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WAG’s Mark Seow slips you a super exclusive VIP backstage pass in providing you with insights into the ‘job’ of being an actor in theatre, and of producing & undergoing the process of theatre.

(Photographs by Alexandra Dolibic Fancher and Natalia Wakula)

1. You don’t get to see…Our unsung heroes, The Stage Managers & their accompanying ASMs and tech people. Stage managers are crucial to the staging of any theatre production, with the multitude of responsibilities and tasks to perform in each phase of a production, including: scheduling and running rehearsals, communicating the director’s wishes to designers and props people, coordinating the work of the stage crew, calling cues and coordinating actors’ entrances during performance. They take the blame for actors not being on time, or disappearing somewhere to appease their sudden iced mocha cravings. They are to be revered as GOD-LIKE beings as without them, the existence of the show will not be possible.

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2. You don’t get to see…The surreal void after production/curtain call. Unlike most forms of work where there is a sense of knowing there will be continuity in getting to the workplace, making that cup of coffee, switching on the computer to read ones’ emails and digressing with colleagues for a long time to come unless one quits, theatre is on the opposite end of the spectrum where people come together, bond, work, play in a relatively short time over months, starting and ending a theatrical production for a span of a week and then resuming their non-theatre lives once finished.

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3. You don’t get to see…We love everything and anything about costumes & making up. We are all hidden Cosplayers waiting to burst out of our shells.

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4. You don’t get to see…What goes on at the back of the stage, where there are crew, actors, frantically moving things around quickly and with coordinated precision in between scenes in total pitch darkness.

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5. You don’t get to see…What happens if something goes missing after the show.

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6. You don’t get to see…Pre-show anxiety & stage fright. Yes, you heard correctly stage fright (usually on opening night).

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7. You don’t get to see…The extreme fatigue on our faces. Ever.

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8. You don’t get to see…Ad-lib/forgetting lines & the art of covering up

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9. You don’t get to see…The discipline we need to have back stage and on stage

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10. You don’t get to see…Tech week

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by Mark Seow


The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson is showing at the Drama Centre, Black Box, from 30 June to 9 July. Tickets available through SISTIC.

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