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She pointed to the ship, ready to make its entrance. "We were thrilled to see such a true- to-life ship when it arrived." MacBeth added, "The chorus members who bravely climb the rope ladders wanted to understand more about sailing terminology, so we studied that in rehearsals. … At the end of Act I, the ship leaves the stage." In the rehearsal room, where stage positions are taped onto the floor, MacBeth marveled at her resourceful property mistresses, who found five authentic spinning wheels to use in Act II. "That's when the ladies' chorus takes the stage. 'Whir and Whirl, good wheel,' they sing." She flipped the page in her prompt book. "In Act III, the ghost ship sinks. The challenges are ongoing." HER MOST PRECIOUS ASSET Although not included in her stage manager's kit, MacBeth says her most valuable asset is her voice. Because she speaks continually to cast and crew — either in person or over her headset — her voice needs to be strong and clear, yet reassuring. Once, before calling cues for a performance of Giselle, MacBeth lost her voice. "Completely. I couldn't even whisper! There was no assis- tant stage manager available either." She enlisted a friend to take her headset and call the show by watching her hand signals. "Holding up five fingers meant 'Standby.' The lighting and sound directors listened in the control booth for their cues. Pointing my fin- ger meant 'Go.'" Her favorite compliment from actors and crew? "'Hearing your soothing voice makes me feel like I'm back in the womb,'" she replied. MacBeth has found her voice in the theatre. The graceful Dew Drop Fairy has spread her wings. Come see how she cues the ghost ship on the high seas — and the high Cs of her tal- ented ensemble. Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman opens Saturday, March 1, and runs for seven performances through March 23. For more information, visit SarasotaOpera. org or call 328-1300. % Artwork shows the design of a scene from a 1950 Munich production of The Flying Dutchman. Photo of the artwork by Uwe Juergens via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader February 21, 2014 Page 99

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