From the Eyes of a Stage Manager – Eddie and Dave – 04.01.23

This week, we are taking the opportunity to go Behind the Scenes with the Stage Manager of Eddie and Dave (runs April 13 - 30, 2023), Chelsea White, to learn more about their experience working on this production and how it relates with their other experiences of stage managing at Mirrorbox Theatre.

What has been the experience so far working on Eddie and Dave?

Each experience at Mirrorbox Theatre has been different but Eddie and Dave has been a unique experience because it's not only a contemporary play but a contemporary play that features people with whom the audience is going to recognize and not all of the real people that these characters are based upon have passed away at this point in time so we have access to them through the media and a conception about who they are. For example, Valerie Bertinelli who will be played by local performer, Bryant Duffy, is a current personality on television so people will have seen their actual responses to real life events that may be presented within the play as dramatized scenarios. For this reason, I think it's particularly important to live in the world that the playwright, Amy Staats, has created when working on or seeing the production since this isn't meant to function as a biography of Van Halen but instead be a snapshot into the world of Rock and Roll.

What has it been like to welcome new collaborators to Mirrorbox Theatre?

This is an exceptionally talented cast and I am grateful to be working with all of them. The exciting thing about Eddie and Dave is that the characters are being played by performers of a different sex than the real life figures. For example, David Lee Roth is played by local performer, Caroline Price. This means that our cast is comprised of four out of five members being female-identifying which is exciting. All of these performers also bring a high level of experience and so they seem willing to share their ideas and push to make the production even stronger. The one challenge that I always love to observe how a new collaborator to Mirrorbox Theatre handles it is that we have short rehearsal periods for our productions or at least they are shorter than what someone has usually experienced before, particularly those who come to us most often from musicals, and that sometimes can be a obstacle. Sometimes people struggle to get to the full realization of who their character is before the show opens, for example. However, I will say that we have never opened a production that was not ready to be seen by an audience and Eddie and Dave will not be an exception to that rule.

Are there any other differences between this and other Mirrorbox Theatre productions that stand out to you?

As I said before, every Mirrorbox Theatre production has been a different experience which is what kept me coming back in the first place. I have had to pick up so many skills "on the job" that I wouldn't have gotten if it wasn't for being a frequent collaborator with Mirrorbox. The Parking Lot by Adam Szymkowicz was actually staged in a parking lot behind CSPS Hall and involved streaming over radio whereas Batman Returns Returns which was originally conceived and created by The Museum of Human Achievement, Terror Pigeon, and Megan Tabaque featured performers embodying classic characters from the DC Universe with an audience immersed in the world by being on either side of a catwalk that spanned the theatre. The latter production required me to clean up yarn, tootsie rolls, and fake money off a cement floor in the winter which meant not everything could be saved depending on how wet it was which was in contrast to DRIVE by Deborah Yarchun which was a more simplified set but that had pieces that were movable and could convert to create other spaces. As you can see the work being done at Mirrorbox is so varied that it keeps someone wanting to come back to see where it'll go next and Eddie and Dave is no exception whether you are the Stage Manager or just enjoy being in the audience.

My role as a collaborator with Mirrorbox Theatre has taken me from the parking lot behind CSPS Hall to the Jefferson High School auditorium to the Grandon Studio at Theatre Cedar Rapids to our permanent home at 1200 Ellis Blvd NW in the Time Check neighborhood. It's been a journey and one that isn't close to over as I am both the Stage Manager for Eddie and Dave and the full-time Audience Services Manager so I can't wait to see what we continue to do here at Mirrorbox Theatre but for now, we're going to be a little bit Rock and Roll.

It doesn’t matter the kind of music, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a cowboy hat or a yarmulke. I don’t care if it’s outer space or pop, the spirit is the same. — David Lee Roth