All The World’s A Rage

| Working | June 27, 2013

(I am a stage manager in a live theatre. Actors come and go depending on the show, but the tech/stage crew is tied to the theatre. It is a tech rehearsal and a stage hand has nearly missed being hit in the head by a several hundred pound set piece coming in from the ceiling because there was a fly malfunction.)

Me: “So you only went to the strike?”

Fly Operator: “Yeah. I don’t know if it’s struck wrong, or there’s a counter-balance off or what.”

Me: “Okay, well, don’t use that fly until we can clear the stage and counter-balance it at the intermission.”

(As I speak with the fly operator, an actor taps me on the shoulder.)

Actor: “You need to be quiet backstage.”

Me: “We are dealing with a tech issue at the moment. Please go back to your area.”

Actor: “You are making it very difficult for us to do our craft. We can’t act while you are talking about your boyfriend.”

Me: “As I said, this is a tech issue, and you really need to learn to not talk back to stage management.”

Actor: “This is our rehearsal. I know that you are just a druggie from the street that needed a job, but we take theatre seriously and you need to be quiet!”

Me: “Ma’am, I have been working in theatre as a tech since the age of twelve. I have narrowly avoided one of my techs being seriously injured and am now trying to prevent it from happening again. With all due respect, this is the tech rehearsal, meaning that it is, in fact, not your rehearsal, but OUR rehearsal. If you are a professional actress, then you should know that, as the stage manager, if you talk back to me again, I have the power to have you fired from this production and your understudy will become one lucky actress. Understood?”

(The actress walks away. She didn’t bring her craft again, but I always tell directors this story when they have casting calls.)

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