Author Topic: PEOPLE: Paranoid/Offensive Director  (Read 2621 times)

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kaitlinmarie

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PEOPLE: Paranoid/Offensive Director
« on: Apr 06, 2007, 11:28 pm »
Hello all. I'm new and in my first position as a PSM. I'm an undergrad in college, and started ASMing earlier this year. My issue currently is that my Director (a 2nd Year Directing MFA) is paranoid, offensive, and just down right over stepping his boundaries. He's a nice enough guy but he is constantly telling me that people in the hierarchy of our School of Theater have "lied" to me about such issues and keys, rehearsal spaces, and rehearsal blocks. I've been in acting for 14 years and have never had to deal with someone such as my current Director. We're less than 2 weeks into rehearsal and he has offend most of the cast, all of our production team, and is just downright rude to myself and my ASM.

For the first few days, I just assumed that he was still feeling myself and my ASM out, and by that I mean figuring out just how much he could trust us to accomplish. Neither of us as slipped up, forgotten anything, or lost one bit of info. In fact, we're usually about 10 steps ahead of what he's expecting of us, and my ASM and I are both more than willing to apologize and take the blame if we do make a mistake. I've tried speaking to him and the Director of our School of Theater, but have not been able to accomplish anything.

Our Technical Director is about ready to beat him to death with a 2x4 and the rest of our Production Staff is constantly on edge due to his viscious mood swings. Tonight was the final straw for me, he verbally abused me in front of the entire cast of our production because yet again I was "being lied to." The actor's came up and were apologizing to me for his behavior! The other problem is that he has called me back for the play he is directing in the fall, and I don't want to offend him prior to callbacks, but I also don't very much want to work with him EVER AGAIN!

I'm sorry this is so long...I just needed to vent my frustrations a bit. Any tips on dealing with a director like this (though I hope most of you have never had to)?
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:21 am by PSMKay »

megf

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Re: Paranoid/Offensive Director
« Reply #1 on: Apr 07, 2007, 12:06 am »
Have you been able to set up production meetings, to clear the air about notes and info from Department folks? This might be a way to cut the issue of "lying" short.

I spent two shows in college working with a grad student director who routinely identified department policy (like a hard rehearsal cutoff at 11:00pm) as lies or, no less irritatingly, suggestions instead of hard rules. Yours sounds like a bigger challenge by far, though.

I'm surprised that the Director of your school hasn't acted yet - although, higher education politics being what they are, there could be a lot of dancing around to do before the head of the directing program will take a good, hard look at your director's behavior.

I'm curious about why you're hesitant to offend.... Now you've gotten a long look at how he works; do you really want to go back into production with him, knowing what you know now? I'm not encouraging you to tick him off - of course not - but do you actually want to work with him again?

Hope this works out for the best - and keep the SMN posted -

Meg

KMC

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Re: Paranoid/Offensive Director
« Reply #2 on: Apr 07, 2007, 09:45 am »
Have you spoken with the grad student's advisor, or your advisor?  You may have some luck on that level as opposed to going right up to the director of the school of theatre.

As far as working with this guy again, I don't see a reason to sugarcoat things.  Of course you don't want to piss him off during the current production, but you could say you're not interested in working with him again.  If he asks "why?" it may even be a great chance to open a dialogue with him about some things that are frustrating you.
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

MileHighSM

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Re: Paranoid/Offensive Director
« Reply #3 on: Apr 10, 2007, 12:02 am »
I don't know if he's a first time director, but I'm guessing that some of this is coming from his own insecurities.  Either way, it's completely unfair and ridiculous for him to treat you and your ASM this way.  I understand not wanting to piss him off, but is it worth going to rehearsal feeling like you're about to be verbally slapped in the face?  Perhaps another solution is to have *your* advisor come sit in on a rehearsal.  You can say he/she is checking up on you, but see if he'll act out in front of that person.  Then you'll get at least one night of peace, and if something does happen, you've got someone there to back you up and witness his ridiculous behavior.

kaitlinmarie

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Re: Paranoid/Offensive Director
« Reply #4 on: Apr 10, 2007, 01:06 am »
Thank you all so much for your advice.

We actually share an advisor (myself and the director) and our TD and my Stage Management Teacher have now spoken to our advisor about his behavior. This is the second show he's directed at our school (second year MFA candidate) and I keep telling myself he just didn't have a good SM last year. Last Friday our advisor and my SM teacher both sat in on part of our rehearsal. It was a lovely night of peace, until they left. Then, all hell broke loose again. Tonight was better, so I'm hoping it's a sign of things to come.

megf and kmc307, the only reason I was so hesitant to offend him prior to my callback was because I am not accepted into our acting program yet (we have to audition at the end of our Freshman year). However, by getting a part in a Fall Mainstage, prior to our program auditions, nearly guarantees that you will make it into the program.

Also, our School of Theater has less than 20 faculty members and is extremely tight knit. The Director of the SOT is technically the head of our SM Department but I have quickly realized he has no idea what it entails. That was my reasoning for going to him.

I will definitely keep the SMNetwork posted, it's making it easier for me to deal with our rehearsals!
« Last Edit: Apr 10, 2007, 01:08 am by kaitlinmarie »

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