#47 – Sandi Becker

Sandi Becker strikes fear into the hearts of the weak and foolish. She has retractable fangs. And, due to a recurring battle with Early Onslaught Lycanthropy, has become a passionate advocate for promoting tolerance to Werewolfism in school age children. She can kill you with a look, and if you are not in bed by 9 o’clock, she’ll come to you in the darkness, slip you into a bag made from cat skin, and take you to her moldy, mildewed layer. What will happen there? No one has lived to tell the tale.

Sandi Becker is a Toronto based stage manager. She is currently working on Eldritch Theatre’s The Harrowing of Brimstone McReedy, at the Red Sandcastle, Oct. 27 – Nov. 13, 2016.

http://www.eldritchtheatre.ca/

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Transcript

Transcript auto generated. 

Phil Rickaby
Welcome to Episode 47 of Stageworthy, I’m your host Phil Rickaby. Stageworthy is a podcast about people in Canadian theatre featuring conversations with actors, directors, playwrights, stage managers, producers and more. If you’d like to be a guest on stage or the or just want to drop me a line you can find Stageworthy on Facebook and Twitter and stageworthypod and you can find the website at stageworthypodcast.com. If you like the podcast, I hope you’ll subscribe on iTunes or Google music or whatever podcast app you use, and consider leaving a comment or rating. Sandi Becker is a stage managers currently with eldritch theatres that harrowing of brimstone McCready playing at the red sand castle in Toronto starting October 27.

Sandy, you’re a stage manager I don’t get to talk to stage managers very

much I don’t get to talk to interview many.

Most stage managers are? Well, first off, people don’t usually say I would you know, when they are approaching a production, they don’t usually say I want to talk to your stage manager and also most dated managers, and I’m particularly comfortable with talking.

Sandi Becker
I’m very comfortable talking, I probably will not listen to this podcast because the sound of my own voice recording makes me crazy.

Phil Rickaby
But I have the I you know, it’s hard for me, you know, I have to listen to a lot of my own voice. I also the sound of my own voice makes me. So I don’t know, this is a great way to start. Is this your first time listening to the podcast? I hope my voice is not annoying to you, as it is to me. Have you all like When did stage management start to be a thing for you?

Sandi Becker
I fell into it as most people that I know who are stage managers did, although I’m encountering more and more people who set out to the stage managers, which I think is awesome. I wanted to be I sang all through school and I wanted to be a performer and I went to York to try and be an actor and didn’t get into the acting stream. You have to re audition after first year at York. So I didn’t get into the acting stream. And it didn’t occur to me production didn’t even enter my mind at the time. So I just have like I have a theatre history degree. And then I there was like a community theatre thing at York. And I auditioned for a show and I said well apart for you, we need a stage manager. And I’m not sure what’s that I had no idea what I was, like no concept of what a stage manager did at that point really did it once trial by fire, it was terrifying a nightmare. And by the end of it, I was like, Hey, I’m good at this. And I won’t ever not get hired because I’m too tall, I will never have any like it’s so much less stress around true finding work around that that aspect of my life. And I still get to tell stories, I still get to be part of the whole thing. And I’m better at it than there’s more work and so

Phil Rickaby
interesting, because you know, people, people will always need to stay, there’s always a need for good stage managers.

Sandi Becker
Yeah. And all I have to do to get work is show up and be good at my job, don’t get hired back. Whereas, you know, an actor could be fantastic. And the next time around, there’s not something that fits that.

Phil Rickaby
Also, the downside to being an actor is that there are actually 1000s of other people who can do exactly what you do. can do what a good stage manager comes? True. So you went into York, thinking you were going to do musical theatre?

Sandi Becker
Well, I went into York. This is not a good advertisement for York. But I went to York because it was the only place I got and I did want to go into musical theatre so that Sheridan Windsor and all the places and New York doesn’t have a musical theatre programme. And in fact, while I was there, I don’t know if it’s changed since but while I was there, they were very down on musicals. They really didn’t like musicals at all. They considered it a lesser artform.

Phil Rickaby
I don’t know what that I have no idea what it’s like. Now I know some people who work who are recent graduates, I’ll have to ask them. But when I was at George Brown, even though we were supposed to be classically trained, it was important that we learn how to sing because one of the things that they told us it was not that it was like a lesser thing. This is going to be part of your career. Yeah, if you want a career in the theatre, you would better be able to carry a tune, you would better be able to put together a combination you better be able to do Shakespeare, yeah, these are the things Yeah.

Sandi Becker
And they did teach the acting students at York how to sing I know they had they had a singing teacher. But I’m not sure what went on in those rooms. I didn’t get to the point where I had a singing teacher but yeah, I don’t I’m not sure. But my experience there was that unless it was I think They did. They did one. Like one musical for years, and it was

Phil Rickaby
serious. Yeah. See, I always this conversation is gonna ramble. I don’t have set questions. So it’s a great station. For me when I was way back when I was way back in the Dark Ages, when I was when I started to act like I’m older than I am.

Unknown Speaker
I do that too.

Phil Rickaby
When I was thinking about school sounds like a long time to some people now. One of the schools that I didn’t look at was York. And the reason why I didn’t look at York was the whole idea of you going to audition, you’re going to get into the programme. And then once you’ve done your first year, they will decide what you’re going to do, what you are able to do. And I my whole thing was, fuck you. I’m going to do what I want to do. So I didn’t want to go to a school that was not going to let me at least do what I wanted to do and fail at it. Like not let me get to that point. Yeah. Which I thought I felt like that was a demoralising way to do it. Did you see any kind of merit in doing

Sandi Becker
the merit? I do see? And I think that it can be it? Can they can you can have it both ways, I think, because the merit that I didn’t see was that everybody in first year did everything. And I think that’s really important. I think that actors should have some experience in production. I think production people should have to take an acting class, I think that’s really, really valuable. So there’s like starting off broad and streamlining down, I think is a really great thing to do. That being said, it’s, it did. And I know some people who well, like, I remember being 19, and finding out that I didn’t get into anything just devastated. Like it’s the worst thing that could ever happen to a person. As it turns out, I’m so glad I did. But like, you know, so. Yeah, yes and no, like, I think it’s, I think, I also think it’s sort of it’s a real world experience, to be one of 260 and get accepted. And that’s, that’s the audition process, too. But when you’ve paid in, you’re paying for a safe space to learn. Yeah, that’s not super helpful.

Phil Rickaby
That is not super helpful. And, you know, in a certain way you did or like, so I can’t I the only school that I can really compare it to school they went to which was George Brown, which took in 30. So hundreds auditioned, 30 got in. And even they consider that too many, ideally, by the end of third year, they want to be down to between 15 and 12 people

Sandi Becker
and how did they do that? Did they fail people? Do they ask them to leave? Do they ask people to leave? Yeah, so

Phil Rickaby
that so that in your first and it usually happens either right before Christmas and right before the summer. So I’m gonna have you on for Christmas shitty way to spend your Christmas. But it tended to be so you’ve had some time. And it’s all about, you know, the first semesters exploring and this sort of thing. And then they try to figure out so who is taking to the programme and who’s not resisting that sort of thing. Those might be the people that they asked to leave after a semester. They usually give like that first one is that first time is kind of a blindside if they ask him to leave, because we haven’t had any previous meetings that gave him any warning. After that, you know, maybe we’re on the edge from that first one, then, you know, but generally, yes, they go through that painful process of asking people to leave. But they learned early on, after a painful. This is a story that they told us that they used to joke that, you know, we currently give everybody A’s because what isn’t a was different a actor A minus B actor, so everybody gets A’s. And then they asked somebody told me, and that person said, I’m not leaving, I’ve got A’s, and they said, Well, you’re gonna have to leave. So they sued and said, I mark say that I can stay and so then they gave everybody C. So then everybody got a C in their classes. So the description became what was important, not nothing. The only time I got an A was, in my third year performance of a Winter’s Tale when the lake Douglas Campbell, who was directing us was asked, so what should they what should the grades be simple if they did it didn’t say they get A’s. But in terms of like going from thinking you’re going to go in to do musical theatre to be told, No, you’re not getting into that stream? Did they suggest production or did you choose production? No,

Sandi Becker
I didn’t live that’s the thing as I went to the default that Yorkers theatre studies That’s more academic side. It’s, it’s sort of edit when certainly at the time when I was 19, and didn’t know any better, it felt like, well, you can’t be an actor. So you’re gonna be a critic. That’s really, that’s really what it feels like when you get that teacher, critic

Phil Rickaby
that makes just that perpetuates that old critics are failed. Yeah, exactly, exactly. So

Sandi Becker
I pride myself, I don’t know if I’m the only one. But I know I’m one of the very few graduates of York with a theatre Studies degree who did not take a single criticism. I took all the history classes, I took all the requirements. I didn’t take any criticism, because I said, I’m not going to be a critic. If I’m not going to be an actor, that’s fine. But I’ll be something else. Like,

Phil Rickaby
did you have an eye towards what you are what you just kind of take in as much as you could to try to figure out well, that’s

Sandi Becker
the thing is that once you have once you have the freedom of the theatre studies umbrella, I could take whatever I wanted in German classes I took I took Russian history classes, I took all kinds of stuff that had nothing to do with it. And it was probably that’s why my education was so rich. And I really enjoyed my experience at York because I was able to keep it that broad. And it was this other like little, they’re called Vanja college productions. And so this is this little, like community theatre link to one of the colleges that has nothing to do with the theatre department. Right. And it was through them that I found stage management that I figured out that production was fun and interesting and something I was interested in doing.

Phil Rickaby
And I don’t know did you mention what that first show you stage managed?

Sandi Becker
The very first show I stage managed was into the woods. I also played the giant because the giant is just a voice so I could do that. And so that which is my absolute favourite credit of all time still it said in the programme with no punctuation Sandi Becker, giant stage manager. I kept the programme I love it so much. And yeah, so that was that was the first that was my first experience in stage management.

Phil Rickaby
So oh, maybe

Sandi Becker
I sent The Fantasticks before that. Maybe I can’t remember what order it came.

Phil Rickaby
Like, you know, you think if it was gonna be me, give me a nice two hands. First, just to get my feet

Sandi Becker
wet because I didn’t know what I was getting into. I

Phil Rickaby
don’t know what you’re gonna do. And that must have been terrifying when you realised exactly what it was said that man.

Sandi Becker
Mostly. It was the schedule that made me like it made me have brain haemorrhages. I didn’t, because it was also extracurricular. So it was scheduling around everyone’s classes. I’m not available for this day. I’m not available for this day. I don’t think we ever had the whole cast in the same room before the dress rehearsal ever. It was yeah, that was I remember, I do remember sitting in my residence room crying. I couldn’t figure out how to make this work. Yeah, so once the like, like the calling of cues and the running of the show. I don’t remember being particularly scary. I’ve never really been intimidated by a scary call. It’s it’s all the administrative stuff beforehand.

Phil Rickaby
Because to me, if for no, there there is some supremely technical shows. I don’t know what that production.

Sandi Becker
It was, you know, sliding tracks. Like it wasn’t what it

Phil Rickaby
wasn’t like. Once you get into some of the larger show, and you think about how to make those work and all of the moving pieces, like musicals are complicated, you know, musicals are complicated because they have they have sound they have music, they have lights, they have so many people

Sandi Becker
Yes, or a few people playing 6 million. Yes. Different people, which

Phil Rickaby
is yes. That’s an adult. Yep. And so in some of those those things that that’s got that’s like a terrifying thing. But what happened was the cast that you were trying to schedule at that point.

Sandi Becker
Oh, God, Into The Woods is a huge comparatively, isn’t it’s No, I want to say

Phil Rickaby
15 Maybe. I mean, like, on the large side

Sandi Becker
from into the woods, maybe but maybe I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t really know. It’s not

Phil Rickaby
like oh, my God was like 12 Maybe. Yeah. Right. When everybody’s in school, and you have to try to steal a lot. Yeah.

Sandi Becker
And I had to be it had to be under a certain number because I remember one of my apprenticeships doing women’s on the cast was 20 I’m thinking that was enormous. muslimin to you.

Phil Rickaby
But you came out of that unscathed and decided it was anything you wanted to do.

Sandi Becker
I guess so what I don’t really remember where the decision happened because I still when I graduated, I still sent out headshots like I still was thinking, I’ll give this a go. But I sent I was I was still a bit silly about it and a bit naive. I think I sent out a bunch of headshots and also a Production resume in the same theatre going I could do this or I could do this. So

Phil Rickaby
here’s the thing is that you might have actually fallen into that because of that because you I help people who are fine actors, but they also happen to be good stage managers and they won’t tell anybody. Because as soon as a theatre finds out that you’re a good stage manager, they don’t care if you can act, they want a stage manager. Yeah. If you were to go to them and say, I can do production, I can do acting, they don’t care about the actor. So what did your stage management career look like after school?

Sandi Becker
Um, well, the first my first summer after school, I got hired at Port Stanley, and they hired me. They hired me to be ASM slash props and wardrobe coordinator. So I was supposed to be just been charged with maintenance and stuff like that. They were bringing in a bunch of shows from another theatre. And the theatre lost all their props. So when I arrived, they told me you have to build this show. Oh. I built forever plaid. And thank God, the director went well, I want it to look like these guys made it themselves. So I want all the props to look really crappy and homemade. It was like, awesome, I can totally made a lot of really bad, ugly props. And I did some shopping for the rest of the season. But it was mostly and I asked him to all the shows just sort of as an extra. It was but it really felt like something was the was the site, right? Like this was props is the big thing. And then you know, you ASM and do some laundry here and there. But yeah, so I did. I did that. And I didn’t I didn’t start because that was before Port Stanley was an equity company. And I didn’t start apprenticing for a really long time, like a really long time. Because I didn’t have any training. I felt like, like, I was like, somebody somebody. And I think it was the advice was directed to the actors in school, but somebody in school said don’t take your equity card too soon. Because then you won’t get work blah, blah. And I don’t feel that that applies to stage manager.

Phil Rickaby
That doesn’t apply to statement, but I

Sandi Becker
took at the time. So you knew

Phil Rickaby
what the person said probably only knew from the,

Sandi Becker
from the actor point. So yeah, so I did a lot of unpaid fringy stuff that was and, you know, dibs. I don’t know, I don’t know how many years it was before I got my first equity credit. And it was actually and I and then I started collecting credits here and there. But as an apprentice, you can sort of get credits for as long as you want without using your card. So I was dabbling in equity. I was dabbling in getting an apprenticeship credits, and then I was the conference assistant at the SMRs conference. When Winston Morgan was still running it like it might have been his last year. And he, like I just didn’t photocopying and set up the room. And as a result, I got to attend all the all the conferences, all the conference for free, right? It was great. And I’ve learned tonnes and then at the end of it Winston took me out for a drink to thank me for my work and yelled at me. You’re doing this wrong, like you’re good at the or do you want to do this? Are you good at this, then why don’t you have your card yet? What are you doing? You’re dicking around, you’re wasting your time you’re wasting other people’s time, get on this at home and I cried. And it was so upset because wisdom oriented yelled at me. The next morning I woke up and was like, No, he was right. He was absolutely right. So that I started doing it. So I got my card. When did I get my equity card? 2006. Seven, something like that. And two years later, I managed to quit my day job at the bookstore.

Phil Rickaby
Whenever you can go and quit your day job to do the thing. The capital T thing. That’s a great moment.

Sandi Becker
Yeah. Oh, it was that was the best moment ever sent. I remember sending my mom and email saying like, it’s in my printer. I printed out my letter of resignation. I’m off tomorrow I’m out of out of the bookstore, specifically because of how did your mother react to that? Oh, she was so excited for me.

Phil Rickaby
It was like a life of theatre is not the end of the world for my childhood

Sandi Becker
there. My parents both were very, very supportive the whole time. Yeah, my mom never really figured out what she wanted to do when she grew up. So I think that she sort of was just excited that I knew that I had a plan and that I was you know, doing something that I enjoyed, and she was really happy for me in that respect. And my dad still is just he he was an urban planner by trade. And so that’s a fairly artistic profession already. And he also is a photographer and, you know, used to do these gorgeous pencil drawings and stuff like that. So he has a very artistic bent. So I think he understands the drive to do it. Yeah, he’s supportive in they both have been financially supportive, just really rib like I don’t I think I want to quit long ago if my parents hadn’t been supportive. I think

Phil Rickaby
it’s interesting to think about, because I know for several generations, our parents, the parents, when they would grow up and they would hit 20. They would have to decide on a career read that and getting into that and it was expected that that’s the career you would stay in for the rest of your life and you Do the annual reward for being in something that you may eventually hate was at the age of 60. You could retire and then start doing the things that you’d like. Yeah. And I think that as time has progressed, that’s become a less attractive thing. It’s now a little more acceptable to be able to switch jobs, switch careers and make changes as you need to. It’s the end of the world like it once was. And so now it’s good. Good to see to hear I think I hear more stories about people whose parents were like, if this is the thing you love, yeah, then ya hear that more than a year? Yeah, my parents disowned me. Why is that? I want?

Sandi Becker
Yeah, I feel like that’s sort of a first generation Canadian. Like, I think that, you know, if your parents are immigrants, that’s probably a little scarier, I

Phil Rickaby
think, I think, also, depending on how old your parents are when you went into the business, yeah. And your people who may have gone into the business run the time that I graduated, or who went to theatre school, and the parents were like, if you do this, you do this on your own? Yeah, sort of thing rather than with our support. Yeah. So after that,

Sandi Becker
I think it also helps that my sister my older sister is a doctor so well, she’ll be okay. Because after we’re gone some of her sister Oh, yeah. A doctor in the family Exactly. And one successful.

Phil Rickaby
The important thing is that you both enjoy what you do. When did you link up with eldritch? Theatre? Oh,

Sandi Becker
when did I link up with other theatre two years ago? So? Yeah, yeah. And I already knew Eric, but I have not even seen any of his shows. I don’t think I’ve been I’ve been on one tour with him. He was hired as an actor on this kid’s puppet show about a Christmas turkey. And all over Southern Ontario, and I knew I enjoyed working with him and I really liked him as a person and, and then I am very good friends with Eric’s longtime designer, Melanie McNeil. And she, I think pushed for me to come in and join the Elbridge family. I think she actually wanted to have me around. I happen to I’m not sure what happened with the stage manager prior to me, I’d like I don’t think there was a falling out. Everybody’s happy and everybody likes each other. I think maybe she stopped stage managing or she moved on to something bigger something. I don’t know. But yeah, anyway, so but he was looking for a stage manager and Melanie said, I have this friend and he went I know about friends.

Phil Rickaby
Church and what LRC are done now. Adriana Prosser is somebody that’s friend of mine. She’s been on the podcast before and she describes she’s the the marketing monster for overseeing and she described to me what elders theatre did as magic horror puppet theatre.

Sandi Becker
Sounds like an apt description to me.

Phil Rickaby
So, since I’ve heard that phrase, I have been trying to figure out what it is magic horn up in theatre? No, I’m sure that your answer is going to be you’ll have to see it to figure it out. Kind of but could aside from that, can you give me some kind of idea of what magic or puppet theatre is as a core

Sandi Becker
puppet theatre? Is I was actually talking to somebody who was a prospective volunteer for us this year and tried to sort of explain the same concept because it’s it’s comedy but it’s comedy out of trying to be very very frightening. It’s creepy and hilarious. And it’s it’s also there’s there’s there’s puppets and they’re telling horror stories and doing magic tricks. That’s really

Phil Rickaby
a magic tricks.

Sandi Becker
I don’t think no, Eric does magic tricks with his hands. But I but I wait. Nope. I did. Frankenstein’s boy puppet did do a magic trick. Oh, God is something that happens on occasion. I’m not sure if it’ll happen. I don’t think the puppets in the show are quite as dexterous.

Phil Rickaby
You need about stage managing a an Alfred theatre show that is different from another show.

Sandi Becker
Um, it’s I think I certainly laugh more in rehearsal. I certainly enjoy rehearsals more. What is unique about it. Everything is really different beasts. Well, it’s part of it is not so much. Albertson part of it is the space we work in. We work at the red sandcastle theatre. So it’s very very. His shows require very specific technical elements in a space but is not equipped to provide them

Phil Rickaby
okay. I’ve worked in red sand. Yes, I’d love to read St. Louis to face to the, the the, as a necessity, it’s technical specifications are quite sparse. So when a show requires things that the theatre doesn’t have, what do you do?

Sandi Becker
Well, you get creative and luckily, I’m not on the design team. So I don’t have to actually come up with the solutions usually. But I remember on Frankenstein’s boy, which was the show he did two years ago, we had a couple of things that we really wanted, that I don’t even remember who really wanted to have him whether it was Eric or Marjorie Chandler director, but wanted an orphanage to light on fire. That could either be something really that could either require a projection, or we could cut out a little house, phone cord board and put cloth flames behind it attached to a fans fan out and they showed up. So that’s of course. And that show needed a lot of there was a there was a giveaway magic tricks, there was a box that required a very specific lighting effect, which was just that was just a matter of finagling focus for a long time figuring out what was is doing

Phil Rickaby
a theatre show that has magic elements in it. Difficult to stage manage it, because magic requires a certain amount of misdirection, which means that everything involved on the stage has to help with that misdirection. Well,

Sandi Becker
it’s just, it’s just putting the thought into it. And that’s the thing is because Eric, is a magician, he knows what is required to make the trick work. And so that’s even like, he’ll educate his directors on that he’ll say, you know, well, I understand that this is you want the story to work this way. But for the trick to work, this these are the specific things that have happened. And, and he’s obviously I made all the magic tricks. I know I know, happens to make them happen.

Phil Rickaby
My question to you is not. How did the trace Yeah, because number one, I know that you’re not going to tell me and number two, versus regular podcast a couple years ago, where they talked about this, this mental this trick at Penn and Teller came on or pen came on it was I can tell you how this trick works, we could be really disappointed thinking of in your brain than that what actually happens. And so they convinced him to tell him they cut that out of the podcast, but made it available if you were to go through several steps to get because they kept saying on the way don’t do it. Don’t do it. Yeah, I’d be disappointed. When you are watching this, now that you know how these tricks work? Are you able to see it from the audience point of view? Are you always like, I know how this works?

Sandi Becker
Not really anymore? Yeah, I always be because Because part of my job as a stage manager is to is to make sure that the show is going well. So if I see a tell if I see something that it’s right, that like, oh, there was you flash something there that yes, you know, the audience might have caught and so I have to watch for that stuff. So I can’t be ICU

Phil Rickaby
back into the back into the audience. And sort of like enjoy now

Sandi Becker
sadly, no, because I’m always looking for the thing that would give it away to make sure that the audience doesn’t see that. You see

Phil Rickaby
another magic show? Do you see those things?

Sandi Becker
Um I don’t think so. I don’t think so. Because there’s still a lot of stuff that I and even some of Eric’s, like, sleight of hand cartridge stuffs. I don’t necessarily know cool how he does a lot of the cartridges anyway, I don’t. And hopefully and I try not to learn because I really like to not know. Yeah, there’s something I have to be watching for that. Obviously. I have to learn but yeah, no, I don’t think. I think it’s repetition, right? Like I used to as well as sort of the hummingbird centre. Yeah. And we had David Copperfield. Okay. And the first time I saw the show, I was like, that was really cool. And the third time I saw the show, I knew how he did everything, right. I’d seen him three times when I figured it out.

Phil Rickaby
For a magician, I actually it was a guy who wanted for instance, your credit card tricks. And it was really important for him. He always said that you can never do a trick more like three times for somebody. Yeah, exactly. And so if there’s people in because he would do tricks, when we were like sitting around and so he would always like never do the same trick for the people who were in the group. Yeah, because it was important for him to to retain it. Yeah. I guess it’s true. If you see him and you see it three more than three times you will exactly know how it works.

Sandi Becker
Yeah, yeah. So it’s, yeah, and that sort of joy. I mean, they recovered. He’s really more about smoke and mirrors.

Phil Rickaby
Once you get to a certain a certain size trip, I think I think it is always Yeah,

Sandi Becker
I really prefer small magic. I like table magic way better than the big stuff like I think I think sleight of hand is so when sleight of hand is done well, it’s amazing because I, if you can’t see it, and somebody’s doing something right in front of your face, and you can’t see it, it’s awesome and super frustrating,

Phil Rickaby
I think is having watched Everton, who was up from from Brazil, this summer, is watching him sit at a table with people and blow their fucking mind every time as you just do the simple things and nobody can figure out how he’s doing it. But the way that he does it, yeah. You know, showing you the card, all this stuff, and you blow people’s minds with small magic and yeah, I think you’ve dealt with the big stuff. Yeah, totally. The big stuff is all flash.

Sandi Becker
Yeah. But people actually use the special effects. Like that’s not it’s yeah, you know, the first time somebody made a big thing disappear, it was probably really exciting. But now like, you know, with CGI, and movies and green screens and all that, like people are people assume that there’s, you know, you know, what if deception there,

Phil Rickaby
I think, and you know, now we’re going to start diverging a little bit like crazy. But the series Now You See Me Now You See Me to our movies, where I wish they just done stuff that could be done with like magic. Yeah. And instead of doing CGI shit in there to be stuff that you could never do with magic. So is that like bringing in a consultant to figure out how the trick would work? Yeah, we’re just kind of throwing some CG. Yeah, which case it not only is a terrible cheat, but also sort of like ruins what could have been craft for the for the trip, right? To make it like, something that a magician could have actually done? Yeah. Yeah. Which is sort of like, again, when you can do it in a movie, it becomes this thing that that is impossible, because now it’s CG. And now when it’s on the stage, what are people thinking now? When they see a magic trick on the stage? Yeah. Thinking CG or?

Sandi Becker
I don’t know. Yeah. They won’t be thinking about the rising castle. Anything What the We don’t have the tech to do that.

Phil Rickaby
It’s also small enough that it has, you can be intimate in a way that you can, with a lot of spaces in this. Yeah. And even I find that even at the storefront theatre is feels bigger than the red sandcastle, which is a great space for really an intimate show that really makes you feel like you’re part of it, for sure. So, the helter skelter shows that they always been produced at the red sand castle,

Sandi Becker
as I That’s a good question. Since I have been without Regenesis but I don’t know what happened before that. So

Phil Rickaby
do you know what what is there something you as a state manager can see the red sand castle gives to these shows that another space we’re not there’s a

Sandi Becker
bunch of things. Um, again, the intimacy is great. It’s really important for I feel like for the puppets and for the magic, and I think it Rosemary is really lovely, and that she lets us know, she’ll let us like transform the entire space. So we can take over when we did Frankenstein’s boy a couple years ago, we like Melanie made the whole like the whole room was the actors were in, in the show, as opposed to just watching the show. Right? Because because you don’t have a choice because it’s so small. Yeah. So you feel like you’re in the show anyway, so you may as well so the audience risers were designed and I was wearing a costume because I’m so visible and so it just becomes becomes really much more immersive and I think that that’s really helpful for show like for for shows like Eric’s yeah, there’s that. And there’s there’s an element of run down Enos that makes things a little bit creepy. And it’s it’s easy to make things creepy. I wouldn’t say that the space itself is creepy. It’s not it’s easy to make things feel creepy when you know there’s there’s water stains on the ceiling. A lot of

Phil Rickaby
fears are creepy if you turn all the lights. Yeah, most years are creepy. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, let’s think this also has that. I mean, the neighbourhood is so in transition. That Leslieville is like, there’s like some high end restaurants and there’s like a fish and chips. And there’s like, a rundown garage across the street. It’s eclectic area that that has gotten. Western is closing. We want to get close on August on weekend. That’s sad. I know. That was like the perfect spot to go before Sunday. And now there’s no sit down spot where you can do that. It is upsetting. Yeah. Because because it was a great, great little spot. So it was rashers?

Sandi Becker
Yeah. It’s not the same way more expensive. If I’m gonna if I’m gonna just go get lunch, I’m gonna go to the pumps go sandwiches. And that was just

Phil Rickaby
in terms of I mean, just just to get back to, just to you, we talked a little bit of when you found danger. You were somebody who obviously had been exposed to theatre at some point in their young life and decided that was the thing they wanted to do whatever form that was going to take. When was it that theatre became a thing that you knew you were going to do?

Sandi Becker
I honestly think and it’s such a cliche, and it’s so silly, but my parents took me to see the Phantom of the Opera when I was 11. I, I really, I really fell in love with singing before I do sort of, but I was like, Oh, that thing that that girl is doing? Yeah, I could do that. I wanted to do that. Can I do that? And so that’s sort of like the next year I was enrolled in singing lessons and stuff like that. So my parents really nurtured it. And I was a pretty shy, I was a very shy, nerdy kid. And so I think they were looking for ways to get me out of my shell, too. But yeah, it was that early on, I think. And I didn’t see a lot of theatre. I grew up in Ottawa, and there’s not a lot of theatre. So saw whatever came through the NAC if we could afford it. Yeah. And that was pretty much it. But I remember in high school, like we went on trips to Stratford and all that stuff. So there was all this just i Yeah, but I just anytime I saw theatre, I was excited to see it. I wanted to see it. I you know, if you had given little sandy an option between a movie and a play, I would have always chosen the play. So it’s just something that

Phil Rickaby
it’s interesting that you you said, this is such a cliche, but I went to Phantom of the Opera. What’s interesting is that, I think everybody thinks that their way of coming into theatre is a cliche. Every single person that I’ve talked to, and I’ve done in the 40s of interviews, so far, everybody’s story is so unique of how they found theatre, that there are no cliche in terms of in terms of, like, Do you Do you know what it was? You just suddenly identified with that that main character? Yeah,

Sandi Becker
and I mean, even before that, when I was a kid, I went before I really knew theatre. I always acted out my books, okay. I would like when I was like, six or whatever, I would be up in my room. I love to read. And I love to act out stories. That was always you know, my sister and I memorised Alice in Wonderland, the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland. And we used to, she would play Alice and I would play everyone else. He was like, perform it for nobody just for ourselves. Yeah, but I was always a very, like, I liked games right out. So that was what there’s, there’s

Phil Rickaby
a certain because there are people who like when they are younger, they gravitate toward theatre, and then it’s a certain point they are they decided it’s not for them, or somebody convinces them that it’s not for that. But then there’s a very small group of people who decided to figure out they think they can do to make a living, or I just think they want to do with their life. Do you remember at what point you figure it out or realise that that was the thing that you were going to make your life’s work? No, I

Sandi Becker
don’t remember I remember a friend in high school. Doing the very classic. Yeah, but what how are you going to make a living question? I remember as early as 15 or 16 being very defensive about that question. So obviously, I knew before so you shouldn’t

Phil Rickaby
be be questioned then convince people not to pursue a life in the art for sure.

Sandi Becker
It’s yeah, it’s yeah, I still of course, ever. We all still get that question. Yeah, but what’s your real job? But yeah, so I don’t remember. I don’t remember making a decision I don’t remember. And I maybe it comes down to my parents being really supportive. But they I don’t remember. Not thinking it was

Phil Rickaby
never a moment where career choice to yourself there was another option. No,

Sandi Becker
I’ve never thought of anything else. I don’t remember ever wanting to be anything else when I grew up, except when I was very, very small. Probably I went through like a doctor fire. We all

Phil Rickaby
go through. We all go Yeah, I’m gonna be a doctor. Fireman policeman. Yeah, ballerina, whatever. I know exactly what you mean. Because I think that there was never for me. And I think for a lot of people that I speak to, there have been a couple of people that I’ve spoken to they were going to go academic and then all of a sudden they went theatre. Yeah. But very few people that I’ve spoken to have ever been anything other than what their career in theatre. Yeah. But once that thing takes hold, it’s hard. If you end up in something else, it’s because you fell into it. It was never something you meant.

Sandi Becker
Interestingly enough. I’m actually now starting to think about what my second career is going to be. That’s sort of that’s something that, you know, I started thinking about around probably a coincided with the turning 13 meltdown. And, and so I’m sort of giving that some thought about, like, if I were to go back to school, what would I study? And it’s hard to come up with.

Unknown Speaker
Do you mind if we just, if I asked about about why that’s

Phil Rickaby
coming up for you? Is there something that’s making, you can’t keep doing this?

Sandi Becker
I feel like, I wouldn’t want to do this job and raise a family. I know lots of people do. I know, there’s lots and lots of people who do, and they do it successfully. And that’s wonderful for them, I really feel like I would have a very hard time with never being home to tuck the kids into bed. Like just I, it would be very, very challenging. Not that I have any immediate prospects of having a family but like, it’s something that I think and and I’ve also, I get tired. And I have been saying for the past, maybe five, six years that I have five more years of this job than me. And I say it every year. So I may still have 20 years of this job and me, but one day, it’s gonna be true. Do you still love it? I do. I love it some years and some shows more than others. And I’m when I don’t love it. Now, I really don’t love it. Like, there were times when I when I we used to, I used to get frustrated. And I used to go, Oh, God, I hate my job. I hate my job, my job. But I didn’t mean it. I love my job. But sometimes now when I say my job, I mean it. And it really depends on the contract. It really depends on the show and the people I’m working with and all of that stuff. But there’s a lot of times where every once in a while I go like I’m getting paid nothing to put up with your garbage.

Phil Rickaby
Works at day job. I think that that I’ve worked a day job for several years, many years of my life. I actually think that’s part of the job, the work cycle, maybe that at a certain point, you find yourself wondering if it’s thing that you want to do. And you go through sometimes long periods of time, sometimes short periods of times of legitimately hating what you do. Yeah. And trying to find a way to keep doing it and figuring out if you should leave or not. Yeah, I do think that’s part of the work cycle. But I do think that you don’t like sometimes when you think we hate your job. It’s not the job that you hate. There’s some aspect

Sandi Becker
Yeah, and that’s the thing is that like, in the last year, I’ve come back around to loving my job again, like I was getting, like, last year, I was getting really, really serious and like having conversations with my dad about how would I finance going back to school and all of that stuff having like release getting really, really seriously thinking about it. And then I did like a, like a string of three or four very meaningful, very, very enjoyable contracts, and went Oh, no, I do love. I do like doing this. So it’s sort of Yeah, it was a Yeah. One of

Phil Rickaby
the interesting things that have been happening lately is I’ve been talking to people of varying generations in the theatre, whether they are my age in their 40s, or whether they’re just coming out of theatre school to where they’ve been in for like 10 years or something like that. And there’s a big difference in terms of the way that people look for work. When I was in theatre school, we were taught that your career is going to be audition, get the job, finished the job, audition, get the job finished the job was to get it done. And that was going to be your whole career. And at that, or maybe you’d end up in Stratford for what have a long term the economy contract, you’d be doing that sort of thing, but your life is gonna be this. And it knows that anybody talking about self production?

Sandi Becker
Okay. Wow, Yorker is all about selling well.

Phil Rickaby
And a lot of theatres, theatre company financials and had to sort of talking about it because it becomes a big part of of a career. And there are people who’ve made that transit transition into that, from my quote, unquote, generation of theatre, school people, but then it’s become more and more and so now I know, York has this divided work, like all about works, things like that. The difference I think, and what I think might be so as an as a performer and a creator, I can come in to like, be like, I’m going to create a show when I do it. A stage manager tends to go from contract to contract, the contract is not involved in that part of the production. Yeah. Do you think that that may be part of a new call bullshit, I mean, anytime. Part of the ebb and flow of your love of the job is because the job requires you are reliant on somebody else to make the work.

Sandi Becker
That’s Yes, I’ve never thought about that way but you’re probably not wrong. Yeah, because because that’s the thing is because I don’t get sometimes it’s a really it’s a blessing to not have any creative input into the show. Sometimes it’s painful to not have any creative input into the show. And yeah, and actually was a year and a half ago, I didn’t work out did a workshop, I never do workshops, I never get hired to do workshops. And I was working with Cahoots Theatre, and they were doing a show that had two deaf actors in it. We just produced it this past spring. So it’s called older sound. And, and we were workshopping the script. And it was one of the first times that I like, just didn’t wasn’t afraid to open my mouth. I always feel awkward when I make when I make a suggestion about something because that’s not my place, I should shut up. And I gravitate towards directors who are more permissive about from their stage manager I have I don’t work well with directors who, who think that the stage is because I’m vocal. So those directors don’t want to work with me anyway. But this was the first time that like, I asked, I asked a question that was so insightful that they gave me a sticker. It was the greatest I was like, this is I wanted so much to be involved in script development to the point where I was like, should I have been a dramaturg? Like, that’s where I sort of had that I had a little crisis of Oh, my God, I should have been a dramaturg. Not that I would have gotten any more work than I do now. But probably less, probably significantly less. But because I really enjoyed that process, the script development process and being involved in that in those discussions. I love table work. Most stage managers hate table work, but I love it. Like I love sitting and talking about character. And I think because I came at it from the acting side. Yeah, you know, there’s I feel like there are two kinds of there’s sort of two camps of stage management. There’s, there’s actors, stage managers, and there’s like administrators, and I have I my paperwork sucks, but I have all the soft skills.

Phil Rickaby
As somebody who’s worked with, with various kinds of state managers to kind of the actual likes is the actor statement.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, of course.

Phil Rickaby
Like understanding the actor, but also probably a little better at con bullshit on the actor than the sir. And

Sandi Becker
usually like, this is my other my other sort of bias slant towards this is when I went to interview apprentices, everyone’s while I get to choose my own apprentice, and that’s great. And I only have one question in the interview. And the question is, what’s the most important quality for a stage manager to have? And there is a right answer, and it is a sense of humour. So if they say, organisation, I’m like, Oh, my love swearing.

Unknown Speaker
I don’t even notice.

Phil Rickaby
The CRTC is to say nothing. Talk pitch shit. You want to say? I usually try to give the hint early on by sports.

Sandi Becker
I don’t even I don’t even blink when other people’s were just like, Oh,

Phil Rickaby
interesting. Because it workshop has a tendency to be a little bit more freeform than in rehearsal. I guess a rehearsal requires a little more a little bit more on the administrative side. From the stage man. Workshop. Yeah. But it also requires that everybody in the in the workshop room is encouraging everyone who’s in the room, not just actor and director. Yeah. And it really, and it can of worship can go either way. Yeah. Sometimes what I think, and I think an actor, stage manager is the right kind of stage manager for this kind of thing, because they will see fake news. But the director who’s looking at it, the actor who’s looking at it don’t because they’re actually the audience for the, for the show. Yeah, so and so very helpful to have that sort of thing in the room.

Sandi Becker
Yeah. And I just, I really like stories. And I’ve read, I’m a voracious reader and reading my whole life. So I just sort of a well constructed story. It’s very obvious to me, yeah, and plot holes. And all of that stuff is very, it’s also very obvious to me. So it’s really easy to notice that stuff and be like, wait a second, that didn’t make sense. Yeah. I always,

Phil Rickaby
always do grab a turkey on the side. I could, because people need that too.

Sandi Becker
I suppose. I don’t know how to get into that. And I feel like there’s some training that I’m missing or something.

Phil Rickaby
The thing is that I think that a lot of times, we talk a lot about training, and we act as you need the training to do the thing. Now, as an actor. I am thankful for every moment that I had when I was in theatre school, even though at the time I was not now I can. Now I would go back and do it again. But I’d be cheating because I know what I want to get everything. Yeah. But I think that there are certain things that you can only learn by doing. Yeah, because I think you can take writing classes out the wazoo when you learn a damn thing from the classes. So you start actually doing and I think that producing is similar producing theatres similar and dramaturg. And maybe the same thing because you have insight. Working like doing dramaturgy for a fringe show is not necessarily like it’s a good spot to get your feet wet. Fair enough, you know? Just, we’re just talking or we’re just talking. So, this what is the new Eldridge stuff show a

Sandi Becker
show is called the harrowing of brimstone, MacCready, the heroine

Phil Rickaby
of brimstone McCready, is there anything you could say about that show? Um,

Sandi Becker
what can I say about that show? It’s your typical boy goes to the conduct become a prospector boy meets girl boy sells his soul to the devil. Yeah, it’s an old fashioned. Yeah. And it’s it’s puppet. It’s puppets. And magic. And horror. Yeah. Because we haven’t started rehearsals yet. I don’t have too much inside scoop for yours. But I mean,

Phil Rickaby
it’s opening in October. October 27.

Sandi Becker
Yes.

Phil Rickaby
Just in time for Halloween. Exactly. Exactly. When you believe yes, when you want.

Sandi Becker
It’s like we planned it. Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
It’s amazing. Can we find you online? Anywhere? Is there a do? You have Twitter? Do you have any or

Sandi Becker
elders me? Oh, God, the older stuff. I’m going to post that I have a very, very minimal internet presence. I do have a Twitter handle. And I don’t even remember what it is. Not long since I’ve used it. So I don’t know that you can find. My name is Sandy Becker. And if you Google me, I am on the first page of Google somewhere in the firt. In the first Yeah, I think I might be I think I might now be the first thing that comes up. And no, no,

Phil Rickaby
I don’t have my I mean, that’s unusual for a state manager to have. Yeah. Wow. Of course. But yeah, so maybe we can get if you can get the I will be happy to post your Twitter handle. If you’re willing. I can hear that.

Sandi Becker
I can send it to you, but I literally haven’t tweeted in two years. So I don’t know that it will be interesting to anyone. Maybe

Phil Rickaby
we can look back as an archive of the tweets that you have made. Fascinating.

Sandi Becker
A lot of fun. Thank you so much. Thank you

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