Reno Little Theater. Prior to coming on as a staff member, Victoria volunteered as a Stage Manager and crew member for several seasons. She doesn’t share food, but does share the following joke… she just thought of… right now: What did the Stage Manager say when her hands were full? HOLD PLEASE
Tiff Bream is the Assistant Technical Director of Reno Little Theater. Having served as the Production Stage Manager for GLM and RLT once upon a time, Tiff would like to know if that is your prop. It doesn’t look like your prop, you should put it down.
Victoria is the one with the mustache. Tiff is also the one with the mustache. Who is who? MYSTERY.