Stage Managers Make a Difference in 'Deathtrap'

Stage Managers Make a Difference in ‘Deathtrap’

Ira Levin’s classic murder mystery Deathtrap returns to the Theatre UCF Main Stage Aug. 23-26. The play, which opened on the stage earlier this summer, will run for just one week at the beginning of UCF’s fall semester.

The theatre department reprises one production from the summer season to open the academic year because otherwise, the school would not be able to present a play until late September. Auditions are held the week before classes begin and students need time to rehearse and build costumes and sets.

Reprising a production has challenges. The production should look exactly the same in August as it did in June, and stage manager Emily Hankins, a second-year transfer student in the BFA Stage Management program, is charged with that responsibility.

“As the stage manager, I find the remount challenging because we have been away from the show for some time. I have the responsibility of ensuring that the show carries on as the director intended.”

“Deathtrap has many onstage difficulties such as stage combat and special effects. This show is also tense and tough on the actors but the cast is wonderful in preparing and keeping the energy at a high level.”

A good stage management team is crucial to the success of a production. Coordinator of the Stage Management program Molly McCarter says, “The artistic and technical sides of a production speak different languages. The stage manager bridges the gap and acts as the translator between the departments.”

“With a show like Deathtrap that is complex and has weapons, this becomes a safety issue and that ability to translate becomes more vital.”

Director Be Boyd says “The Deathtrap rehearsal and performance process has been supported by a very strong and unified team. We have been extremely fortunate to have them. Each one brought a unique set of skills to the show.”

“The team was led by Emily Hankins, who’s a top-notch leader—she makes great decisions under pressure, keeps everyone in line and does it all with grace and dignity. [Assistant stage manager] Jessy Reaves’ previous experience with the show proved to be a wonderful resource for the team. [Assistant stage manager] Christa Arzon’s attentiveness to the props and weapons helped to create a smooth transition for the actors from the rehearsal space to the stage.”

The 1978 play by the author of Rosemary’s Baby holds the record for the longest running thriller on Broadway. It received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play when it premiered and has been adapted into a film.

“Levin was masterful at creating parallel stories that overlap in unique and clever ways,” said Boyd. “If you love a good plot twist, appreciate a great wordsmith, are fond of suspense, or have a keen sense of humor, you’ll enjoy Deathtrap.

Theatre UCF is on the UCF campus near the intersection of University Boulevard and Alafaya Trail in east Orlando. Performances begin at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

To purchase tickets or for ticket information call the box office at 407-823-1500. Standard tickets are $20 ($17 for seniors; $10 for students) and group rates are available. It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance, available through the Theatre UCF box office. UCF offers accommodations to make the theatre more accessible to patrons with disabilities; for assistance, call the box office in advance.

Production at a glance:

Deathtrap

By Ira Levin

Directed by Be Boyd

August 23, 24, 25 at 8:00 pm

August 26 at 2:00 pm

Main Stage Theatre

Price: Standard $20, Senior $17, Student $10; Group discounts available

Address: 4000 Central Florida Boulevard, Orlando FL 32816

Box Office Phone: (407) 823-1500

Box Office Hours: Monday through Friday:  noon to 5 p.m. and 2 hours before performances                                                   

For more information about Theatre UCF, visit http://theatre.ucf.edu.