The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Stage manager for ‘One Acts’ takes final bow at SBCC

Matt Johnson
City College theater student, Marion Pugliesi, 21, visits the Garvin Theatre on Wednesday, April 30. The Corsica native is studying to become a stage manager and will continue her studies at California Institute of the Arts in the fall.

Six thousand miles stand between Marion Pugliesi and her home of Corsica, France.

The theater student and aspiring stage manager has worked on several major productions at City College, including “Noises Off.” She will also lead the upcoming student “One Acts,” the last production of the year. In fall, she will head to California Institute of the Arts to continue studying stage managing.

She landed in Santa Barbara out of luck because of a company called GoCollege, a study abroad program.

“I always loved everything related to theater and acting and movies and arts in general,” Pugliesi said.

Story continues below advertisement

Her affinity for theater was natural—her favorite type of show being musicals.

She has seen “Wicked” 25 times and went to the show every day for almost two weeks in London, her favorite city to visit.

“I was 18 when I started watching the show. I would go there and I met all my friends who love the show through Twitter,” Pugliesi said. “We would go at 6 a.m. and even earlier and start waiting in the cue line to get front row tickets half price every night of the week.

“Eventually—I was so tired at the end, and I was like ‘ok that’s it I’m not seeing the show eight times a week, not again.’”

Noticing the changes and mistakes are what makes seeing the show so often special to Pugliesi.

But, until a performing arts school called “Top Chant” opened, Pugliesi struggled with life in Corsica.

“Growing up on island…its not like a big country, it’s a very small island,” Pugliesi said. “I never found my way up until I was maybe 16.”

In high school, Pugliesi did not feel popular and had trouble connecting with her classmates. Here in California, she has found the right people.

“I’m here. To me it has been the best moment of my life—they’re still there and I don’t know what they’re going to with their life…I like that I have this moment when I just stop and say ‘I’m in the United States—I’m doing this.’”

Now 21 years old, she has found her career path too. She began as a film major at City College, but after taking an acting class, she discovered her love for theater.

“I liked doing film, but never the film world,” Pugliesi said. “I took an acting class here and discovered more and more about the backstage side.”

When she found out about a position being the assistant stage manager for “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” in Fall 2012, she decided to go for it despite knowing nothing about the job.

“I was like, ‘why not, I’ll give it a shot’ and I fell in love with what I was doing,” Pugliesi said. “It was a revelation to me and I said, ‘I think I’m going to switch my major to this.’”

Pugliesi’s family was very supportive of her move to Santa Barbara. Unlike many of the people in Corsica, she and her family are fond of travel and experiencing the world.

Now, only one summer is left between Pugliesi and her move to Valencia to attend Cal Arts.

Working with Michael R. Gros, co-chair of the theater arts department, has helped her get to where she wants to go in the future.

“He’s an amazing teacher—he teaches with all his heart and passion,” Pugliesi said.

As for Gros, he could not speak more highly of Pugliesi. He has enjoyed seeing Pugliesi since her first acting class, and helped her find her way to Cal Arts.

“Marion came to us from Corsica with some interest in theater, her process of discovery brought her to stage managing,” Gros said. “I really first got to know her when she was the assistant stage manager for ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream.’

“She is a leader within the student production team on campus… She is just a go-getter.”

Her love for stage-managing doesn’t mean she loves acting or singing any less—but she realizes the practicality of a career as a stage manager.

“As much as I love acting it doesn’t really pay. It is really hard to make a career out of it,” she said. “I know with stage managing it is something that I absolutely love doing and I will be very happy doing it for the rest of my life.

“It doesn’t mean I’m saying no to acting. It doesn’t mean I’m saying no to singing.”

More to Discover