Author Topic: COSTUMES: Wardrobe Malfunction - Hold the show?  (Read 4219 times)

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planetmike

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COSTUMES: Wardrobe Malfunction - Hold the show?
« on: Mar 15, 2010, 02:04 pm »
Hi all,

I am ASMing a show and had a situation this weekend that I was told I handled incorrectly.

An actor split his pants open, a giant rip through the entire seam along his backside. I found out about it just before the places call at the end of intermission. His character is in a dress (impersonating a female) for the act's first 15 minutes, then is offstage for 2-3 minutes, then is on stage the rest of the show as a male. I held the show while we were trying to find pants for him to wear. We ended up stealing the pants of the other ASM. The hold ended up being about 8 minutes.

Afterwards the SM told me I should have started the scene, and found replacement pants during the 15 minutes the actor was on stage. The actor had 2-3 minutes to put the "new" pants on in the middle of the act. So everyone would have been fine. My fear was finding appropriate pants that would fit, as if they didn't fit, we'd be stuck in the middle of the act. So I felt it was safer to hold to be sure we'd be able to find pants.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Mike
« Last Edit: Mar 15, 2010, 02:07 pm by planetmike »

Tempest

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Re: COSTUMES: Wardrobe Malfunction - Hold the show?
« Reply #1 on: Mar 15, 2010, 02:22 pm »
An 8 minute hold for a major cotume malfunction doesn't seem extreme, to me.  I probably would have held as long as ten, if necessary, and then decided that "The show must go on, slap some gaff tape on his rear."  (This of course would have had to take into account any union contracts with time constraints)  I've been forced to hold longer for stupider reasons.
Also, do you have a dedicated wardrobe person?  That would change my perception of the problem.  If he could have left his pants off stage, an experienced stitcher could have fixed them up, at least well enough to get through the rest of the performance, in the time he was in the dress.
My question is why the SM held the show if the SM thought you handled it incorrectly.  Aren't they in charge of starting the act?  Were you in communication with the booth?  The idea that they wanted the second act to start and to look for the pants during the first scene should have been passed along right away.
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SMrose

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Re: COSTUMES: Wardrobe Malfunction - Hold the show?
« Reply #2 on: Mar 15, 2010, 02:43 pm »

My question is why the SM held the show if the SM thought you handled it incorrectly.  Aren't they in charge of starting the act?  Were you in communication with the booth?  The idea that they wanted the second act to start and to look for the pants during the first scene should have been passed along right away.

I second this question: where was your SM in all this?  S/he should have made the ultimate decision--pants or no pants.

planetmike

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Re: COSTUMES: Wardrobe Malfunction - Hold the show?
« Reply #3 on: Mar 15, 2010, 03:58 pm »
This was a community theater production, so no union issues to worry about. The costumer had already left for the day, she left after the show started and everyone was in good shape. I was in contact with the SM via walkie talkie. He is in the booth at the back of the house, dressing rooms are backstage up a flight of stairs. I had the rest of the cast holding backstage, near places, waiting for me, the other ASM and the actor. The walkie talkies we're using aren't the best, understanding clearly what is being said when everything is working is chancy, so at that time, it was really difficult to hear him. But yes, you're right of course, I would have deferred to him ordering "start the act, fix it when he's off stage in 15."

Rebbe

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Re: COSTUMES: Wardrobe Malfunction - Hold the show?
« Reply #4 on: Mar 15, 2010, 08:43 pm »
I think you made a reasonable decision.  It would have been more constructive for the SM to discuss exactly what they would like you to do in the event of future problems, rather than just disagree with your choice after the fact.  I'm interested in what this SM's plan would have been if you had started the act on time, then not found alternate pants or been able to repair the originals within the 15 minutes, and then had less than 3 minutes to work something new out with the actor!  It seems like you were wise to hold act 2, and avoid that scenario.

Is it possible for you and the SM to have cell phones with you (but silent) during the run so you could communicate that way, even if by text, in the event of an emergency?   Or maybe there is a way for the second ASM to go to the booth, or the SM to come backstage, if the SM really wants to be more involved. 
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KMC

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Re: COSTUMES: Wardrobe Malfunction - Hold the show?
« Reply #5 on: Mar 15, 2010, 08:49 pm »
Had I been the SM I would have had the male take off his pants, had them repaired during the 15 while onstage as a female, then gone with a quickchange in the 2-3 minutes offstage.  (Even if the costumer was gone an ASM or SM should know basic sewing in my opinion, for situations just like this)

I don't agree, however, with the SM's decision to hold and then criticize you for the hold.  As tempest_gypsy pointed out it's the SM's choice to hold or not, and the fallout for that shouldn't come on your shoulders.
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gelo141

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Re: COSTUMES: Wardrobe Malfunction - Hold the show?
« Reply #6 on: Mar 16, 2010, 11:33 am »
I love the idea of the SM and/or the ASM knowing some basic sewing . . . for repair purposes; and having a sewing machine warmed up and ready to go back in the dressing rooms.  Aaah - to dream  . . .   But seriously as some one who handles such things on a regular basis, a seam repair should take a matter of minutes - 5 at the most for an novice.  The bigger problem is to find a machine and someone who is willing to complete the remair.  I've lost more pants, belts, shirts and other articles of clothing due to wardrobe malfunctions than I can count . . . and actors never return anything.  I now have a supply of spares just incase.  It's community theater, so does the costumer do anything else with the production . . . like lights, front of the house, props?  Is there a way for them to stay through the entire production just incase they are needed?  As far as the SM, they are where the buck stops and the blame too - you did what was reasonable in the situation and for someone to tell you otherwise is unproffessional and uncalled for.
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Trak26

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Re: COSTUMES: Wardrobe Malfunction - Hold the show?
« Reply #7 on: Mar 18, 2010, 01:38 am »
Gaffa - one big strip up the inside would have sufficed if I was time poor to fix. I also have have iron-on patches that I find to be real useful if I have longer time to fix.
As for the SM telling you handled it incorrectly agree with all the other posts.
 
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geoffsm

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Re: COSTUMES: Wardrobe Malfunction - Hold the show?
« Reply #8 on: Mar 26, 2010, 03:35 am »
He is in the booth at the back of the house

Does he/she have legs?  If the act hadn't started and there was a problem major enough to cause a hold, they should have been there helping you out. Like others I'm having trouble understanding why the SM held if they didn't think the problem warranted it.  And like I said, if they were that concerned about it, they should have investigated the problem themselves-But that's my 2 cents.

In any case, I think you made the right decision.  I would have held (like Tempest_Gypsy) probably for as long as Ten before coming up with a "jerry-rig) solution.  In the grand scheme of theater problems, an 8 minutes hold isn't really a huge deal.  Much worse things have happened in much bigger houses.  I also agree that the SM chastising you afterward was ineffective. If their intent was to educate you for future experiences, they should have communicated why they thought you acted incorrectly rather than just telling you what they would have done.

Stage Rose

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Re: COSTUMES: Wardrobe Malfunction - Hold the show?
« Reply #9 on: Aug 16, 2010, 06:47 pm »
Though this is quite an old post....I have a very different opinion. I have found that safety pins are quite handy....slap some safety pins on the guys butt, and tell him to be careful, *then* go find the pants. I would not hold the show for 10 minutes...
But...my opinion is mine own. :) Do what you are told is the best word of advice.  If you aren't told, follow your gut.  It proves true most of the time. :)
Every Rose has its thorns...
Evidently, stage managing can destroy your shoes...

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