24 hours with Ruby Webb
We caught up with Assistant Stage Manager Ruby Webb to find out what happens on a typical day during rehearsals for A Very Expensive Poison.
My role as Assistant Stage Manger overall is maintenance and management of all of the props in the show, working them into the rehearsal space and then managing them in the theatre as well as making sure there is appropriate paperwork for tracking the props and furniture in the show so we have a digital log of everything.
Day to day, along side the Company Stage Manger and the Deputy Stage Manager, we run the rehearsal room; everything from scenes and scene changes to costume and vocal calls, fight calls, movement calls and everything in between. It is our job to know everything technical about the elements of set, furniture or props that we are handing over to the actors so we can answer any questions they have and so they can know what to expect when we get into the theatre. Together we figure out the logistics of the show during rehearsals and propose the best ways for scene changes or furniture moves.
Once the show moves from the rehearsal space to the theatre I will the run the back stage area along side the Company Stage Manager. I am responsible for making sure all cast know where their props are, how to use them and where to drop them off when they come off stage if I am not directly handing over and receiving the item. Just like the cast, I have my own little choreographed track backstage of what I need to be doing at all moments during the show. This is compiled in a cue sheet and means that everyone can know what I will be doing for every performance. This also keeps me and others safe as I won’t be standing in the wrong place, in the way of actors, flying elements or automated tracks.
A Very Expensive Poison specifically has an lot of food preparation – because it is a replica of Alexander and Marina Litvinenko’s memories and lives, having real food as opposed to fake food makes a lot of difference. The amount of food prep before and during the show comes with its own regulations, and it is my responsibility to make sure these are applied. At the end of a busy day of rehearsals, as a Stage Management team we compile rehearsal notes to be sent out the to entire creative team as well as Producers, Production Managers and every other person that has a part to play in creating the show.
Ruby Webb, Assistant Stage Manager
A Very Expensive Poison plays at The Old Vic from 20 August.