Hi Friend, welcome to the blog and show notes for Episode 41 of Sally’s Performing Arts Lab Podcast. On Episode 41, my awesome guest is Stage Manager Cynthia Hennon Marino.
Her work with the ground-breaking immersive-devised opera, The Wreck, is just one of the things we discuss.
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Stage Manager Cynthia Hennon Marino hit the ground running after getting an MFA in Stage Management from the College-Conservatory of Music. She went to New York and got hired almost immediately. She became a production assistant on the Broadway production of Equus starring Richard Griffiths and Daniel Radcliffe in 2008.
Cindy's journey started when she and her identical twin, Stacy Hennon Stone, did props for the musical Anything Goes their freshmen year of high school. The two now host a podcast called Twins Talk Theatre. The show is a series of great convos about working backstage.
Sister Stacy is a professional technical director in Long Beach, California. But neither twin planned on becoming a theatre professional. Cindy started by pursuing a degree in math. Stacy started in the business school. But theatre has powerful magnetic pull.
Each Hennon sister graduated from a different college with a theatre degree. Cindy’s sister headed to Southern California. Cindy followed when she found work with Palos Verdes Performing Arts.
Cindy and I talk about Long Beach Opera, the opera, Nixon in China, the LA opera, Hopscotch, and Portland Opera. She currently stage manages the opera, Faust, with the Oregon company. This latest venture features 3-D projections based on the work of sculptor John Frame.
The projections and projection mapping are a collaboration among designers Frame, Vita Tzykun, David Adam Moore, and Duane Schuler. It’s received a lot of attention from a previous reveal with Lyric opera in Chicago. Opera Wire called this production “a visual feast for the ages.”
But Portland’s production isn’t the most progressive thing Cindy’s done this year. In March, she and a small contingent with Opera Omaha embarked on a rare journey. The work they created is unique.
The Wreck is an immersive devised opera created in only 10 days. The Wreck borrows music and other bits from Slavik mythology and mermaid folklore. It features the writings of Anne Sexton, Alice Walker, and Adrienne Rich. It also floats on the music of Donizetti, Schubert, and Von Bingen. Ukrainian composer Mariana Sadovska adds new music creating an eclectic, otherwordly piece set in Omaha… sort of.
I know you’re going to enjoy what Cynthia has to say about stage managing and opera. There’s plenty of fresh ideas in the world of live opera performance. I can’t wait to see what she does next. Be sure and listen until the end of the interview for Concise Advice from the Interview, and Words of Wisdom from George.
Concise Advice from the Interview
7) Stage manage a show as opposed to a genre of theatre
6) Help the designers make a safe working environment for the performers
5) Focus on the show and focus on the people and everything else will fall into place
4) Go see opera!
3) Use physical cues to show you are open to a conversation
2) Experiment and have fun!
1) Think outside of the box
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