Author Topic: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?  (Read 4385 times)

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bex

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PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« on: Dec 15, 2010, 03:35 pm »
http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/14/actress-thora-birch-fired-from-dracula/

Did anyone else see this article? 

I have never worked at a level where any of my castmembers have managers or agents, and I am curious to hear from anyone who has- while, obviously, Mr. Birch's behavior is atypical (peering through a window on the set during tech rehearsal? really?), has anyone ever heard of an actor's manager being at every rehearsal? Or even at any rehearsals?  If an actor said to you, "I want my manager to be in rehearsal with me," would you allow it?  I would be concerned about the rest of the castmembers' response to that, as well as the director's, to have an outside party sitting in on all of the rehearsals.  Would you make an exception to your standard "Guests Backstage" policy for an actor's manager? 

The fact that he is her parent (and also her bodyguard? the article kind of skims over that bit) as well really just ups the weird factor for me.  If an adult actor asked you if their parent could be in rehearsals, what would your response be?
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

dallas10086

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #1 on: Dec 15, 2010, 03:58 pm »
My knee jerk response to this is "no no no, oh hell no." I don't see enough reason as to why any manager would need to be present that many times (any time more than once - maybe a preview)...in fact, if the manager is the parent, there's huge potential for opening a big can of worms down the road, which obviously happened. Especially when the manager begins to have conversations with the director on how they don't agree with the choices being made. It's a 'stage parent' disguised as a 'manager' and 'stage parents' don't know where to draw the line. Real 'managers' do. Cut the umbilical cord, it isn't professional.

MatthewShiner

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #2 on: Dec 15, 2010, 07:22 pm »
This was pretty late in the process, perhaps a tech run.

If agents or managers did have a request to see their client's work - and if they are high enough profile - they manager/agent may want to see what work is being done - although that does not seem to be the issue here.  It seems more to be about a over bearing father/agent being overly protective. 

I have had agents/managers request to be on rehearsal and performances reports, see the show either in tech or early previews (sometimes a rehearsal room run), and give written notes to the director.  At the end of the day, they are trying to protect their client, and if their client is high profile enough, they may get more chances to give their input.  This is rare, but it happens - and mostly happens with film/television actors who are dipping their toes in theater.  I have to say, although not ideal, I rarely get a choice in the matter.

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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.

nmno

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #3 on: Dec 15, 2010, 07:54 pm »
Okay, like we often say when we read these things: "There's got to be more to it than this."

If this really was the first incident, it seems the next appropriate step would have been to dismiss MR. Birch from the rehearsals.  According to the article: "Ms. Birchís contract had called for her to have a bodyguard, and Mr. Birch said that he was serving that role because 'Thora had had some stalking issues in the past.'" So they could have said "okay, fine, but you have to sit outside the door, or it has to be someone else" and they'd still be within the contract.  So the fact that they so abruptly fired her... There is something else going on.

(As the Stage Manager, if they've got it in the contract there's not really a lot we, or even the director, can do - we can't kick him out.  But we can/SHOULD report to General Mgmt/Producers, ie. the people to negotiated the contract, about the disruption to the process he is causing).

I've had actors with parents as managers or agents and never had this problem. (on my show with children, the parents are not allowed past the stage door for any reason.) I've also had actors with stalkers and while we made some accommodations, never had a bodyguard IN THE REHEARSAL.

I guess my bigger concern is the fact that this "woman" is TWENTY-EIGHT years old and she can't handle herself or her daddy.  Sounds like Dad has some major control issues and Thora has some major passivity or dependence issues. 

bex

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #4 on: Dec 15, 2010, 11:43 pm »
This is rare, but it happens - and mostly happens with film/television actors who are dipping their toes in theater. 

I think that is also part of the heart of the matter- she's a film actor, making her "New York stage debut." Theatre rehearsals are so different from a film set- there aren't a lot of people just hanging out in the rehearsal room watching the process like on a film shoot.
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

jNehlich

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #5 on: Dec 16, 2010, 12:02 am »
Agreed with above comments.

Send it to the GM, who'll review contracts if there's an issue. If the director doesn't want them in, let the GM send the "yay" or "nay"...or the producer (depending on how hands on they are).  As the SM, I wouldn't jump in the middle of the hornets nest, but get a solid answer from the 'powers that be' [GM and/or Producer(s)], and enforce it as calmly and non-threatening as possible. You've gotta get the show up the best you can....especially if it seems doomed from the start (which seems to be the case with this production, according to the word on the street and rehearsal room).

Sounds like some silent politics going on...as happens, unfortunately.

Never a dull moment.
-JN

MatthewShiner

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #6 on: Dec 16, 2010, 12:22 am »
Quote
Theatre rehearsals are so different from a film set- there aren't a lot of people just hanging out in the rehearsal room watching the process like on a film shoot.
 

Although, you would be surprised in commercial theatre how many people "hang out" in rehearsal - producers, second assistant designers, composer's boyfriend, lead's husband ,lead's physical therapist, director's mistress, the playwright's agent, the playwright's agent's niece who wants to get into theater . . . trust me, when there is a lot of money being tossed around, a lot of people feel they have a right to be closer to the action - and although the director can probably say no or yes to visitors, eventually, in my experience, they will feel worn down, and start letting people in.  Hell, you even get to have press in the rehearsal room at times . . . that's always fun.

And again, I would throw it out there - that all of these press releases are probably coordinated by a highly paid press department (or at least a very savvy press agent).  I have to say, that often what is in the press release often does not have any bearing on reality.  I have been apart of a meeting where a press release was being formed where the words "What story do you think is most believable?", and the press release was written by committee by a group of people who had no or little idea of what the truth was actually surrounding the event.  (And when some of us found out the truth, none of us believed it.)  All I fought for was to make sure that my staff or my technical theatre staff was not thrown under the bus.  (Most of us know that often, if a show is not ready artistically - often the press release will say "there are tech issues".)

Press is about spinning.  I wouldn't be surprise if the actually events that transpired were more extreme then the press release version, and everything that went out to the press was approved by all parties concerned. 
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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.

jNehlich

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #7 on: Dec 16, 2010, 12:36 am »
So VERY TRUE!!
-JN

nmno

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #8 on: Dec 16, 2010, 04:07 am »


Although, you would be surprised in commercial theatre how many people "hang out" in rehearsal - producers, second assistant designers, composer's boyfriend, lead's husband ,lead's physical therapist, director's mistress, the playwright's agent, the playwright's agent's niece who wants to get into theater . . .

Not to get into an argument, but I don't agree with this/want to create an inaccurate image.  I've worked on a number of commercial pieces and yes, there are random people who pop into rehearsal, but often those people have actual business to be there.  The producer, the 2nd assistant designer both have work to do and SHOULD be in the rehearsals.  And perhaps there are times that young people wanting to learn about the business are given access (as they are to observe the call) but to characterize the rehearsal room as being open to the "composer's boyfriend, the lead's husband" etc seems inaccurate and not at all within my experience of B'way shows.  At most, maybe someone stops by to drop off lunch, as they might in any 9-5 job setting, but I have yet to have anyone without a LEGITIMATE reason in the actual rehearsals.   (The front desks at most Bway rehearsal studios are very tight - if your name isn't on the list, you aren't making it past the lobby)

Sorry, I just don't want the mentality of "they do it on Broadway so I guess I should let it slide" without portraying an alternative perspective.

On_Headset

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #9 on: Dec 16, 2010, 06:09 am »
Quote
If an adult actor asked you if their parent could be in rehearsals, what would your response be?
"Ask the producer". My preference would be for no guests at all: unless you're getting a paycheque from the company, you can wait until previews with everyone else, but it's not my decision nor is it a decision I should really have a say in until and unless their presence presents a problem. In this case, if there's any truth to the NYT story, not only was he being a colossal jerk, but he was presenting a safety hazard by taking it upon himself not only to lurk around backstage, but to personally examine pieces of the set which he believed to be broken--something he has no business doing, and if something should happen to him (or the set!) in the course of this impromptu safety inspection, something the company may not be insured against. (He isn't an employee, he hasn't been trained...) That alone, in my mind, is a sound reason for forcing him out.
Quote
Ms. Birch has been replaced by her understudy, Emily Bridges, whose father is the actor Beau Bridges; Ms. Bridgesís role will be played by Katharine Luckinbill, whose parents are the actors Laurence Luckinbill and Lucie Arnaz.
Oh great googlie mooglie.  ::)
« Last Edit: Dec 16, 2010, 07:58 am by On_Headset »

EFMcMullen

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #10 on: Dec 16, 2010, 09:31 am »
Quote
Ms. Birch has been replaced by her understudy, Emily Bridges, whose father is the actor Beau Bridges; Ms. Bridgesís role will be played by Katharine Luckinbill, whose parents are the actors Laurence Luckinbill and Lucie Arnaz. 

Oh great googlie mooglie.  ::)

I couldn't have said it better...

MatthewShiner

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #11 on: Dec 16, 2010, 09:49 am »
Quote
Not to get into an argument, but I don't agree with this/want to create an inaccurate image.  I've worked on a number of commercial pieces and yes, there are random people who pop into rehearsal, but often those people have actual business to be there.

I am not saying this is the norm - nor should it be, but it is not uncommon.  Especailly when a show is doing runs at the theatre (correct me if I am wrong, but this wasn't a rehearsal hall location, this was a late in the tech process run.) 

If it hasn't happened on your shows then great.  (I have to say, like the article, most of the time these issues came in to play are with the non-theater people who are working on the (think TV/Film Actors who are "slumming" in the theatre, and mostly for runs or presentation of new work . . . ).  I don't think it should be allowed as I think the rehearsal process should be a safe and sane environment.   But, I think at this point in the process, is when these various people start showing up to see runs - publicity, press agents, group sales managers, etc, etc . . . Sometimes you can look around the house at one of these tech runs and feel like you are doing the show for a full audience.

As far as would as if I allow guests in the rehearsal - if it was up to me, nope, never.  I think the rehearsal hall should remain safe and not be open to scrutiny.  Once we are doing runs in the theatre, I am much open to having people watch at that point.
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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.

loebtmc

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #12 on: Dec 16, 2010, 08:25 pm »
(does no one else find the nepotism frustratingly amusing - in other words, don't bother auditioning if your parents aren't somebody...)

babens

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #13 on: Dec 16, 2010, 10:14 pm »
I would just like to also say that this production has been delayed for a year.  Some of the NYC based SMs may remember that they were the ones last November who failed to use the BCC field in the rejection email they sent out and thus published a list of about 75 or so email addresses to those of us who had submitted for the PSM & ASM positions.  It was kind of nice to know that I was on the "thanks but no thanks" list with several Broadway SMs as well as a good number of my friends and casual acquaintances.

On_Headset

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Re: PROFESSIONALISM: Managers in rehearsal?
« Reply #14 on: Dec 16, 2010, 11:29 pm »
(does no one else find the nepotism frustratingly amusing - in other words, don't bother auditioning if your parents aren't somebody...)
Not only that--don't bother auditioning for the understudy of the understudy of the lead unless your parents are somebody.

(Doesn't matter if they're "somebody" because they used to do porn! That counts!)

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