Author Topic: PROFESSIONALISM: My Strings are Unstrung (SM quits show abruptly)  (Read 3449 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

thehayworth

  • Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 82
  • Gender: Male
  • Uh oh.
    • View Profile
    • Propaganda Pipeline
  • Current Gig: Santaland Diaries
  • Experience: Professional
Last night I went to view a local production of the musical 1776.  I will be substituting for the light board operator this coming Saturday matinee, and I needed to watch the current op work and learn the show.

Upon my arrival, I went upstairs to the balcony and tech table ("booth").  I was the first one up there.  I found a note with the producer's name on the outside.  I opened it and out fell two keys on a ring.  I read the note.  The gist of it was, "Due to personal and professional conflicts I cannot continue to call cues and give calls."  I took this to mean the SM resigned.

It was unsigned.

I debated putting the note down and pretending I never found it.  But after a moment, I went back dowstairs and presented it to the Producer.

He tried to draft me into calling the show, which I would have done, but I suggested that my wife who had seen the show multiple times and would be able to attend more performances than I should do it.  Luckily, the current lightboard op knew the show well enough not to need calls and my wife just ran sound and spotlight.  And the ASM backstage didn't rely on cues so all was fine.
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 11:46 pm by PSMKay »
"This time for sure."

Ryan Rollinson

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: [acronym=Equity Membership Candidate (Actors' Equity Association of America)]EMC[/acronym]
Re: My Strings are Unstrung
« Reply #1 on: Sep 28, 2006, 11:01 am »
Wow... Having stepped away from a show at the worst possible moment for personal reasons, I can only imagine what that SM must have been going through. However, to leave a show without taking the time to arrange for a replacement is selfish and inconsiderate, and borders on professional negligence. It's one thing to hand over your prompt book and keys to a capable, knowledgeable, and skilled ASM who has been with the show from the first rehearsal, but another thing entirely to simply abandon your post without even having the cojones to resign face-to-face.

I assume this was a community theatre production, and that the stage manager in question wasn't actually qualified to be a stage manager...?
I'll quit coffee.  It won't be easy drinking my Bailey's straight, but I'll get used to it.  It'll still be the best part of waking up.
Megan Mullally as "Karen," Will & Grace

philimbesi

  • SM Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 117
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: My Strings are Unstrung
« Reply #2 on: Sep 28, 2006, 11:15 am »
After sitting through that 30 page scene 3 I'd of quit too  ;D   J/K

That's pretty lame though, leaving a note with no signature at least have the guts you know resign face to face.  Lucky for them they had someone like you with connections and experience that could have stepped in if needed. 

thehayworth

  • Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 82
  • Gender: Male
  • Uh oh.
    • View Profile
    • Propaganda Pipeline
  • Current Gig: Santaland Diaries
  • Experience: Professional
Re: My Strings are Unstrung
« Reply #3 on: Sep 28, 2006, 11:29 am »
It is a 'small professional theatre' operating under an AEA Special Appearance contract.  Usually 99 seat audiences, sometimes 199.  They have trouble finding good SMs in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle area.  The few good ones get snatched up early.  I like to think I belong in that category.

Apparently, he quit after the producer emailed him saying that the actors weren't getting their calls (half hour, 5 mins, etc).  His reply was "I do this because I enjoy it" ....  That's fine, but if you're getting paid for it, which he was, you need to treat it as a job and do it right.

Knowing the producer, it was probably the straw that broke that camel's back.  However, from what I hear, he was a bad SM anyway.

 ::)
"This time for sure."

Ryan Rollinson

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: [acronym=Equity Membership Candidate (Actors' Equity Association of America)]EMC[/acronym]
Re: My Strings are Unstrung
« Reply #4 on: Sep 28, 2006, 11:32 am »
Well, I think the wordless resignation kinda gave away the "bad SM" part... I don't think there's any reason a halfway-decent stage manager would have to leave without at least formally speaking to the director and production staff.
I'll quit coffee.  It won't be easy drinking my Bailey's straight, but I'll get used to it.  It'll still be the best part of waking up.
Megan Mullally as "Karen," Will & Grace

Balletdork

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 210
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA
  • Current Gig: PSM, The Human Race Theatre Company
  • Experience: Professional
Re: My Strings are Unstrung
« Reply #5 on: Sep 29, 2006, 11:05 am »
Wow! Thanks for sharing this story!

 :)This illustration of scariness will help me be happy in my wonderful job today! :)

stagemonkey

  • SM Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 104
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: My Strings are Unstrung
« Reply #6 on: Oct 02, 2006, 01:14 am »
I will have to give the resigning SM credit that he left the keys and the prompt script; however, I can't condone ever leaving a show like that.  If for whatever reason you feel you need to leave a show (and anything besides personal health or family related health reasons you better have a really strong case for it) you should at the least have the balls to tell them face to face, or even more so not right before a show. 

To quit because the producer complained you weren't giving actors their call times is just rediculous.  I can't imagine anyone who would want to hire that SM again if they heard he did that. 

And I do have to add that it doesnt seem right that you opened a note addressed to the producer and read it.  At the most you might have picked it up and taken it to the producer as he might otherwise never goto the tech table, it just doesnt seem right that you read it, but hey if i picked it up and keys fell out I would probably have looked too.

fuzzy_7

  • Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 52
  • Gender: Male
  • Hooray for Beer!!!
    • View Profile
Re: My Strings are Unstrung
« Reply #7 on: Oct 02, 2006, 02:03 pm »
When I was child actor, I was doing a performance of The Sound of Music that was running in rep for a month with The King and I, which I was also in. After the first week of performance our SM walked out without leaving the prompt book. We were lucky that the SM for The King and I was also the ASM for The Sound of Music. He brought his copy of the script (with all of the cues written in) and called the show. We were very lucky to have him as ASM/SM. We were also lucky that the ASM for TK&I was a PA for TSofM.
Derek A. Fuzzell

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
16 Replies
5344 Views
Last post Apr 27, 2010, 10:23 am
by kallulah
17 Replies
4770 Views
Last post May 23, 2013, 04:00 pm
by jrbucci
1 Replies
928 Views
Last post Feb 04, 2018, 04:03 am
by AndyS