I always get a bit of a chuckle when I read other people’s “Whats in my bag?” posts. I see these huge bags with not a lot of stuff. And I think about how much good real estate there is.
As a stage manager, I am charged with being prepared for anything that could come up in rehearsals. This includes any sort of small first-aid incident, small fix-it projects, scheduling snafus, etc. I have to carry lots of stuff in order to handle anything. Most stage managers will carry a stage manager’s kit or box. It ends up being this big bulky plastic tool box or similar that’s just really difficult to carry anywhere except rehearsal. And considering most nights, I’m coming from work via a super crowded train, I don’t have the capacity to carry such a thing.
Thank god for the huge purse trend.
After restocking my purse for my next show, I decided it was time to share what I carry. And I promise you, it’s a lot.
We’ll start with the big stuff.
- Kate Spade Planner: this has not only my schedule in it but also has notations of when actors have conflicts, when designers are coming, what we’re doing at rehearsal that day, which rehearsal location, etc. It is the schedule for everyone. It holds a separate pen and post-it flags in the front pocket. For maximum organization.
- NuGo Protein Bars: Hanger is real, folks. And those vegan bars of protein chocolatey goodness keep me from losing it on everyone. If an actor is particularly hangry, I will share with them as well. Because the only thing worse than a hangry stage manager is a hangry actor.
- Generic Aleve Bottle: That massive bottle lies. It contains so much more than Aleve. It’s my traveling medicine cabinet and can handle anything from minor pain to stomach trouble to allergies.
- Icy Hot and wrist wrap: This is 100% for me. I have major wrist issues from working with power tools. And it sometimes decided that it’s going to be a bad pain day. So I am always prepared. And sometimes actors have accidents, too.
- Lip Treatment: My small lipstick collection travels with me. I hate having chapped lips so I always have some sort of lip conditioner. And a little lip color can really turn a day around!
- Umbrella: This one’s pretty self explanatory. After living in London for any amount of time, you always have your brolly with you. Always.
- Crescent wrench: For when suddenly it’s not rehearsal, it’s a light hang. And all of your small fix-it needs.
- Sonic Screwdriver that’s actually a screwdriver: Best nerd purchase ever. It’s compact, has 6 different heads, works amazingly well, and has come in handy more times than I can count. And it’s always fun to play “Find the Whovian” when I take it out.
- Headphones: Long commutes mean necessary music.
- Teas: Yogi Mooncycle is the BEST for relieving menstrual symptoms. Always carry a couple for you and a friend. Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat is the only thing I will use for sore throats and the only thing I will give actors. That stuff works. Well.
- Glasses wipe: Necessary. Always necessary.
- Nail clippers: My goal is to stop picking and biting my nails and cuticles before the wedding so I can actually get a manicure I’m proud of. This is my first line of defense.
- Regular bandaids: Because accidents happen.
- Blister pad bandaids: Because sometimes you make poor shoe decisions.
- Yogi Brand Kava Stress Relief: This stuff has, quite literally, stopped panic attacks in their tracks. Anyone with lots of stress or anxiety should carry this on hand at all times. Also good for your director in the week before tech.
- Loaded pencil box: pens, pencils, hair ties, erasers, and a very strict “you borrow it, you return it, or you owe me a quarter” policy. Because everyone is forgetful sometimes.
- Seabands: Good for motion sickness or general nausea, I never leave home without these. They’ve helped myself as well as a multitude of actors, family, and friends. Marketed for sea sickness, they work with everything.
- Cough drops: because sometimes that blasted cough won’t go away. I try to avoid anything mentholated, though, because that can cause more damage than relief.
Wondering where things like phone, keys, and wallet are? That’s what coat pockets are for! Definitely no room in here.
Now, I never promised this bag was light or easy to carry. It can get heavy! I’m in love with the nice long cross-body strap that lets me spread out the weight a little more evenly. But I’m okay with carrying a little extra poundage if it means my actors are taken care of. Because SM doesn’t always stand for “Stage manager.” It also stands for “stage mom.”
Do you keep any unusual things in your bag? Share them in the comments!