Leipziger Ballett

Transparency

The stage manager Sebastian Angermaier reflects on his time with Mario Schröder.

von Anna Diepold Saturday 10.04.2021
Mario Schröder and Sebastian Angermaier. © Ida Zenna

In this season we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of our Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer Mario Schröder. In the past weeks dancers of the company have shared their memories and experiences of working with Mario Schröder. Today a long-time companion of Mario Schröder looks back on their time together and is also celebrating his ten-year anniversary in this position: the stage manager Sebastian Angermaier.

The work of a stage manager

»The stage manager coordinates all actions that are necessary for the events on stage. I am the point of intersection for everything that is going on during a performance and I keep track of the timing. For example, when artists have to be called on stage or when technicians have to receive their signs. You learn many things in this job with time and experience. I know how I can juggle different processes and I can feel when something takes too long and I have to make up for it sometime else. For example, when everyone has to come together and someone is missing. For a curtain to go up an immense number of things have to have happened before. If something is not working smoothly, I try to stay calm and sometimes I have to decide of who has to wait now…
What brings me joy in this job is that you get to know your colleagues very well. You get to know the specific way of how someone is working and you have to find a connection every time you work together, which makes every performance a bit different. That’s the beauty of theatre.«

Sebastian Angermaier © Ida Zenna
Sebastian Angermaier © Ida Zenna

A shared dressing room

»I have known Mario for a long time now. We danced together. I came to the Leipzig Ballet in 1997 and even though I was in the corps and Mario was a soloist we shared a dressing room. And of course, we had very different things to do but we had this shared space. When he came back as artistic director a few years later we talked about my next steps. I had already finished an educational program and knew that I didn’t want to keep dancing for a long time. Also, a position as stage manager happened to be free at the time and so we decided that I could start doing the stage management for Mario’s pieces. I thought this would only be temporary but it has been ten years.«

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Mario Schröder, Matthew Bindley, Valentin Vassilev and Sebastian Angermaier at a rehearsal. © Ida Zennan Angermaier bei einer Probe. © Ida Zenna
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Sebastian Angermaier and Mario Schröder. © Ida Zenna
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Notes of a stage manager. © Ida Zenna
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Sebastian Angermaier © Ida Zenna
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Shared Memories © Ida Zenna

Transparency and trust

»To create a new piece Mario and his team start with an idea. And this idea has to be adapted to the facilities of the Leipzig Opera. In this process you are confronted with boundaries. And even though the more intense part of our collaboration only starts when stage rehearsals begin, I also attend the first conceptual meetings and rehearsals. Mario has to push boundaries to be able to realize his ideas. I find it interesting and also necessary to help him doing this and maybe also overcome certain limitations. When something seems impossible you start wondering why. And then you start thinking further. I try to support him and his work as best as I can. With my knowledge as a stage manager I also notice when certain ideas won’t work. Mario trusts my experience and we then search for alternatives. This trust is a mutual thing.«

Mario Schröder and Sebastian Angermaier © Ida Zenna
Mario Schröder and Sebastian Angermaier © Ida Zenna

Pieces that grow

»After the premiere a piece finds its groove. When everything comes together it feels almost like a machine. And we are constantly correcting little things and try every time to reconstruct the best possible version. It almost feels like training. Over the course of a season little things change and become different from what Mario intended. I notice this because I have the original version written down. When a piece comes back one or two seasons later I manage the piece like it is in my books, like it was intended. Mario then starts to correct me on the things that changed over time, which he didn’t really notice because he watches the piece over and over again and the changes are so minimal. But those details that I incorporated have become a part of Mario’s perception and memory of the piece.«