We have all kinds of relationships in our lives...but a theatre director's relationship with a longtime stage manager?
For those who don't know what a stage manager does, it is the person who takes all the blocking notes, keeps the director on schedule, is the primary contact for the the designers (sound, costumes, lights, props) and, when the show opens, has the primary responsibility for making sure that it runs right and on time--and those are just the common duties. The director hands the show over on the day it opens.
It's a terrifying thing, or would be if I haven't been fortunate enough to have a small handful of stage managers who I also consider good friends and confidantes.
My friend Erika first stage managed for me when I directed my first professional show, Deathtrap, in 2007. I would trust her with just about anything, and never had a second's hesitation about handing a show over to her on opening. I've lost track of how many shows we've done together, but Sandy, the head of our local semiprofessional theatre company, calls us "the Dynamic Duo."
Eeks, it sounds like I'm eulogizing her, doesn't it? It's not that. Erika is heading off to a four-year program at a Russian Orthodox seminary to become a counselor. She moves to Kodiak Island later this week.
It's a perfect fit of a profession for her, and I wish her all the best.
David and I had Erika and Sandy over to dinner this past Sunday to say our goodbyes, or at least our "farewell for nows." It was a lovely dinner, but of course bittersweet since we will really miss Erika.
For a first course, we served the Barefoot Contessa's salad with phyllo-wrapped goat cheese. It's a stunning salad, even if my phyllo purses were not quite as pretty as the ones in the cookbook. Make sure you serve the salad when the purses are fresh out of the oven.
Summer Salad with Phyllo Purses
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten
8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
6 oz. log goat cheese
Baby salad greens (I used a spring mix, about 2 oz. greens per person)
2 1/2 tsp. champagne vinegar
1 tsp. coarse Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for serving
1/2 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To prepare the phyllo purses, unroll the dough and set aside only what you need to use. Cover the dough with a very lightly damp dishtowel--I ruined a couple of sheets of dough by using a towel that was too damp.
|Trust me, they look so much better when browned.|
Repeat with the remaining phyllo--you will likely have some leftover goat cheese.
Spritz a small baking sheet or cake pan with nonstick spray and place the phyllo purses on it. Bake for about twenty minutes, or until the purses are lightly browned.
In the interim, prepare the salad dressing by whisking the vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Then whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream until the dressing emulsifies.
Serves four, but could be easily doubled.