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Behind the Scenes at A.C.T.: An Interview with Subscriptions Manager Mark C. Peters

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By Annie Sears

Meet Mark Peters, a master of repurposing thrifted fabric, auditioning for the Amazing Race (he’s submitted four video auditions and attended six open calls), and maintaining a morning routine: meditation, followed by yoga, followed by breakfast and a crossword puzzle—which is surprisingly similar to his work here at A.C.T. as our subscriptions manager. We recently sat down with Peters to hear about his 32 years here at A.C.T.

How would you describe your job to someone that doesn’t know anything about it?
It’s a giant puzzle, and I love puzzles. Our subscribers get to choose their seats, and keep those same seats for each show they attend. So when we get new subscribers or have subscribers who want to change their seats—that’s my favorite part. I have to say, “Okay, this person wants to move to Saturday night, so I can get this person into this space. And what if I shift this person here?” I do my best to take care of every subscriber. The biggest puzzles were after th…

Working Like Dogs

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By Kayla Kaufman

Which member of the Geary backstage crew is known to pee onstage, distract cast members (especially children), and nibble scenery? Much-loved dog Bibingka, who despite clocking in at less than a foot tall, has the whole of The Geary Theater under her paw.

Although A.C.T. has only a few furry coworkers, they are a mighty group, bringing joy, challenge, and inspiration to our work. After being scooped up from Macy’s holiday SPCA windows during a tech break for A Christmas Carol in 2018 by former head carpenter Miguel Ongpin, Bibingka has been a staple in the 1,040 seat space. She is known to rest in her stage-left bed, where she keeps one eye on Miguel, but willingly receives pats from anyone else.


The Artistic team offices are home to two of A.C.T.’s finest, Frannie and Eleanor. Though Frannie only began using public transportation when she first met human pal Janet Foster (our director of casting) a few months ago, she’s now become quite the commuter. Every Tuesday, …

Behind the Scenes at A.C.T.: An Interview with Wig Master Lindsay Saier

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By Annie Sears

You can tell a lot about a person from the way they style their hair. That’s Lindsay Saier’s area of expertise. After growing up in Redwood City, California, she studied at the Make-up Designory in Burbank before moving to New York, earning her barber’s license, and completing a wig and make-up internship at The Juilliard School. After working at some off-Broadway theaters, she returned home to the Bay Area to join the A.C.T. family as wig master. We recently took a trip to the Wig Shop to learn more about the process of creating a character’s look.

How would you describe your job?
Essentially, we give depth to characters. It’s something people don’t really think about because when it’s done right, you don’t notice it. For instance, if the character is supposed to be evil, we can play with their hairline, their part, and the color of their hair to really tell that story. Or in Rhinoceros, we have a character that is flippy and fun and French, but the actor playing the c…

Behind the Scenes at A.C.T.: An Interview with Head Stage Manager Elisa Guthertz

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By Annie Sears

Elisa Guthertz has been stage managing at A.C.T. for 26 years, but as a third-generation San Franciscan, her connections to The Geary started long before that. Her father grew up seeing shows on that stage, and he encouraged his daughter’s love of theater as she grew up. After earning her BFA in stage management at North Carolina School for the Arts, she returned home to San Francisco in 1992 to intern at A.C.T. during Artistic Director Emerita Carey Perloff’s first season. In 2005, she took over as head stage manager. Guthertz has done shows all over the world—from Russia to Broadway, from Washington, DC, to Calgary, Canada. Most recently, she stage managed Rhinoceros at The Geary. We recently sat down with Guthertz to get a backstage glimpse into pulling off a production.


How did you first get into stage management?
When I was about 13, my brother was involved with a community theater. He said, “Hey, do you want to learn how to run light board?” It was a big, old-schoo…

10-Month Fellowship. 9 Major Takeaways.

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By Annie Sears

As the curtain falls on the 2018–19 season, our Fellows (including the author of this blog) are packing up their desks and preparing for their next adventure. Some will stay here at A.C.T., and others are starting jobs at other Bay Area nonprofits. Some are moving across the country to begin freelance careers, and others aren’t sure what’s next. We may be dispersing moving forward, but for the last ten months, we’ve been united in an unforgettable experience.

The goodbyes are hard, and I’m caught up in the nostalgia of it all. As I reflect on all I’ve learned through my Fellowship, I’ve distilled nine tidbits of advice I’d have offered pre-Fellowship Annie, nine tidbits of advice for the person who will sit in my seat next season:

1. Get to know the other fellows. You’re sure to have a lot in common—they’re theater people, after all! Having a support system of like-passioned people who truly understand the in-and-outs of your job will prove invaluable. Also, you’re th…

Rhinos 101

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By Annie Sears

As the title would suggest, Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinoceros—playing through June 23 at The Geary—features some lumbering pachyderms. The play isn’t really about rhinos, but they’re a constant onstage presence. Characters are always talking about rhinos, gawking at rhinos, or in some cases, transforming into rhinos. Our marketing department visited the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens to learn some fast facts about these mysterious creatures.

1. A group of rhinos is called a crash. Does that make the Rhinoceros cast a crash? A crashing cast? A casting crash?

2. Their horns are made of keratin—the same protein that makes up human fingernails!


3. Some rhinos have one horn. Others have two. Gene and Berenger have a disagreement about this in Rhinoceros, so let’s break it down: There are five different species of rhinos. Two of those species, the black rhino and the white rhino, are African rhinos. The other three—Javan rhinos, Sumatran rhinos, and greater one-horned rhinos—are…