Author Topic: PROPS: sharing rehearsal room- and props??  (Read 3559 times)

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theatreannie

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PROPS: sharing rehearsal room- and props??
« on: May 01, 2010, 09:19 am »
Hi-

I wanted to get people's opinion on this because I can't decide if I'm justified in being upset.

I'm doing a showcase and our show shares a small rehearsal room with another show. There is no storage for props but every day I pack up our props in bags and neatly leave them out of the way.

Recently I find out that the other show has been using a few of our props without asking or even informing me. The props are bedclothes & pillows and so aren't  breakable but are fabric and could be stained or ripped.

I'm just a bit befuddled. As  stage manager would you ever borrow another show's props without permission?

I should add that the point is a bit moot since we are moving into the theatre and no longer sharing the space. I also gently expressed to the other SM that I wished she had asked me first before borrowing.

Edit added tag to subject line-Rebbe
« Last Edit: May 02, 2010, 11:10 am by Rebbe »

Mac Calder

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Re: sharing rehearsal room- and props??
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2010, 10:05 am »
Professional etiquette says that the other SM definitely should have asked... especially as to find that you had the props probably required looking through your gear.

Sadly, I have dealt with enough people from different walks of life to know that many people now days would not even see why it could be considered an issue.

Just the other week, when I found someone had borrowed a microphone from bottom draw of my desk (I keep a small ammount of gear I have personally amassed over the years at work in case of emergency), they said to me "What's the issue, I returned it and it wasn't damanged? It is a really nice voice over mic, and I knew you would let me borrow it". Had they had given me a quick call, absolutely, I would have said yes... but now I keep that drawer locked, and if I am not in there when they want to borrow something... tough. Maybe I am old fashioned, but it seems basic etiquette escapes many people now.


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nmno

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Re: sharing rehearsal room- and props??
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2010, 11:51 am »
I can understand the pressure of being in a rehearsal and the director *demands* that you magically produce some item that s/he has never once mentioned to you before.  Now, that very item is sitting on the other side of the room and explaining "that doesn't belong to us" doesn't seem like it's going to cut it.  I can see, in a moment of weakness - frustration - just not wanting another fight, borrowing the items that day.  However, I would also try to make contact with you, apologize and let you know what I borrowed (and how I returned it to ready to use state if necessary, like washing cups or letting you know they were never put to mouths, etc.)

But it sounds like this was more than a 1 time thing, continuing throughout the process, which isn't ok with me.

My biggest issue was that it WAS linens and fabrics...  not for the stained and ripped, but the sanitary/skin contact issues.  But then again I'm weirded out by the idea of sharing a pillow(case), especially with someone I don't know...

"Gently" expressing your wishes sounds like you handled it maturely and perhaps the SM will take it as a learning moment.  I think you were justified in being upset but hope that, now that you feel supported, you can put it in the past and focus on your show.  Best wishes as you move to the stage!

Thespi620

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Re: sharing rehearsal room- and props??
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2010, 12:08 pm »
I agree with nmno, that as a one-time thing followed up with a call explaining I would be fine with it, but an ongoing situation with no notice would put me on edge. 

One thing I tend to do when sharing spaces is to put a note on top of whatever furniture/props need to be stored in the space with "Name of Show only, Please do not touch" and then my name and cell # (I know and trust everyone else who uses the space) so in case someone does need to use one of our props they can come and find me or call and I'll give them the go-ahead.

Best of luck as you move forward with the show!
[The SM is] a very gifted, slightly eccentric master mechanic [keeping] a cantankerous, highly complex machine running at top efficiency by talking to it, soothing it, & lovingly fixing whatever is broken. 
-J. Michael Gillette

ericjames

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Re: sharing rehearsal room- and props??
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2010, 12:22 am »
I have to agree with everyone else.... its absolutely inexcusable for someone to continually use another productions props/set/costumes or whatever else it may be without getting permission.     Nmno makes a good point about being in that desperate moment, but it baffles my mind that the other SM thought it was okay and continued "borrowing" them.   I would be curious to know what they are using for props now that you have moved out of the room.  Did the SM acquire the stuff him/herself or are they just "borrowing" from another production?

Even if you ignore the issues of sanitation, this just shows a lack of respect and courtesy for the other people around us.

missliz

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Re: sharing rehearsal room- and props??
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2010, 09:33 am »
I had this problem recently as well- besides using some of our props, the actors from the other show were eating our food props! Despite notes and tracking them down at the end of their rehearsal to pass it along, it was still happening. We ended up storing all props in a trunk with a combination lock.
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

On_Headset

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Re: PROPS: sharing rehearsal room- and props??
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2010, 01:35 pm »
Would I be correct in assuming that you're doing this show in an academic setting?

If so, the other companies might actually have the "right" to use your props, insofar as if the Properties Manager only has one set of suitable linens and two shows which need them, they might have told the other company to borrow them from you as required. Same goes for other props: I recently did a season where three companies had all decided that the same prefab bench was perfect for their production and there were scheduling traffic jams concerning the availability of that single prop.

They still should have asked you first, of course. (Certainly there are matters of propriety and hygiene, but I've met at least one or two actors who would definitely go "SOMEONE ELSE HAS BEEN ON THESE SHEETS? EW EW EW EW BURN THEM EW EW EW" and refused to work with them even if they were perfectly sanitary and clean.)

kallulah

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Re: PROPS: sharing rehearsal room- and props??
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2010, 02:50 pm »
I think you did the right thing.  You expressed your grievance in a professional matter and as long as the other SM hasn't been a child about it you're able to move forward. 

No I would not use someone else's props without having asked first.  If I DID, say because the director just went ahead and let them, I would leave a note for the SM with my phone number, firstly deeply apologizing for the use of their props and secondly asking them if they're ok with future uses of their props until we acquire our own. 

If the SM is NOT ok with that, they are perfectly in the right.  God knows how pricey it can be to replace a prop that is in the hands of someone you don't know you can trust.  If you can't use their props, GET YOUR OWN.  Or wait till you have props to start using them. 
turtle

theatreannie

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Re: PROPS: sharing rehearsal room- and props??
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2010, 03:10 pm »
Would I be correct in assuming that you're doing this show in an academic setting?

Oh no. This is an AEA approved showcase performance. 

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