With the new MainStage season in full swing, we want to showcase the people behind the Rep stage in a series called “Behind the Curtain.” This weekly Q&A series will highlight staff members who keep the Arkansas Repertory Theatre running on a daily basis.
Someone who helps keep productions running behind the scenes is production assistant intern Jennifer Gregory.
Here is what she has to say about her theatre experience here at The Rep:
When did you start working at The Rep: July 2013 as overhire; May 2014 as production assistant
Education/training: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with an emphasis in stage management from Southwestern University
How’d you get into the theatre biz: When I was about 11 years old, I participated in Youth Theatre of Central Arkansas in Conway, which might have been my first exposure to theatre outside of sitting in the audience. During my sophomore year of high school, I discovered stage management when the music director asked me if I’d like to ‘ASM’ the spring musical, Kiss Me Kate. I said, ‘Sure. What’s an ASM?’ (It’s an assistant stage manager, I quickly learned.)
Why your job rocks: I get to see the show develop from the first rehearsal all the way to closing night, and every day in between.
Best work day ever: I have good days all the time– when the show goes smoothly, rehearsal goes well or tasks are accomplished. By and large, they blend together more than the rougher days. One time, though, a 10-year-old told me I was good at my job. That was pretty cool.
Favorite Rep show you’ve worked on and why: Les Miserables (2014). I’ve been listening to Les Miserables possibly since birth, and I was obsessed with it growing up. For example, I wanted to have a Les Mis birthday party where all of my friends and I would get together and sing Les Mis and watch the 10th Anniversary Special. My mom had a difficult time explaining to me why that was not going to work for a group of 6-year-olds. My obsession has tempered a bit since those days, but working on Les Mis was always going to be wonderful for me. It was even better than I imagined, though, because it was a great production with an amazing cast and crew. My fellow dressers and I were particularly challenged by the hundreds of costume looks, which made the accomplishment of running the show that much sweeter.
One thing people would be surprised about your job: That I actually like it. Sometimes when I explain to people what exactly stage management entails, I get looks like this job must be a punishment on my way to something better. Things like mopping and sweeping the stage or making copies of the script or updating paperwork are part of the job, and they are parts of the job that I really don’t mind. I like mopping the stage. Really
Favorite seat in the house: I always put my family in first row, center, of the First Mezzanine. It’s where I’d sit if I had a chance to watch the show!
Best job perk: I get to work with some seriously great people doing a job I love. Oh, and I really appreciate the free food during photo calls.
Be sure to check back every week to get a glimpse at a different member of The Rep staff. Buy your tickets to Wait Until Dark here!