All’s Well That Edits Well: Day in the Life of a Stage Editor

By and

You may have noticed that Palatinate has a Stage section, whether your encounter with it has been the constant littering of your Facebook newsfeed or an angry message you might have sent, demanding to know why your production has been victimized in the late release of a preview or review. So although Stage seemingly appears to be a well-oiled machine, it is only so to the great detriment of its editors’ mental and physical health. If you find yourself relishing the feeling of Schadenfreude, then reading the following daily schedule of a Stage editor is for you:

8:00 – Attempt to wake up and go to lectures. Justifying that this is asking too much of any human being firmly pledge to become an exotic dancer instead.

10:00 – Actually wake up because you’ve set yourself an arbitrary rule that you need to edit a review of last night’s production by a certain time. Always find that no one has sent you the photo for the article, so now you have to angrily message people with CAPS LOCK ON.

11:00 – Pop into a lecture. Discover what your degree is actually about and that it isn’t that bad.

12:00 – Nourish your flesh prison. Dream of being on Broadway.

12:30 – Give up on the Broadway dream, due to lack of suitable talent and the singing skills of a whale, and compromise by watching ‘Fame’, the musical.

13:00 – Go to a tutorial. Say something vaguely insightful you learnt last year, because you haven’t touched this year’s reading list.

14:00 – Make velociraptor noises at people wanting last-minute previews or reviews organized on the same day. Almost throw your phone on the ground when someone drops out of their review for no particular reason.

15:15 – Spy yet another poster for yet another production and instead of excitement, feel yourself slowly being sucked into the vortex of never-ending work.

15:45 – Cry.

18:00 – Scoff down a hastily prepared dinner. Anything that cooks for more than five minutes is a culinary masterpiece that you are unworthy of because you have to run to some obscure location to watch yet another show.

19:30 – Discover that the production offers a complimentary glass of wine and suddenly feel that the world makes sense and your efforts are justified. Feel like you’re working for some VIP publication when the ticket office succumbs to your demands of a 50 pence programme for free.

10:30 – Go home exhausted and know that you still have to write a review. Contemplate slating the production so that your review can gain traction and publicity. Decide against it, because you still want to have friends.

12:30 – Suffer. Go to bed.


Morning comes with the cool beams of an unforgiving sun, ushering in a feeling of dread and existential angst. On its heels is an angry email, vaguely reminiscent of that letter that screams at Ron in Harry Potter. Apparently my views about the validity of adding a rap battle to Much Ado were ‘disappointing’. The director explains to me with masterful passive aggression that, as Durham’s leading Shakespeare scholar, nobody is in a better place to theorise how Beatrice and Benedick would express their banterous love. In fact, he has received letters from Gregory Doran, Mark Rylance and Pope Francis expressing displeasure with my review. It’s nice to feel important.

Preview at 12. Something else by Stoppard: Durham’s theatrical spirit animal. Suppressing a yawn, I ask how this play is different from the other three Stoppards I saw last week. “Well,” begins some actor that’s playing an actor that’s playing an actor that’s playing a sloth, “I find it’s all about the movement and the physicality. Last week, we went to Loft in character and nobody noticed, so it’s so naturalistic. Kind of meta-naturalism.” I nod slowly, pretending I understand.

Review in the evening. A student adaptation of The Ace Splatsby. To get in the mood, I down a few cocktails beforehand. Whilst listening to jazz. They’ve shifted the play to the heyday of McCarthyism, with Mick Barraway as a communist spy and Morgan Barker as a freelance assassin. The accents slowly drift South, until I’m almost expecting John Fewchanan to burst into O What a Beautiful Morning. He doesn’t. The martinis feel like ambrosia in my blood, as laptop in hand I shoot thundebolts at the cast from the summit of Mount Olympus.

A message from my co-editor at 2am. She reminds me that my article on A Day in the Life of a Stage Editor is due tomorrow. She suggests that I conclude the article with a panegyric on her editorial prowess. This is duly ignored in favour of bad jokes about DST. I ponder how to make my article more meta, and dream about performing it at the Edinburgh Fringe in the character of Lord Byron.






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