ASM Life

I started a new job last week, as the Assistant Stage Manager of Arms and the Man with Seattle Shakespeare Company. Since fall is relatively slow for the Education department, I was able to shift my education hours around, and take on this new responsibility. 

It's basically been since college since I've stage managed, but as a producer/director of youth productions, I'm often responsible for my own prop lists, scene tracking, being on book, etc. 

 This beauty is growing thru our basement. So we’re remodeling.

This beauty is growing thru our basement. So we’re remodeling.

I signed on for this project for a few reasons. First--to be blunt: we could use the money. We're embarking on a basement remodel project due to a root lifting the floor. When my husband removed part of the root, it sprouted thru the floor!

I also wanted more experience on the production side. The way my work schedule is, I'm available for projects with daytime rehearsals in the fall and winter, but spring is our busy time in education. When I took the Education Coordinator job, I was hoping to be on-stage again with Shakes, but so far none of the auditions have yielded any offers (I'm a tweener, right?) So this is my way to be in the rehearsal room and build relationships with other actors, designers, and a new-to-me director. And to be inspired by these talented working artists, and take away anything I can from this process to use myself!

It's been lovely to watch how these actors work. I'm delighted to see how people prepared for first rehearsal. It's amazing to see folks come with lines comfortable in their mouths--clearly they did their homework before rehearsal. The actors had character choices already, and intelligent questions for the director and other actors during table work. 

I’m particularly charmed by Seattle theatre legend, Suzy Hunt. Anytime we would go back and pick up a moment we'd just done, she'd make a completely new and hilarious choices. I wish my young student could see her make these bold choices, and extreme beat changes--it's amazing. And she is just charming and lovely to be in the room with! A good reminder that who you are, and being a positive addition to the room, is JUST as important as talent. 

I'm excited to see how this rehearsal process continues. 

Click HERE for tickets.

You're a Tweener, Zandi Carlson. 

 I'm a WHAT? Photo by Danophoto

I'm a WHAT?
Photo by Danophoto

I was 20, or 21 when I got my first owl post notifying me that I was a "Tweener." 

Okay, it wasn't owl post, but it was a conversation with the Artistic Director of a local professional theatre company, which my college, Oklahoma City University, had a partnership with. 

For co-productions, the young roles were played by college students and the older adult roles by professional actors. There also would also be a complete understudy cast made up of college students. 

I was lucky enough to get to understudy AMAZING actresses who would commute from Dallas to do these productions. I got to understudy Mrs. Webb in Our Town, and Judith Bliss in Hay Fever. The women I was understudying were in their late 40's/early 50's. 


Have You figured out what a "tweener" is yet?

(Hint: It's not that awkward age before you turn 13.)

 What I wore to my most recent audition. Photo by Danophoto

What I wore to my most recent audition.
Photo by Danophoto

This Artistic Director says to me one day, "You're a tweener, Zandi. You're not really an ingénue, but you're not old enough for the mom roles." 

Today, at the ripe age of 32, I had a casting director use that same word, "Tweener."

To be honest, it was used a really lovely, and personal note letting me know I had not gotten a role. I knew I was too old for it--the young, virginal side interest of the leading man.

"You are maturing beautifully into a true leading lady." She said--what a compliment!

This casting director went on to say I was way too young for the mother of the role I was up for.

Tweener. (P.S. I was not up for the actual leading lady role...that had been cast the week before, I think).

Back in college, I had a professor tell me I would play a lot of maids, sisters, and a lot of best friends until I was ready for the leading lady roles. Too bad there wasn't a sister or best friend in this show. Maybe next time. 

But dammit, in 15 to 20 years, I'm gonna be the BEST mom-of-an-ingenue. I'm coming for you again Judith Bliss. And Kate Keller, and Gertrude, and Mrs Bracknell, and....

Audition Prep Camp Love

I can honestly say I love nothing more than audition coaching. 

  • I love helping students select and work monologues
  • I love formatting resumes
  • I love discussing branding for headshots
    • (And I love being in front of the camera myself...see below)
 John Ulman photographing my audition prep student at Seattle Center.  

John Ulman photographing my audition prep student at Seattle Center.  

This past week, I taught an audition prep camp with high school students. It was the first time Seattle Shakespeare Company had done a camp like this. I had told my boss I wanted to teach it, because it was something I loved teach when I worked at Bainbridge Performing Arts. We had 5 enthusiastic students, who were a joy to work with. 

These students got such a sweet deal because in addition to the monologue selection and acting coaching work, the camp included headshots with the fabulous John Ulman. Remember him from my most recent headshots? He is so lovely to work with, and all the students raved about how at ease he made them feel. 

Audition Prep Group Photo.jpg

We also took a group shot, and I think these teenagers look like they're graduating from an MFA program and are ready to conquer the world. I certainly wasn't as poised and confident when I was a sophomore or junior in high school! Every time I teach high school students, I think about how wish I could have gotten the information I'm giving them when I was their age. It all worked out in the end, but I was so clueless auditioning at their age.  

After all the students were done getting their photos taken, I jumped in front of the camera and asked the student to direct me. The results were pretty funny, and possibly more true to who I am that my actual headshots, but I don't know how much work I'd book from these. 


And now, for my silly NON-headshots.
(Any guesses what they directed me to do?)

If you have someone you know looking for help with audition prep, please contact me, and I would be happy to discuss private coaching! I love working with teens on audition prep for school productions and college auditions, and also work with adults!