Behind the scenes at the Wells-Metz, stage managers make the show go on

Marianne Dashwood, the younger of the two Dashwood sisters, sits at the piano in front of pages of yellowed sheet music. After being expelled from her home once her father passed, the Dashwoods relocate to the cottage of a relative; Marianne has been asked to play the piano at a small gathering. Her hands float over the keys.

But, like the baby one character will later give birth to, the cranberry juice masquerading as wine and the thunderstorm composed of lights and sounds, the piano is fake.

When the actress who plays Marianne in this production of “Sense and Sensibility” presses the keys, nothing but silence emits from the piano. But with a well-timed word, the sonata that one of Marianne’s love interests, Colonel Brandon, will compliment her upon comes from the speakers of the Wells-Metz Theatre.

That’s Alex Allen’s job.

Allen, in addition to stage managing this production of “Sense and Sensibility” for Indiana University’s professional summer theater company, is an undergraduate student one semester from completing his studies in theater at IU.

For the almost three-hour run time of the show, Allen sits two levels above the house floor at his roost while calling the show. “It’s long, intricate. It still stays fresh every time you see it,” he said. “The more you see it, the more you get it.”

While he watches the show he follows along in …
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