Tag Archives: Stage Manager

“Stage Manager” – Fiction by Rebecca Ann Jordan

GhostLight
Ghost Light on Stage, Photo by Jon Ellwood (c) 2014

Rebecca Ann Jordan‘s “Stage Manager,” one of the short stories from our Spring 2014 Issue, has a delightfully waggish voice, though that doesn’t diminish the eeriness lurking in its wings.

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EVERY THEATRE HAS A GHOST. Ours has three.

“Stage Manager is a thankless job.” This was from Stage Manager, the man I was currently apprenticed to. “Director gets artistic credit. Actors get the glory. And everyone loves the beautiful set, the lights, the costumes.” He shrugged thin little shoulders and tore purple spike tape with nimble fingers. I was a good head taller than him, with his faerie-red hair and green eyes, and I didn’t yet know the art of tearing spike tape without a pair of scissors, tucked now in my pocket like a rumble knife. “Most people don’t even know there’s such a thing as Stage Manager.”

“So why do you do it?”

“Well,” he said, “someone has to.”

We ate lunch at 8:35 exactly. A chocolate muffin, hot chocolate, and a carton of Cherry Garcia to split. It was his idea. I had no complaints.

“Do you know we have three ghosts in Smothers?”

I didn’t really want to know about it. Nightmares really liked me. “Oh really?” I wanted him to like me, too.

“Yeah.” His pixie eyes lit up. “One is an unwed bride, haunting the stage in her wedding dress because her fiancé jilted her.” I highly doubted the first place a bride-ghost would go would be Smothers Theatre, but I nodded anyway. “The second is a crying baby. You can hear it sometimes, wailing on the catwalk.”

We were back in Smothers, sitting down on stage and alternating between spike tape and ice cream. “You ever heard it?”

“Me? No. But I’ve seen the bride.” He grinned. “The last one is my favorite. The Stage Manager.”

I laughed. “The collective ghost of all the managers jilted from glory and appreciation?”

“Something like that. I usually lock up. First to arrive and last to leave…” He ripped the spike tape and raised it, a toast to me, and I followed him as he eyeballed its placement. “You can hear him clapping.”

I tucked the finished tub of Cherry Garcia under my arm and grabbed the opposite end of the spike tape as he strolled to stage left. “You’re so full of shit.”

Stage Manager smiled. “You’ll see,” was all he said. “You can lock up tonight.”

“No thanks.”

“I mean, I have to go work on Millie.” The other play he was managing. He was determined to get as much opportunity to be forgotten as possible. “Here.” He tossed me the keys.

Maybe I would get one of the stage hands to stay with me afterward. Unfortunately, I believed in ghosts.

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