Author Topic: PEOPLE: Never happened to me before...  (Read 5260 times)

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hbelden

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PEOPLE: Never happened to me before...
« on: Sep 09, 2004, 11:19 am »
This just happened to me last week...
 
I'm working for a summer outdoor festival, that doesn't have time to do laundry inbetween its matinees and evening shows.  As a result, despite numerous encouragements, many actors don't fully get out of costume during the meal break.  Mr. Hernandez (not real name) has a costume with black leather pants and a western gun holster, over which he puts a baseball jersey for the meals.  He also has a ton of gel in his hair for the show.

I've just called half-hour over the monitors, and I'm walking backstage to check on things... through the trees I see four or five blue uniforms congregating backstage.  I start hurrying.  One of my actors is converging on the spot, saying "Heath, you see what's going on?"  I say "Yes, stay back for a minute" and turn to see four or five policemen, with their guns out, circling Mr. Hernandez.  The campus' security guard is behind the police, pointing and accusing my actor of "peering into his truck".  Mr. Hernandez is calm, quiet, and cooperating, saying "I was just taking a walk".  Meanwhile, the younger (and more hot-headed) members of my cast are coming up near the spot, wanting to find out what's going on.

I'll finish the story later...
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 10:10 pm by PSMKay »
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Heath Belden

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

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Never happened to me before...
« Reply #1 on: Sep 10, 2004, 03:37 pm »
that's just cruel, keeping us in suspense like that!!!
ChaCha

MatthewShiner

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how do you keep a stage manager in suspense
« Reply #2 on: Sep 10, 2004, 07:00 pm »
HEATH FINISH THE STORY!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

centaura

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Never happened to me before...
« Reply #3 on: Sep 10, 2004, 11:18 pm »
You do realize, that you're keeping a large number of stage managers sitting and waiting on the end of your story.  I'm sure that I'm not the only one with numerous sharp pointy things in my kit prepared to throw in your direction . . .

-Centaura


P.S.  My main cop stories are either the time that a kid was arrested in the audience during a performance, or the time I was running around in the tour truck at the Mall of America on that Halloween when there was that internet threat that a 'major mall in america' was going to be 'hit'.  Two of us actually almost got arrested that night.

hbelden

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somewhat anticlimactic
« Reply #4 on: Sep 11, 2004, 03:44 pm »
So just at that point, when I had to decide whether to talk to the cops, or control the cast, the Managing Director of the theatre runs up to the cops shouting out "I'm in charge here... what's the problem, officer?"  So I spent the next two minutes working on defusing the actor problem... "They're just doing their jobs... I'm sure our friend doesn't want us staring around like this... the cops were called, so they have to go by the book...  everything's going to be fine..."  I also made sure that my actors didn't get any closer to the cops.  It looked like things were calming down, and the last thing that I wanted to have happen would be an escalation - I thought at that point it was more likely that one of the hotheads would be arrested for interfering with police business, than that anything was going to happen with Mr. Hernandez.

So about fifteen yards away, my actor was totally cooperating and explaining the situation and the accuser was cooling off.  About five yards away, the producer was talking to their "crowd control" type officer, making sure they weren't going to arrest our actor.  I was cooling off a few twenty-something actors who were confusing our actor with Rodney King.

After about five minutes from the start of the event, the cops went away, and Mr. Hernandez walked by me, muttering, "I just wanted to get away from it for a few minutes."  A couple of people offered comfort.  I said to him, "If there's anything I can do, or get, for you, just let me know."  He went off to the dressing room and I spent another minute suggesting we give him some privacy.

His wife was the house manager - I decided, since there wasn't any problem with the show, that it wasn't my business to tell her what happened.  Everything else pretty much blew over.

It was interesting in several ways, though - the actor did look very criminal in his leather pants, Giants jersey, sunglasses, and gelled-back hair.  I'm very thankful that he didn't actually take the prop gun with him on his little walk... it might have turned out very differently if he had.

And just before this, in the matinee, an audience member had gone into a diabetic seizure and I had to stop a show for the first time in my career, when the paramedics came.  Big Day!

Anybody else would have done anything differently?
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Heath Belden

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

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best you could do
« Reply #5 on: Sep 11, 2004, 05:41 pm »
Sounds like you did the best that you could under the circumstances.  I have a great pin that says: "Strange costumes, weird behavior, I must be at work again"  I think theatre folk sometimes take for granted what costumes make actors look like.  I can understand that its better to wear a sweaty costume that's not going to be washed, then having to take it off and get back into a cold, wet sweaty costume!  But then I was also on a tour where I had to tell a local that their job was to help the pink poodle with the big hat.  They honestly thought I was talking code to them.  Sounds like you handled the situation well!  Hopefully once things cool off, the actors will have a joke and you'll have a great show story.

-Centaura

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