Author Topic: PROFESSIONALISM: Problem Actor...  (Read 3885 times)

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butch

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PROFESSIONALISM: Problem Actor...
« on: Jun 10, 2007, 11:32 am »
Minor rant/stream of thought warning...

I am currently in performances of Cabaret right now, and for the most part it is going great. The set is wonderful, the lighting is brilliant, my crew is flawless, and I love my acting company. However, there is one problem child. The woman playing our Fraulein Schneider has consistently had off shows, and I could never figure out why. So far, there has not been a night where she has not flubbed lines, gone up on lyrics, or all together not been in the scene.

Last night I found out that it was in large part due to the fact that she spends most of her offstage time during the show on her computer in the dressing room. I have told the company no less than three times that ALL electronics are to be turned off at half hour, and the only thing that I allow are IPods in the rehearsal hall (where my "office" is) while they are stretching. Well, after I was approached by another actress to inform me of the computer usage, I told her to turn it off, and that I didn't want to hear about her on it again. I got the diva attitude that I expected but she did go and turn it off. Well, fast forward twenty minutes and the lights come up on Act 2 Scene 2 which is a two person scene between her and Schultz. She isn't there... She was almost a full minute late to that entrance, because she was chatting on her phone! I am beyond livid at this point as I had to go retrieve her from the dressing room. Then I was approached again after the show because after the missed entrance, she came back to the dressing room and was on her phone yet again!

Tonight she will be turning over her computer and her phone to me as she walks into the theatre, and in return I will be handing her back a copy of the libretto so she can study her part when not on stage. I'm not even sure what else I can do to impress upon her how inappropriate it is to blatantly disrespect the rules of our theatre, and her fellow performers by not taking her job seriously. The Artistic Director and I have scheduled a meeting with her today before our matinee but I'm not sure what to expect as she appears as though she has no idea that she is in the wrong...
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:33 am by PSMKay »

McShell

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Re: Problem Actor...
« Reply #1 on: Jun 10, 2007, 12:00 pm »
Well, it sure sound like you're handling it well, and bringing the artistic director in may give her a wake up call.  I hate it when people don't realize there's a long line (thousands) of people who would give up being on the phone or computer for a few hours at a time for a job in theatre.  I hope the meeting goes well.

loebtmc

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Re: Problem Actor...
« Reply #2 on: Jun 10, 2007, 03:48 pm »
I assume this is not a union show? if this company has any pretensions of professionalism you might want to post the AEA "responsibilities of an actor" sheet, highlighting the one where they are responsible for knowing their lines and cues, for maintaining the directors vision - and for being on time for entrances and exits once places has been called - it ain't your job to go find her and haul her ass on stage, you know?

ScooterSM

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Re: Problem Actor...
« Reply #3 on: Jun 10, 2007, 06:17 pm »
It may be helpful for you to find out why she is constantly on the phone or computer.  I have had actors with child care issues, trying to work out the next job, etc, and altough it doesn't excuse her onstage behavior, you may be able to help her find other ways to work around whatever the issue is so she can focus on the show...
“I've never been paid a lot, but the theatre has kept me, and for that I shall be eternally grateful.” Tony Church

loebtmc

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Re: Problem Actor...
« Reply #4 on: Jun 10, 2007, 08:15 pm »
(I actually wrote, then deleted, just letting her miss the entrance - cuz scoot is right, it rarely happens twice.....altho I did have one actor for whom, well, by week 2, part of the ASM's job was to find him abt a page before his entrance and keep an eye on him until he got onstage....)

But scootersm has a much more compassionate point of view, and I applaud that thinking. It's worth checking, at any rate.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Problem Actor...
« Reply #5 on: Jun 11, 2007, 12:24 am »
It seems like there is something else up with this actress.  I find that often when there is troubled behavior in a performer - there is something else going on.  They are not making this a priority in their life.  I wouldn't be surprised if this actress was late to rehearsals, missed costume fittings, and was a bit of a problem from day one.  Was she upset by her casting?  Is there something going on between her and other cast members?  Was their issues between her and the director?

Personally, my style would never be one where I would demand the phone or the computer - I would tend to sit down and talk to the actor and ask what it is going on, and ask how I could possibly make it easier for her to make her entrances.  (For example, on my current show give size and length of the show - I do scene pages . . . announcing the next scene coming up.)  I think that if she is distracted by her computer and then a phone, even if you take these things away, she will find something else to be dsitracted by - a book, talking to another actor, staring at the monitor - you name it - I had an actor mis an entrance once because he was distracted by an atlas (He was looking at a map of the Ukraine).

As a last resort, do you have an asisstant who could go down and make sure she is on her way up?  In the end, any sort of interaction with the cast that causes MORE friction then currently there, can often start you do a path that will just continue to cause more friction.  I know it sounds passive, but I think in the end avoid confrentation as a FIRST step can have more a positive experienece. 
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butch

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Re: Problem Actor...
« Reply #6 on: Jun 13, 2007, 10:55 pm »
Alright, sorry for the delay, currently I am doubling up, spending my days in rehearsals for Grease, and evenings in performance for Cabaret... The conversation was had, and she has not missed an entrance again. She has also given up the electronics after half hour for now. I asked if there was personal issues that she needed to attend to, and apparently there wasn't. She just seemed to think that she was above the rules of our theatre, which our conversation, and some peer pressure by the company convinced her that she wasn't. I think realizing that the whole cast, as well as the production staff, took issue with her behavior was all the reality check she needed...

KMC

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Re: Problem Actor...
« Reply #7 on: Jun 14, 2007, 12:13 am »
Excellent, glad to hear it was worked out - I think you took the right course of action escalating it to the next level.
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

PSMKay

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Re: Problem Actor...
« Reply #8 on: Jun 18, 2007, 05:54 pm »
Yay! problem solved.  Locking the thread.

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