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Almost, Maine Production Team and actors at a busy rehearsalWhen working behind-the-scenes on a Sock ‘n’ Buskin production, two important backstage roles are those of stage hand and stage manager. While complementary, the roles have some marked differences.

Stage hands are the people who move and rearrange set pieces on stage in between scenes, and are often the people who ensure that the actors and actresses have all the necessary props for each scene. They are sought-after through a call for volunteers a few months into show development.

The stage managers, on the other hand, are the people who help guide the stage hands. They are included in the production process from the beginning, and help the director realize their vision for the show. There are two different kinds of stage managers: the production stage manager, who is responsible for the stage hands, and who takes care of rehearsal scheduling; and the technical stage manager, who takes care of all the lighting and sound cues during the show.

Natascha Sekerinski and Sarah Sheils are the two stage managers for Sock ‘n’ Buskin’s production of Almost, Maine. Sekerinski is the technical stage manager, while Sheils is the production stage manager.

“With stage managing, you get to be part of the productions and see the beginning of everything, which is really cool and a lot of fun,” said Sekerinski.

Both roles may also vary depending on how big of a cast the production has. With Almost, Maine, the cast is much smaller than last season’s respective casts of The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon or Twelfth Night.

“[It’s] probably easier in some ways because there’s less to manage, less people to manage and less props to assign to people,” Sheils said.

 Sekerinski has formally been a stage hand, and has experienced both roles.

“Another big difference between stage managing and stage handing is that you get to know the production team and cast really well over the course of rehearsals,” Sekerinski said.

If you’re interested in romance, love, and loss, make your way over to one of the four showings of Almost, Maine.

Almost, Maine runs from Jan. 18, 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. the Glebe St. James United Church in Ottawa.