Author Topic: CAST: Unruly musical cast  (Read 2190 times)

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WordSorter

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CAST: Unruly musical cast
« on: Jul 14, 2013, 01:20 pm »
Greetings all --

I'm the "walkaround" stage manager for a community theater production and the difficulty I'm facing is noise from the cast during the show. This is the company's "summer camp show," which means there are a lot of teenagers involved with nothing to do for long stretches of time.

I ran into a lot of "chatter" during rehearsals, but was able to quell that by yelling (I have a VERY loud voice), reasonable explanation as to why talking while the director is was a no-no and using the "clap-to-be-quiet" signal. But now that the show is running, I have little recourse, other than telling people to "be quiet" in a frustrated stage whisper.

I did make a statement during a recent company call that backstage chatter during the show is disrespectful of the audience and the actors on stage -- and that seemed to work for that show. But during the second show of the day, the cast became noisy again.

This show casts about 30 folks consisting of young and old adults, teens and a handful of younger kids as well as the above-mentioned camp kids. What's so frustrating is that much of the chatter is coming from the so-called "professional" actors; the ones who should know better -- and I mentioned this at a company call the other day as well (without naming names, of course).

I don't think respect is an issue -- when I lay down a directive (nicely), the cast is more than happy to respond. They do respect my authority; if there are issues, problems or other concerns, they don't hesitate to approach me. I think the problem stems from the fact that backstage is hot, boring and people aren't aware of their "chatter" volumes.

I did mention to the "professional" teen actors the other day that they were role models for the younger campers, and if they could help me out by being quiet, I'd appreciate it. That helped with chatter in the lobby during the show (which is a backstage extension during the large-cast shows), but I was told by two other adults that the green room (also backstage) was very loud.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to calm a volatile, self-absorbed, noisy cast backstage during a show (adults as well as kids)? I'd appreciate any and all advice :-).

Thanks!

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth
« Last Edit: Jul 15, 2013, 03:53 pm by Maribeth »

Jessie_K

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Re: Unruly musical cast
« Reply #1 on: Jul 15, 2013, 09:15 am »
Honestly I would make a GIANT sign that says "QUIET BACKSTAGE PLEASE" and walk up to people and hold it when they talk.  I'd invade their personal space until they shut up.  I'm not kidding.
« Last Edit: Jul 16, 2013, 02:54 am by Jessie_K »

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Maribeth

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Re: Unruly musical cast
« Reply #2 on: Jul 15, 2013, 03:50 pm »
Agreed about the sign! I did this on a show with a large volunteer chorus who couldn't keep quiet. Made a quick sign and held it up- it caught their attention and was fairly effective. Can you deputize a couple of the adults to help remind folks?

Thespi620

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Re: CAST: Unruly musical cast
« Reply #3 on: Jul 15, 2013, 05:39 pm »
When I did community theater growing up, we had casts of (no exaggeration) 200+ ages 8 through adult. Tech got a bunch of "QUIET" signs from the PGA Tour and deputized one or two people on each side of stage & in each hallway to hold the signs and literally walk up to conversations and hold the sign in their faces until they were quiet. It sounds extreme, but it works really well, especially with large groups.
[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

maddog17

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Re: CAST: Unruly musical cast
« Reply #4 on: Jul 25, 2018, 04:37 pm »
But what if you're not able to be backstage? I am having a similar problem right now. I yelled last night and kinda scared the actors because in the past two days we have given multiple "nice" warnings about talking backstage. I can't be backstage because I'm in the booth and my director would view the signs as passive-aggressive. I've only ever yelled like I did last night 3 times during almost 4 years and over a dozen shows. I don't like getting that angry, but I have hit a limit.

 

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