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Actors

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by nate, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. nate

    nate Member

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    Does it seem to you that some actors always have a stick up their butt and are taking it out on you? Some actors understand that we put in a lot of time and a lot of hard work. Then there are others that don't care and are too busy complaining about him or her or this or that. Is that possibly why some actors are such smucks, they don't see all the work?

    Thanks,
    -Nate
     
  2. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    It's a whole inward me thing. Think about the focus needed to not only be you, but to become someone else. Anybody that gets to be their normal self and still gets to have fun with the show is fair game for a bit of scorn and contempt. At least in part of the case. Plus you are a wanna be in that you want to do theater, but are not brave enough to risk bearing your soul - or that of the character they portray on stage given you were so talented - much less the public screw up should you make a mistake. You can be replaced by anyone that can push a wagon, we are on stage doing the art thing. Plus there is that whole memorization thing that takes a lot of work and talent, upstaging others/stage presence, and blocking thing in hitting your assigned mark that's a whole nother world in the minds of the "talent" as opposed to those that just have to stay out of the light and remember their next cue. A monkey can pull a rope, get off my case that I'm in the way, this ain't Mayberry and you are not some deputy sheriff with a single bullet in your pocket.

    This all besides, perhaps they are not at the moment concerned about your hardship in hiding backstage, they are trying to find their zen like character and find some way of getting in that role with time ticking down. You with all your rules, between venting some with friends to let that pressure of portraying someone else out of the system, and you stagehands just being in the way of their performance tend to need to find your place or at least shut up and focus on your ropes to pull or props to move.

    In all, what goes on backstage is not normally noticed unless a big inprovement such as that stage "finally" loaded in. "Them lazy a$$ carpenters, bout time they brought the set in." "Them stage hands are just here to bask off our glory and tinker with stuff as if a auto mechanic, it's our rear's on the line, I'm so tired of them lazy people taking their sweet time to just install a platform, than being bossy about me just sitting on it when it's not even on stage - as if I'm going to break it or something." What's demanded by the people back stage is stupid, get a life, what's it matter where I stand anyway, as if anyone can see me or hear me, I know what I'm doing, and really want to watch this part of the show. Yea, me touching this prop is going to break it, gimmie a break. Five minutes from now I'm going to handle it for real and on stage, with my rear on the line here not you, you are just a authority hound.


    Lots of other actor thoughts that can be going on while they see you sitting backstage and playing walkie talkie with their rears on the line. Lots of other things they might be thinking in making them assume you are the jerk. Plus there is that whole psychological thing about being an actor both with who seeks out to portray others on stage and the necessity of superiority complexes much less communing with people by way of script, but often not being able to also put them selves into the shoes of people in reality. Self absorbed often, there is reasons, and many exceptions. Often once they tech a show, really learn what it is you do, beyond swinging a hammer or painting a drop which is so easy they can do it and socialize, they will catch on. Others are courtous at least, more still just get it without the necessity. For the most part, those with less experience both with their role in theater much less other people's find it hardest to understand what other people are doing backstage, much less their own difficulties. After that, and even if they do kind of get it - such as the roadie song, there is still the professionalism and talent thing going on.

    At one point I was asked to help strike a Berry Manalo show. It was running late so I sat on the fender of the generator in waiting. Out came Berry on the way to his currier car to the hotel and our eyes met. The back stage area was supposted to be a secure area. After such a show and giving your all to the show, the last thing many people want is fans, much less eye contact in making you as a performer justify if only by the eyes why you have to just get the heck out of there and not wanting to be friendly. Songs that did not go well, running long, or performance of a lifetime. Does not matter, the off stage, cool down and sanity for some is well away from the stage, or at least in the dressing room. Met Berry's eyes, the look on the face was one of what are you doing here, and more or less, please don't bother me now that you have forced eye contact - something stagehands do get fired for. I was caught off gurad since I had been waiting so long and he very much did run off stage. His look requested an answer, to which I smiled a good show, but no I don't want to bother you thing, and I have reason to be here. Off he ran to the car. For this performer, I kind of doubt he gave much of a thought to the people that would be there three hours after he hit the hot tub. On tour, perhaps given he sees the same people every day and the stage goes from empty to scenery in the same day. Perhaps perhaps, in any case while some performers might have a certain amount of scorn, others just have to focus upon themselfs and others like them and in their specific similar situation in keeping their own sanity. Best you can do is to stay out of the way when they are not in the way. Otherwise, you have to keep your cool, do your job, keep out of the way and not worry about the whole respect thing.

    Anyway, hope it helps the above. At times it might seem they take it out on you but really it's an inner panic, you are just available and one they actually can take it out on - respect or not.

    Every actor needs to build and run a show from the backstage, every tech person needs to at least take acting class once. It's humbling to become a doggie in front of the others in the class much less school. Some people are jerks, some are self absorbed and some kind of elite status trip, others just need to get the hell out of there but don't mean any offense by it. We all have our rituals, unique ways of dealing with stress and levels of understanding the plight of others. At very least, common courtesy is necessary by both people.
     
  3. nate

    nate Member

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    Thanks ship. I love how you say in an essay what most people say in two or three sentences.

    -nate
     
  4. megf

    megf Member

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    I agree -

    To add:

    Much of what technicians do is invisible to actors. I recently had a fellow student ask me what an SM does, because as she said "They never look like they're working." I pointed out that it wouldn't be very exciting to sit and watch someone compile lists and breakdowns and reports and blocking notation, but it would be really obvious if all of that didn't get done. Likewise with carps, electricians, etc.; the folks in the cast generally are not around for the work that is done. Who wants to sit and watch a hang and focus session on their day off?

    By the same token, much of what an actor does is invisible to non-actors. The psychological work of "building" a character can't be quantified or observed.

    If you have a chance, try to do a little bit of everything - even if you realize that you never ever want to be onstage in the light again, do it, because then you will be able to sympathize with the work the other ppl there are doing.

    Megf
     

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