Author Topic: PEOPLE: Chatty People  (Read 3227 times)

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PEOPLE: Chatty People
« on: Jul 09, 2008, 11:45 pm »
I am working on an NY Fringe show, and one of the actors is also the playwright and producer.  He's done the show before and has opinions - which he is entitled to have as the producer and playwright.

The problem is he talks a lot.  Often repeating himself, and making points over and over again.  It makes meetings last longer than necessary and takes up time in rehearsal.

I think the director also gets annoyed with the inefficiency of it.

How do I curtail this habit without stepping on toes?
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 03:06 am by PSMKay »


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Re: Chatty People
« Reply #1 on: Jul 10, 2008, 10:46 am »
I had this problem with a director/producer in production meetings, once.  I've always been good with short, effiecent and productive production meetings, utill I started working with this particular director.  She worked in exactly the same way as you describe above.  In addition, she wanted instant fixes for things that needed time to be mulled over.
Finally I hit on a solution, that seemed to work without stepping on everyone's toes.  I'd let her repeat herself twice.  When she started the third time, I'd interrupt her, politely, and pretend I didn't understand what she wanted, while at the same time paraphrasing her words clearly and succintly.  Sort of, "Just a second, Sue*, I'm not sure I get what you're saying, let me try to work it out.  You're unhappy with the scenic design because of X; you want it to be a bit more like Y.  And you don't feel that the props design fits our budget, so you want them to re-vamp it on a smaller scale.  Did I get it right?"
She usually replied,  "Yes, that's exactly my problem."
Before she could launch into all the reasons, AGAIN, I'd quikcly turn to the designers in question and ask if they understood what was needed.  Again, the answer was usually yes.  I'd immediately ask if there was a solution they could suggest this very moment, or if they needed a few days to get back to the drawing boards.  Usually they needed a few days.  They knew that before, but they were under such direct pressure from the Director and her berating, that they got caught trying to defend their design, or think of something off the top of their heads.
Sue* was usually content with a coherent answer to her concerns, even if it was just, "I need a few days."  We'd set a time-line to come back to the issue in question, and bob's-yer-Uncle, we were on to the next topic.

I know your problem is partially in a rehearsal situation, but I think the structure I outlined might help, anyway!  People (myself included) usually repeat themselves over and over because they feel they're not being understood.

*names changed to protect my career!
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"


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Re: Chatty People
« Reply #2 on: Jul 17, 2008, 10:42 pm »
Thanks tempest_gypsy.  I read your response, and I've been observing the rambles to see if your approach will work in this situation.

I think part of the problem is that he's a "needy actor."  He's the type that easily freaks out, doesn't like when things are out of his hands, will jump in if he thinks someone is expressing doubt to smooth over a situation that hasn't necessarily escalated to needing smoothed over.  Part of this is the many hats he is wearing.  Part is his personality.

For example, today the cast got out of rehearsal at 7:45p.  The director, the playwright/actor and I had a meeting afterwards to discuss some things that could have been taken care of in 10 minutes.  It lasted 45 min, due to rambling and stories.  I understand his need to vent, rant, etc.  I made all the "you can trust me," "this is our plan," "we'll have it under control," comments, and looked at him, and listened.  I don't think I let my frustration show on my face.

Is it possible with this personality type to make things more efficient, or do I need to accept that he talks in circles?


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