Author Topic: PEOPLE: Actors who direct....  (Read 6290 times)

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casper

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PEOPLE: Actors who direct....
« on: Mar 01, 2005, 11:53 am »
I am in production for Forever Plaid.  I am about to pull my hair out bc instead of one choreographer, we have 5!  Instead of one music director, we have 5!  Instead of one director, we have 5!  The guys who are in this show do nothing but give notes to each other all night.  It drives everyone crazy.  How can I tactfully put an end to this.  We are a couple of weeks away from tech, but we will be miserable if this keeps up.

thanks!
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 10:18 pm by PSMKay »

jspeaker

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Actors who direct....
« Reply #1 on: Mar 01, 2005, 07:31 pm »
My first questions is are these guys all "Plaids" meaning they have done the show numerous times??  I have done Plaid several times (and want to do it many more!!) and it is a very special beast.  Most professional productions all do the original blocking and choreography and Plaids jump right from one production into another with a day or two of rehearsal before tech.  

My last Plaid was just such an experience.  My Frankie was the director and it was just understood that the four of them would help each other out with all of the specifics of the Plaidorgraphy that makes the show so special.
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Kat

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Actors who direct....
« Reply #2 on: Mar 07, 2005, 12:54 pm »
This may be true, but the cast should understand (if this is a professional show) that they are not to give notes to each other. Even if this isn't professional, it is undermining the director and wastes rehearsal time...too many cooks in the kitchen etc..I would speak to the director about addressing the deputy or, if there is no deputy, have him speak to the cast if it is causing disruption to the process. Thats my two cents =-) ~Kat
"I've done so much, with so little for so long; now I can do anything with nothing."

SM_Art

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I agree...
« Reply #3 on: Mar 09, 2005, 01:48 pm »
Having worked with a few of the original four, and a few other 'regular' plaids as well, I agree that it is a special beast.  However, input from actors one to another is different from giving each other direction, and there may come a point where you have to gently remind them that too much input wastes time, and there is one director to whom they should listen.  That usually is enough said to a professional.

It reminds me of a story my wife tells of a production in her early Equity days as a dancer.  She noticed there was one dancer among many who wasn't bitching and grousing about every other move the choreographer gave them, and during break she asked him about it.  'Don't you agree we look rather silly out there?' she asked... and he replied 'I'm hired to dance.  There's nothing in my contract that says I have to LIKE what I'm asked to do.'  Needless to say, this gentleman worked all the time....

Art

centaura

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Actors who direct....
« Reply #4 on: Mar 14, 2005, 09:36 am »
Quote
and he replied 'I'm hired to dance. There's nothing in my contract that says I have to LIKE what I'm asked to do.'


Is this person available to do an attitude workshop with my current cast?  I've got two who are such major primma donas that they think they run the world just because they're onstage the most.  This means that anything that anyone else does onstage is free for them to edit.  I've tried to talk to them about it, but they got all mad because 'they were just talking to each other, as fellow actors discussing the show'.  These 'discussions' have involed the divas screaming at the top of their lungs the things they think others should change in their performances.  This is their first professional [paid non-equity] job, they dropped out of college to take it.  And I can't get them to understand that their behavior is innappropriate!

-Centaura
(frustrated on tour)

lejenna

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Actors who direct....
« Reply #5 on: Mar 16, 2005, 07:47 pm »
Quote

I've got two who are such major primma donas that they think they run the world just because they're onstage the most... And I can't get them to understand that their behavior is innappropriate!


Bash them over the head with your multi-tool.  ;)  Just kidding.  I usually mitigate diva-ism by baby-ing the actors, or if this doesn't work then by becoming a uber-dictator and cutting them off before they can make any comments.  Sure they're upset, but the rest of the cast is happy.  And really, is there ever a way to make a diva truly happy?  

P.S.  I think your situation might be a new discussion thread.  :)

centaura

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my situation
« Reply #6 on: Mar 20, 2005, 11:01 am »
Quote

P.S. I think your situation might be a new discussion thread


My situation is ridiculous, even the home office has said that.  And while I have the 'comfort' of knowing that the theatre will never hire these people again, I still have to put up with them.  If you'd be interested in my ventings over my current cast, its all in my journal.

As for baby-ing, I've come from a tradition of 'the sm is there to make the actor's lives easier'.  And I have truly believed it, but I've also been finding recently that casts are taking the things I do for them for granted, and then trying to step all over me for doing them.  Does that make sense?  

For example:  I'll give them directions to someplace they need in a town.  They will get lost or worse case, not find it.  Upon returning to the hotel, they will yell at me for giving them bad directions, though when I quiz them I find out that they just didn't follow my directions.

I want to help them by telling them where things are in a given town, but I'm tired of the disrepect I get.  If I was giving them bad directions, then it would be another matter, but I'm not.  This is just an example.

I've been wondering recently, have I been making their lives TOO easy, that they loose the ability to take care of themselves?

-Centaura

ERK

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Actors who direct....
« Reply #7 on: Mar 21, 2005, 11:18 am »
We are stage managers, not parents.  We shouldn't have to be concerned over whether or not these grown actors are becoming too reliant on us.  If they seem unappreciative of your directions, quit giving them and hand out maps and yellow pages instead.  

I also believe in helping actors as much as possible, but if they're going to blame you instead of thank you, it's not because they're can't take care of themselves.  It's because they'd rather make you look bad than admit they were wrong themselves.  I wouldn't worry about their ability to take care of themselves; they're just abusing your kindness.

mkristinect

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Re: PEOPLE: Actors who direct....
« Reply #8 on: Jun 01, 2015, 03:30 am »
I am resurrecting this decade-old thread (!!!) because I am encountering this as a major issue for the first time.  We are in the fairly early rehearsal stages of my current project and the director wants the format to be a bit fluid, allowing the actors to explore before solidifying blocking.  Sometimes (in my experience) this works, but this cast seems to crave structure and the director is loathed to make any concrete decisions.  So in the absence of leadership, the cast is taking it upon themselves.  There are some big personalities, and a few divas, but I really believe they would bow to the director's decisions if he would make any.  I suppose the root of my question is as follows:  do I allow this director to do his director thing in his own style even if it means chaos in the rehearsal room?  I can't force him to direct but if I tell the actors to cool it nothing will get done at all.  It seems to be partially an issue vision (or lack thereof) and partially an issue of personality--he's just a nice guy who doesn't want to step on toes.  I am also that way...but my rehearsal room is a figurative mess!  How far can I go before I cross the line of authority?

MatthewShiner

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Re: PEOPLE: Actors who direct....
« Reply #9 on: Jun 01, 2015, 02:36 pm »
It sort of depends on your style of stage management.  I feel VERY strongly that a good SM can adapt to any style of direction, and if this is the style the direction has chosen to let the show form  . . . then so be it.  I have worked with directors who crave structure and some who despise it . . . and both have worked for them.  Who I am to tell them how to direct their show.  They are ultimately responsible for it.

Now, if decisions are being made that affect other departments, then you need to have some sort of meeting saying, we need decisions about these items by these dates for this reasons . . . we need to do a run of the show on these dates, for these reasons . . . and then push a director in the right direction so the production can go on.  If you feel like you are not going a have a complete show done in time to tech (or as complete as a show can be - show change a lot during tech) . . . then you should express you concerns to them directly.

If the director is allowing actors to make decisions, that is not necessarily a bad "choice".  I worked with a very good director that spent most of rehearsal just playing around, talking to the cast, telling stories . . . but in reality, he was getting to know the cast, their views on the piece, their sense of humor - work was getting down, but in a very odd and passive way, and then, like clockwork, he jumped in and was able to direct the piece with precision because he knew how to communicate with the cast, and the cast had ownership of the piece in a way . . . that came from they playing with the piece . . . and exploring in unconventional ways.

Lack of vision is hard, but with hard deadlines, the director will have to make decisions, and the vision will come together.  Directors LOATHE making decisions, because once they say they want A, it rules out all the other letters of the alphabet.  Once they choose Blue, it can't be anything else in the spectrum.  Choices in some way seems very counter creative.  But in some ways, it does open freedom in other areas.   Some directors hate make decisions, so they make it part of their creative solution.  Don't want to make up your mind about blocking prior to rehearsal, then go with an abstract set, that allows different configurations that can be made up in the rehearsal room - you be creative right up to open night.

Being a nice guy is not always the best way to direct, but it's his way.

Now, doesn't help you . . . but it maybe one of those things you have to grin, beat and adapt. 
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mkristinect

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Re: PEOPLE: Actors who direct....
« Reply #10 on: Jun 01, 2015, 02:51 pm »
I'm inclined to agree.  Adapting to a new director's style is always a priority for me the first week or two of rehearsal.  It's only that the actors are beginning to express frustration.  It's already a bit of a volitile cast and I don't want to seem too passive if it's my responsibility to take the situation in hand.  If it isn't my responsibility, awesome!  I'll be there for them to vent if they need to but otherwise let things play out.

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