Lessons from the Nutcracker – Big picture plus details makes magic

One of the facinating things about working backstage at the Nutcracker are the number of details that everyone needs to know. The moment I got back there I was shown a list of all of the things Stage Right had to handle. Then, I was walked through all of the things in detail and shown how to do them. It’s not enough to just manage getting the clock off stage, there is a way to do it correctly and I needed to learn it. What was amazing was how all of these things worked in concert with one another to create a big picture that was extravagant.

I was also really impressed with the director. As the first dress rehersal started it was immediately obvious that she knew every detail and every step for every single dance. But, while she knew the very tiny details of each performance she always had her eye on a screen showing her a view of the whole stage as well, watching the big picture.

I’m a big picture guy, often to the detriment of details. Being a part of the Nutcracker reminded me of how important it is to balance both well. The details are what create the big picture. With perfect details, the big picture can be perfect as well. But, if you focus only on the details the big picture will likely suffer. It’s a dance between the two that works, and when that dance is well executed the end result is magic.

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