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Northbridge native forges career in stage.

Byline: Jules Becker

Lauria Kincaid loved the arts as early as age 3, when she started dancing. Yet, by her own admission in a recent interview, it wasn't until college that the 25-year-old Northbridge native pinpointed the focus for that love. While earning an associate's degree in theater at Bard College at Simon's Rock, she said, she "discovered what stage management really is and knew what I wanted to do."

There and while earning a bachelor's degree at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a major in theater, she gained valuable early management experience.

Kincaid, assistant stage manager at Stoneham Theatre for two years and now the company's production stage manager, detailed her challenges and responsibilities in this position in general and at Stoneham Theatre in particular. Already during Stoneham Theatre's 12th season, she has managed the season opener, "Steel Magnolias," and the current production, "Buddy Cop 2," running through Sunday.

While studying at Bard, Kincaid managed a lot of "side projects" - a dance contest and a clown show, among them. She quickly found that she was adept at coordinating such arts performances and overseeing all of the facets of a stage production. Her college stage management ranged from the documentary-like "The Laramie Project" to the Tennessee Williams drama "Suddenly Last Summer" and the very demanding Bertolt Brecht play "Caucasian Chalk Circle."

Over the years, she acquired a stage management skill she called "one of my tricks - to talk to the director about how the show is going to start." That skill has served her well in anticipating and sizing up the special features and nature of a production, whether the stark layout of "The Laramie Project" in a barn, the spider web-like netting employed in the set design of "Suddenly Last Summer," or a turntable and prop tables for "Caucasian Chalk Circle." With "Suddenly Last Summer," there was the added challenge of working with a director who also played the pivotal role of strange matriarch Mrs. Venable.

"One of the hardest things," Kincaid noted, was communicating with her in the most effective way as a director and as an actress. By contrast, with "Caucasian Chalk Circle," "It was all actor-driven. There were 24 actors playing 72 characters." The key there was to make sure that individual members of the large cast entered and exited smoothly and that their respective costuming and blocking requirements were met as smoothly as possible.

Stoneham Theatre's version of "A Christmas Carol" presented Kinkaid with similarly daunting demands. "There were very few props," she explained. "The costume changes were crazy with nine people in the cast. Every costume piece changed into another costume piece." An added feature involved puppetry - with a shadow puppet evoking the Ghost of Christmas Future. Her assistant stage management has included such recent Stoneham Theatre standouts as "The Turn of the Screw" and "My Fair Lady."

Season 12's first two productions have called on Kincaid to adopt very different approaches as stage manager. "Steel Magnolias" was anchored in a Southern beauty salon with relatively minimal demands on set and props. The fine ensemble cast, which included premier Hub veterans Kathy St. George, Kerry Dowling and Sarah DeLima, needed more attention here to costume changes for their return visits to the salon.

With "Buddy Cop 2," the challenges are particularly striking but met equally well. Asked about doing her own directing someday like artistic director Weylin Symes, Kincaid offered, "I don't know. I'm very happy stage directing right now. But I wouldn't rule it out."



CUTLINE: Lauria Kincaid prepared for "Steel Magnolias" at Stoneham Theatre.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 10, 2011
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