By Holly Glen Gearhart, Contributing Writer
Last spring, Monroe theater company Last Leaf Productions was advertising to fill a much-needed staff position of stage manager.
It turned out that the right person was already with the company in the person of Amili Hay, daughter of one of actor Jason Hay.
Amili attends Monroe High School, but colleagues say her youth hasn’t prevented her from doing a good job, as she “stepped in right away and has been a huge benefit to the productions,” according to Last Leaf director Alexandra Clark.
Last week, the Monroe Monitor sat down with the young stage manager to learn more about her career and plans.
Monitor: When did you get interested in the theater?
Hay: I recently turned 15 and I got interested in theater in middle school when I worked as a stage hand for the drama club with my friend.
Monitor: What draws you to the stage, and what do you like about it?
Hay: What draws me to the stage is the dedication and respect that everyone involved in the show has. That’s what I love and look forward to seeing in any of the shows I am involved with.
Monitor: Do you ever get nervous?
Hay: I get nervous about going on stage to deliver lines which is why I’m usually a stage hand. I also get nervous if I’m working with a lot of other stage crew because someone, including me, could do something wrong or place something in the wrong spot and that could mess up the whole show.
Monitor: Your Father, Jason, is also in the company of actors. Did his acting have any influence on you with regard to the theater?
Hay: When I first found interest in theater I didn’t want to pursue it because I heard that it is hard to become well-known and that could make it harder to get jobs but when I see my father going out and getting so many jobs and working on so many projects I get a little inspired to try to get involved with more theater.
Monitor: What did you do to audition for this job?
Hay: My father was the one that mentioned to the owners of the company that if they needed me I could help with backstage stuff. Originally I was just going to be a stage hand but then at one of the rehearsals I was asked by the owner and director to be the stage manager. I was a little overwhelmed at first but I accepted.”
Monitor: What are the duties of the job?
Hay: As the stage manager I have to make sure everyone has their costume, set some props, give backstage sounds, make sure nothing backstage is seen by the audience, help with costume changes, and call time before the shows, along with making sure the actors are there before the show and setting up the set.
Monitor: What is the most challenging thing about it, and how do you handle this?
Hay: I have worked as a stage hand before but this is the first time I have worked as a stage manager. The most challenging part of being stage manager is when we can’t find props that we need in a hurry. We then have to find a replacement that will work and if we can’t find something that works in time it usually ends up with the show being thrown off a little, but everyone helps find something that works and that helps a lot.
Monitor: What is the play you are stage manager for, when did it start and are you going to be stage manager after the run of this play?
Hay: I am currently stage managing the plays “Two Gentlemen of Verona” and “Othello, the Moor of Venice.” We started rehearsing these shows shortly before the end of the school year and have been doing them all summer. I don’t think I will be stage manager after these shows because for next year with this company I plan to addition for a role as a character to expand my experience in theater.
Monitor: What is it like to work with your Father?
Hay: My father is a part of the production. Working with him is just like working with anyone else, it’s professional and friendly. We occasionally talk about what is going on with the shows; we usually talk with some of the other actors over dinner to discuss problems with the show and how we can improve.
Monitor: What are your interests when you leave high school?
Hay: When I graduate from high school I want to go to college for either science or something culinary but I still would love to do theater if I have time.