Author Topic: PEOPLE: Actor hatred on tour  (Read 5447 times)

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centaura

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PEOPLE: Actor hatred on tour
« on: Aug 31, 2004, 03:21 pm »
Howdy all,

Was looking for some advice on a situation that I know is going to come up on my next tour.  I have a group of actors who all know each other and have a lot of history with each other going out on a non-union national tour for the first time.  This in itself is a new situation for me, I've never had more than two actors know each other prior to going out on tour.  Anyway, two of the actors already hate each other - from previous shows that they've done.  Going into the dressing rooms and hearing them talk, I'm hearing things that I don't normally hear until a good 5 or 6 months into a tour.  Now, my dilema is this - I've never had to deal with this at the begining of a tour.  The Artistic Director, in his happy land, is all excited that he has all locals going out this year who all know and like each other.  My boss at the theatre has told me to 'just smile and nod' when they come to me and complain.

I know what to do when it starts to interfere with the show, which I have zero tolerance for, but I was curious if anyone had any advice on how to stop / slow it from getting to that extreme in the first place?  They've figured out that I'm not taking sides, but that hasn't stopped the one girl from hinting that if the guy can't do the show her way then 'there's the door'.

I'm just used to being at the point on tour of saying 'I know you don't like so and so, but you only have to deal with it for the short time left'.  Now I'm in the situation of 'I know you hate so and so, but you agreed to do this knowing their on tour with you'.  Anyone have any adivce on this one?  I know I'll get no support from my home office while I'm gone.

-Centaura
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 10:10 pm by PSMKay »

ChaCha

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Actor hatred on tour
« Reply #1 on: Aug 31, 2004, 03:30 pm »
I'm not sure I have any words of wisdom...only empathy for your situation. There is NOTHING worse than leaving on tour knowing that the group dynamic is broken before you've even left. I was lucky though that the tour I did in those circumstances was WAY shorter than yours evidentally will be.
Advice? Only that you need to look after yourself while you are away much more than usual. It isnt something we tend to be good at on the whole...there's always someone/something we need to spend time an energy on more than ourselves....remember YOU didnt do the casting, and whether the company is happy or not, if the show looks OK onstage you REALLY are not responsible for what is going in the casts' heads...
May the Force be with you...
ChaCha
ChaCha

phillydan

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Actor hatred on tour
« Reply #2 on: Aug 31, 2004, 05:55 pm »
Having spent the majority of the last six years touring, I know what you're going through.  True, in most situations, if it doesn't affect what's going on on stage it's not your concern.  However, when you're on tour and the only representative of management, what happens offstage is just as much your concern as what happens onstage.  

Now, having said that, there's really not always a lot that you can do.  One of the things I've found helpful is once a week to have everyone gather in my room and open up the floor to concerns.  Always try to stress that these concerns should relate to the show/tour and that the meeting is not an invitation to attack each other.  Of course, personal gripes will creep in.  But TRUST ME it is better to get them out in the open on a regular basis and in a controlled environment than to let it fester and then explode.  That is always UGLY.

Another thing that's critical.  I make it an ABSOLUTE RULE that there is NEVER to be any arguing, fighting or whatever in a venue.  EVER. This you must insist on.  In that instance it is your responsibility to speak up.  It reflects really badly on the show and on the company and when there's infighting word gets around the country fast (even for a small kids' show)--you'd be surprised!  These techies with friends in other venues talk to each other and love to gossip more than the ladies in "Steel Magnolias."

If you feel things are getting ugly between cast members, don't be afraid to intervene.  Offer to sit down and play mediator.  I know you may not think it's part of your job to play psychologist, but with green actors on tour for the first time, it can be just as important as calling the show.

SM_Art

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an old friend...
« Reply #3 on: Aug 31, 2004, 07:51 pm »
An old friend used to remind us that "there's nothing in my contract that says I have to like what I do, or who I work with... I just have to do my job."  If they can leave it at the door, then fine.  If not, it means someone is going to be fired, eventually, and you might remind them each separately that life isn't fair, and they could BOTH lose if they can't be adult about things.  (Neither is going to believe they are the problem, so if only one gets the threat of firing, they'll both believe it's going to be the other, but if they think THEY might lose their job....)

Good luck... and if you don't have that, call cousin Guido to come and make em an offer....

centaura

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Thanks for the words of wisdom/empathy
« Reply #4 on: Sep 01, 2004, 10:40 am »
Thanks for the words of wisdom and empathy.  Its going to be an interesting 9 months.  I'm just wincing at the memories of previous tours, one where I had to actually fire an actor, and another where we had to sit down with two of them and say 'you both better shape up and deal with each other, or you're both gone' which was a TREMENDOUS shock to one of them who didn't understand that egging the other into bad action was just as bad as the bad action.  I'm approaching year 8 on tour, and I'm waiting for my honorary pshycology degree to arrive.  Its amazing how adult human beings can utterly loose all rational thought just by the fact that they're not at home.

-Centaura

SM_Art

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One more thing...
« Reply #5 on: Sep 01, 2004, 11:49 am »
As long as you have forewarning of this situation, do yourself a favor and document EVERYTHING!  Be even more anal than Stage Managers usually are, even if it means keeping a separate log for these two.  It's gonna help cover your ass down the road if the situation doesn't improve....

Art

EJR

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Communication
« Reply #6 on: Sep 13, 2004, 02:48 pm »
My only words of wisdom are Communication, communication, communication!  For the last year and a half I have been working on tour and if there's one thing I've learned it's to always call the problem into the "controlled" spotlight.  The sooner you deal with these two people and their issues (as it pertains to work environment) the easier it will be in the long run.  Sometimes it helps to play the mediator and cut to the core issue of things and if they can't resolve those issues then just let them know that you are there if they need it as a sounding board, but that you won't tolerate a stressful environment for the whole company.

Anyway, I hope this helps!
Good Luck!!!

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