Author Topic: How does one deal with being a stage manager and a friend?  (Read 6292 times)

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razzy

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Tonight we were going over the first part of the Mikado and figuring out the character cases and our director said some things that seemed a little rude (he probably had no clue in what he had said), but it offended one of the cast members(my best friend).  

Later on I instant message her about the night and all, and she was really offended.  However, I don't think I handled the situation correctly...well as a friend anyways.  I told her that if she was to quit she would prove the director right in his decision for casting...she got mad at me and now afterwards I'm starting to feel that I should have dealt with her as a friend and be on her side instead of trying to defend the director.

My question is how/where do you determine/draw the line between a stage manager and a friend?  If anyone else has stories like this and how you handled the situation, please feel free to tell it...I just need a little reassurance for what I did...

Thanks,
Razzy.

hbelden

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friends and rehearsal
« Reply #1 on: Dec 21, 2005, 01:04 am »
I've never encountered anything like this situation (unless either your director or friend has emotional disorders, which is something I do have experience in).  Usually, when I need to come down on a friend for making noise in rehearsal, or not learning their lines, I take a "What are you doing to me?" approach, while laughing and trying to get them to share the joke.  It's a way of softening a note so they don't get defensive in response.

I'm unclear about your story - was your friend offended by both you and the director?  In any case, DON'T TAKE SIDES.  NEVER TAKE A SIDE.  You're on the side of the show.  Are personal issues going to affect the performance?  That's the only question you need to evaluate as the stage manager.
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Heath Belden

"I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right." - Sondheim
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BalletPSM

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How does one deal with being a stage manager and a friend?
« Reply #2 on: Dec 21, 2005, 01:52 am »
Eesh...yes, somewhat awkward and difficult.

I agree with hbelden; you have to deal with these things as a stage manager first.  Last year I worked on a show where pretty much all of the cast and I and the director were friends (small ensemble show of only 6 actors); but one actor and the director in particular were particularly good friends -- one day in rehearsal she gave him some constructive criticism on a beat, and on break he took my outside and said that he felt really attacked by her comment and that it was out of line and unfair of her, and could I please talk to her about it?  I said no -- she's the director, she's directing you, and if you don't agree with what she's saying, then bring it up in rehearsal and discuss it actively and constructively.  I reassured him that nothing she said was directed as a personal attack and also reassured him that if a director ever did make a personal attack on an actor, then I would talk with them about it.  He was mad at me for the rest of the rehearsal day, but the next day when he had calmed down, called to tell me that he was thankful I took the "bitchy SM stand" rather than the "friendly oh-its-okay-side."  

What was the extent of the "rudeness"?  Was it personal comments, or was it just crude remarks in general that the cast member took offense at?  I agree with hbelden; you can't take sides -- you have be the neutral presence and do whatever is possible to diffuse the situation.

I don't think you were wrong in telling her honestly what it would mean and how people would perceive things if she quit, and of course she is hurting because you dealt with her as the stage manager of the show rather than as an objective friend -- but the thing is, in this case, you're not an objective friend; and anything pertaining to the show you have to deal with as the stage manager -- even if its at midnight or the wee hours of the morning.
Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

Mac Calder

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How does one deal with being a stage manager and a friend?
« Reply #3 on: Dec 21, 2005, 08:52 am »
Tip #1: Real life and stage life should be kept separate.
Tip #2: Substitute another cast member into the equation - what would you do if it was them?
Tip #3: Pretend you are not SM. What would you say to your friend then?


After all that, maybe confront the director, and mention the inapropriatness of his/her actions.

giabow

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How does one deal with being a stage manager and a friend?
« Reply #4 on: Dec 21, 2005, 10:59 am »
I'm friends with a lot of the people in the cast of the show I'm currently doing.  I've worked with many of them before.  So far, we've been able to keep theatre life and real life seperate.  They all know that anything I say to them as a SM has nothing to do with our friendship.

Although, right now I'm dealing with something that could easily ruin a friendship I have with one of the actors.  We have had three incidents with him so far (all due to his drinking, one involving physical assault of a board member.)  He was fired last night (with three shows left of the run.)  I'm trying to stay out of it as a friend, and also deal with it as a stage manager.  Its hard.

isha

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How does one deal with being a stage manager and a friend?
« Reply #5 on: Dec 21, 2005, 07:36 pm »
I agree, It's avery fine line between friend and SM. I'm a highschool stage manager, so all my cast members are my peers. It's always hard to have my best friend in the cast, especially when she's fooling off and I have to "discipline" her. I'm lucky tho, because she's been in theatre long enough that she understands. I just hate making enemies. I have to do it, but I don't like it. There's always going to be someone who hates us, aye  :wink:
~isha

ORTaurean

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How does one deal with being a stage manager and a friend?
« Reply #6 on: Dec 22, 2005, 02:53 pm »
I would expect any of my friends to respect my position as the SM and not pull me to one side.  We all have a job to do.  And I aggree with the earlier comment that being the SM first when appropriate is important.  If the issue is show related, be the SM.  If the issue is personal, then it shouldn't be an issue during rehearsal in the 1st place.  That's just immaturity.
Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly.
-Rosiland Russell

Aerial

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How does one deal with being a stage manager and a friend?
« Reply #7 on: Dec 23, 2005, 07:03 pm »
This is always a tough situation.  I've had a situation recently with a friend who drinks too much who has been in several of the last shows I've done(I work for a graduate school, so I have the same actors over and over again).  The situation has forced me to create a set of criteria in which I have to bring up the issue, because I realize that there's a difference between being concerned as his friend and being concerned as his stage manager.  My two criteria are 1. the alcohol never makes an appearance in rehearsal, and 2. his behavior is never problematic.  I've never had to call him on his behavior.  He's been professional enough to not bring it into rehearsal, so I can just be concerned for him later, as a friend, and not have to be an arm of the administration.

samthestagemanager

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friends and actors
« Reply #8 on: Apr 04, 2006, 01:54 am »
i have some similar problems to this. i am doing my undergrad right now and most of my friends in the dept. are actors. i have had some sticky situations with them but luckily they all realize that during rehearsal i have to remain professional and i can't play favorites.

KC_SM_0807

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Re: How does one deal with being a stage manager and a frien
« Reply #9 on: Apr 07, 2006, 09:32 pm »
It's hard because you always encounter these situations where you have great friends working with you on a production.  I am also an undergrad, so many of my productions are with peers too.  I've found that if you are serious about the job, you have to be a stage manager and a friend all at once, but find that delicate balance.  It's sooo hard sometimes!! I've found too though that some of my friends, and even enemies lol, respect me more as a friend because I am what they consider a "good" stage manager. I'm able to be firm with everyone, while also maintaining good healthy relationships too.  You have to get your duties done, and also try to be a friend, cheerleader, and everything else.  It's a had job but someone has to do it right!
"Perhaps, therefore, Stage Managers not only need to be calm and meticulous professionals who know their craft, but masochists who feel pride in rising above impossible odds."

centaura

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How does one deal with being a stage manager and a friend?
« Reply #10 on: Apr 08, 2006, 10:51 am »
I find that it all depends on the maturity level of the folks that I'm working with.  I recently finished a tour where most of the cast were incredibly immature, and they couldn't reconcile the fact that I could be stern with them at the venue, and yet be able to go out to eat with them for lunch or dinner.  I had a very hard time with them.  One day - the boy who was causing problems at venues had to go to the post office, and I needed to go to the post office and I needed to put gas in the van.  My motivations were mainly work-related  (I needed stamps & priority mail envelopes, and the van needed gas).  Though that boy had also caused problems by taking the van and being gone for much longer than he stated he was going to be gone for.    I went with him to reassure the girls that his errand wouldn't take hours - because he had me along to usher him back without detours.

I was accused later of playing favorites and liking him more than the girls because I went with him.  There was nothing that I could do or say that ever convinced the girls that I wasn't 'against them' or taking sides.  I was as friendly with them as with everyone else in the cast, but they couldn't seperate show time from off time, or believe that there was another viewpoint other than "his" and "hers".  (I didn't agree with either side of their arguements)

-Centaura

ESM_John

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Re: How does one deal with being a stage manager and a friend?
« Reply #11 on: Jun 18, 2006, 10:31 pm »
Its definetly an awkward position to be in. Especially in high school theatre, theres a lot of personality there. You have to draw a line between "ya, im your friend" and "ya, im in charge". I alwways feel wierd if i become friends with an actor or crew kid becuase, especially the younger ones, if you connect with them too much, i dont want to lose that respect. Generally the common goal is having the show run right, but its still a struggle.

My advice: seperate yourself to a point. Just because you are in charge doesnt mean you have to hide from everyone to avoid becoming friends. Usually maturity will dicatate whether they see friend as slack off or friend as someone you still need to listen to.

In most cases the nature of the job: Stage Manager, commands respect even if you never talk to someone, they know how important you are to the show.

Good Luck!

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