Making A Show Out Of Working There

, , , , | Right | September 22, 2020

It’s a small staff and my boss and coworkers are almost all out of the office, so even though I’m relatively new to the working world, I’m the most senior employee in the back office at the moment. A young man huffs and puffs into my doorway and approaches my desk.

Customer: *Rolling his eyes* “Your box office seller is new. Ugh. He didn’t recognize me, and I need to get my employee discount for tickets for [Upcoming Performance].”

Me: “He’s not new, and I don’t recognize you, either.”

Customer: “How dare you?! I’m an usher!”

Since I work in the back office, I suppose that this guy is on the roster to work an occasional shift and I just haven’t met him yet.

Me: “Um, we don’t actually have an employee discount at the box office. You either work the show or…”

Customer: *Scoffing* “Well, then, put me on the schedule to work the show!”

Me: “The… house manager manages the usher schedule. Not the marketing department.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I can’t believe you won’t help me! Let me talk to [Former Executive Director]!”

My eyebrow shoots up.

Me: “Sir. She resigned three years ago. You say you’re a current employee?”

Customer: “Um, I guess it’s been a little while since I worked a show… Three years? Really?”

Me: “Yup.”

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Unfiltered Story #208022

, , , | Unfiltered | September 14, 2020

(I’m a customer in this story, and I overhear two other customers behind me in an outdoor theatre.)

Viewer 1: But where IS he?

Viewer 2: He’s over there, by that pillar.

Viewer 1: By the WHAT!?

Viewer 2: The pillar?

Viewer 1: *snidely* You mean CATERpillar.

Viewer 2: What? No, I don’t! Why would I tell you he’s standing by a caterpillar? A pillar is the tall thing holding up the balcony! Haven’t you ever heard of a pillar before!?

(I worry for our future when stuff like this happens.)

Unfiltered Story #207956

, , | Unfiltered | September 11, 2020

I’m a 17-year-old boy, and am doing mostly volunteer work at a theatre. A performance showcase is going up that same evening, and the normal lighting person is out sick, so the stage manager, my dad, asks me to do it. This means I have about three hours to properly and professionally light a four hour show on my own. I’m backstage asking people about costumes and what they plan on doing, when a woman, we’ll call her Diva, approaches me. Keep in mind, she’s about 35-40, and white, while I’m mixed, but darker skinned.

Diva: Hey, boy. Come here.

Me: Oh perfect! I was just about ask you about costumes.

Diva: *cutting me off* My friends and I are thirsty, go get us some beer from across the street.

Me: Uh… Sorry ma’am. I’m not an assistant, and even if I was, I’m not 21.

Diva: *ignores me and tries to hand me $20* Just go get us a six pack of whatever.

Me: I honestly can’t.

Diva: Oh stop being lazy! I could’ve told you to pay for it yourself, but I’m not.

Me: You… Do realize that it’s illegal for me to even try to buy alcohol, right?

Diva: *scoff* No it’s not! Just go get us some beer.

I’m beginning to lose my patience, but luckily the stage manager (my dad) calls me back to the lighting booth, so I leave. Once back there, he warns me to stay away from her, and even goes down to finish the job I was doing on the stage anyway. A little later, we’re in full-on rehearsal mode, and everything is going smoothly until we get to her part of the showcase.
She’s told me to change and replace almost everything we’ve done, and once she decides on one thing, she immediately changes it to something else.

Diva: Alright, so I’m going to need a spotlight on me the whole time.

Me: Okay. I can do a single spot on you, but you’d have to stay at center the whole time.

Diva: I can’t do that.

Me: I’m sorry, it’s all I can do. It’s just me up here, so I don’t have anyone to operate the actual spotlight.

Diva: Just do it. I need a spotlight on me no matter where I am.

It then hits me that I have no idea what she’s actually doing, as she never told me or my dad what her performance is.

Me: Oh um… Are you going to be dancing or anything like that?

Diva: Absolutely not, you idiot boy! What do I look like?!

Me: I was just asking…

Diva: YOUR JOB IS TO LIGHT MY SHOW AND NOT MOUTH OFF YOU STUPID NIGGER BOY!!! IF YOU DON’T FIGURE THIS OUT IN TEN SECONDS, I’LL COME UP THERE AND BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF YOU!!! *mutters* I knew you blacks weren’t educated, but this is just ridiculous!

At this point, I’m almost in tears. I have extreme anxiety, and when people yell at me, I never know what to do. I’ve never been yelled at like that before, especially not with the racial slur. My dad, the stage manager, comes out from backstage. He’s about six-foot-seven, and very black. He tells me to mute their mics, and then has some stern words with her. From where I am, I can see her go from red, to white, and back again. She then pulls her mic off and throws it on the stage before stomping off. A few minutes later, my dad comes up to the booth with a couple of cookies and hugs me.

Dad: Don’t worry. Scrap all the programmed stuff you had for her performance, she’s not in it anymore, and she’s not allowed inside the building. If anyone sees her, they’ll call the police.

Apparently, she tried to come back four more times that night, and even threatened to sue my dad and the theatre. I don’t know what she expected to achieve considering the security cameras in the theatre, and the fact that the majority of the cast for the show were some form of African-American and good family friends. I’ve never seen or heard about her again, but now me and my dad laugh about it all the time.

Unfiltered Story #207132

, , , | Unfiltered | September 4, 2020

I am auditioning for a commercial. It is just me an two other girls up for the part

Director: That was great (My name)

Me: Really? Thanks

Director: Okay so since this takes place in Ontario-

Me: Ontario? But you have RCMP officers in the commercial.

Director: (condescendingly) Sweetheart, the RCMP are Canadian police

Me: while the RCMP are the stereotypical Canadian police, Ontario has their own provincial police.

Director: Sweetheart, we’ve done our research

Me: I’m a citizen of Canada and I’m from Ontario.

Director: Why are we arguing about this? (My name) we just need you to sign these forms and then you’re good to go

Me: Uh I’m good.

Director: what?

Me: Ya I don’t want to work for someone who condescendingly calls me sweetie… when I’m right!

I walked out of that commercial audition. This happened in 2015 and last I heard, the company filed for bankruptcy. It’s okay, I got on better commercial shown all over North America, with a nicer director.

Not What We Mean By “Racism Is A White People Problem”

, , | Right | September 1, 2020

I’m a black female working at a theater at my university while a play is going on about racism. An elderly couple walks up wanting a refund. On the back of the tickets, it says that all sales are final.

Patron Husband: “I want a refund; I didn’t enjoy the show.”

Me: “Unfortunately, sir, there are no refunds.” *Flips over the ticket*

Patron Husband: “No offense, but they have racism all wrong.”

I look at one of my ushers because I am confused.

Patron Husband: “Racism happened because of the lack of fathers and incarcerations in black people. I know because it happened to Irish people like me.”

Me: “Sir, racism happened because of systemic oppression from slavery and the unfair treatment of people of color, many who, like myself, have both parents in their lives.”

Patron Wife: “We just want our money back, and since you won’t give it to us, we’ll call your boss.”

I texted my boss, telling her what happened, and she told me there were still no refunds.

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