July Volunteer Spotlight: Ruth Kummerow
For our July 2023 Volunteer Spotlight, QCT spoke with Ruth Kummerow!
Ruth is currently supporting THE MUSIC MAN as Stage Manager! She has been involved with QCT for several years in both onstage and behind-the-scenes roles. Learn more about Ruth’s QCT story in this July Volunteer Spotlight:
1. Question: How did you get involved/what inspired you to get involved with the theatre?
I first discovered Quincy Community Theatre after my spouse suggested that I audition to be in a musical. His comment was prompted by my dancing through the mall after seeing La, La Land and saying how I wish my life was a musical. In the summer of 2017 I auditioned for Hello, Dolly! and I was cast in the ensemble. I fell in love with theatre that summer.
2. Question: What is one of your favorite stage productions? Why did you choose that?
From an onstage perspective my favorite musical to be in was Big Fish. It was a small cast and we all became friends and had such an incredible experience sharing that special story with audiences. I also met one of my best friends during that show and we are still close today. My favorite play that I was in is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It was a very emotional experience that taught me a lot about theatre and acting. I love theatre in general because it is an escape from reality and a safe place to experiment and try new things. I am able to be someone different every time I step on stage. I love watching theatre and going on a journey as I watch a story unfold in front of me. Having been on stage I appreciate the hard work it takes to put on a show and I enjoy seeing others’ passion and joy for theatre through various productions.
3. Question: Describe a day in the life of a Stage Manager. What type of work do you perform to support the production of THE MUSIC MAN?
A stage manager’s job is all about communication and organization. In the mornings, I think about what we will be doing for rehearsal and what I may need to prepare in order for rehearsal to be successful. Do we have the props or do I need to grab some rehearsal props? Do we have the set pieces or do I need to grab something to stand in for a set piece so we can effectively block a scene? Are we on stage or at a different location? If we are at a different location, does everyone know how to get there and get into the building? As I think through these questions, I make lists and send emails as needed to the production team and the cast. I reply to emails from cast members and the production team; and take care of what needs to be done based on the information in those emails.
I also have to plan out my food schedule. Since I live in Pittsfield, I have a 50-minute commute to the theatre; so I have to think about what time I need to arrive at the theatre to determine what time I need to leave and therefore what time I need to eat dinner before heading out. I make muffins that I keep in the freezer and I take one out each night to take with me to rehearsal the next day, because I usually leave home before 5:00 and I don’t get home until after 11:00, I need a snack.
Once I arrive at the theatre, I check my mailbox in the QCT office to make sure I have everything that may need to be distributed to the cast and crew. Then I start pulling props and setting up the stage as needed for rehearsal. I keep track of who has arrived and who should be at the theatre when and contact people if they are not there when they should be.
During rehearsal, I write down the blocking (where people are on stage; when and where they enter & exit); I also take note of what props & scenery we need, when different cues will happen (like scene changes) and messages that need to be conveyed to the lighting director, the set designer & builders, costume designer & manager, sound director, choreographer, vocal director, music director, and the QCT office. I track all of this on a Rehearsal Report document that I have open on my computer in front of my physical script during rehearsals. I also record videos of choreography so that actors can practice at home and the lighting designer can have something to work off of to plan lighting. If I have time during rehearsal, I upload the videos to a shared drive that the cast and production team can access them as needed.
After rehearsal, I talk with the production team that is present at that rehearsal to determine if there is anything they need that I need to convey to another department. If so I add this to the rehearsal report or make a note of it for a later date.
Once I get home, I type up an email to the cast letting them know any important information they may need in the next few days including the rehearsal schedule for the the next rehearsal. I then send an email to the production team that includes the rehearsal report which I also upload it to a shared drive. If I haven’t already uploaded videos from rehearsal, I also upload those, so everyone can access them as soon as possible. And, of course, I get my muffin out of the freezer for the next rehearsal.
4. Question: What do you feel is one of the most rewarding parts of stage managing, and why?
I love being a part of theatre and, as stage manager, I get to spend at least 4 hours a day at the theatre. QCT is my happy place, so I love that I get to go there every day and spent time with an incredible group of people. I love watching the scenes change and evolve as we make adjustments and try new things. It is fun to watch the whole process and then see the final product knowing how much hard work went into getting it to that point. It is a lot of work, but it is so worth it for the experience itself. I know audiences are going to love the final product, but I love the shared journey with the cast, crew & production team. All the work that I get to see go into creating something magnificent makes it really very special.
5. Question: What do you feel is one of the most challenging parts of stage managing, and why?
My greatest concern is missing something. I am constantly juggling so much information that I am scared I will drop a ball and something won’t get done because I forgot to communicate an important message to someone. I do my best to keep track of everything, but I am always scared that I may have missed something.
6. Question: 2023 is QCT’s 100th year! What other shows from QCT’s 100th anniversary season have you enjoyed, or you look forward to seeing?
I really enjoyed Rent. It was very well done and I loved seeing Mekia Gay shine so brightly on stage. I have shared the stage with Mekia in the past and it’s always great to see a friend absolutely rock a part. I am looking forward to Clue; I think it is going to be a great show and I can’t wait to enjoy it. I think it will be fast-paced and so fun!
7. Question: What would you say to encourage someone else to get involved at QCT?
Don’t hesitate! Quincy Community Theatre really is a community in itself. You will meet so many wonderful people and have so many incredible experiences. There is nothing like live theatre and that’s what makes it the best. It is a lot of work and time, but it is so worth it. Each show will add something new to your life.
8. Question: Thanks for providing this insight into your role at QCT, Ruth, along with some inspiration to get involved! Do you have anything else to add?
My spouse Glenn has been a constant encouragement and support throughout my years at QCT. For each show I am a part of, he gives me a fake flower that fits the theme/color of the show. I purchase a copy of the cast picture which I hang on my wall with the flower he gives me stuck to the frame. I started my second row last year and added all the nails for the entire row in anticipation of the future shows I will be involved in. Theatre is my joy and my passion. I would love to share that with you; so please come join me at QCT!