Author Topic: Professionalism: Two shows at once?  (Read 4002 times)

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oso_te_great

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Professionalism: Two shows at once?
« on: Nov 03, 2006, 01:18 pm »
I am stuck in a dilemma.  I have been offerered the chance to work on a musical which has caused a lot of hubbub in the theatre community(It will be the first time it will be on stage) (twice a week, for like 2 hours, then tech week, etc).  The problem is that I have already agreed to do a production that is after school.  If I agree to do the musical, I would have to miss two rehearsals a week, although I would have a perfectly capable ASM. 

Is working two shows at once alright, or unprofessional?

Thanks for your input
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 01:02 pm by PSMKay »
Malcolm Foster
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University of Montana Class of 2011

MatthewShiner

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Re: Two shows at once?
« Reply #1 on: Nov 03, 2006, 10:54 pm »
I am always working on two shows at once, but for one company.

The question is can you give 100% to both shows - what if the commitment becomes greater.  Which show will take priority.

The basis, for example, of the AEA contracts are that you are 100% available for the show, and have no other contract that would conflict, with notifying that second show you sign with.  If everyone is okay with it, why not?  But can you serve both shows at the same time.
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stagemonkey

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Re: Two shows at once?
« Reply #2 on: Nov 04, 2006, 12:37 am »
Its tricky to say cause I dont have all the facts you do about the shows.  Like Shiner said you have to answer the question for yourself "can i give 100% to both shows" and from past expeirence I know that is pretty much an impossibility.  Now thats not to say it can't work.  I mean if one show has its tech and begins its run in the early stages of the rehearsal process for the second show and the first show ends before you hit tech for the second it is more feasible. 

Right now I am currently engaged in 2 shows with 4 others coming down the line.  I am currently the SM intern on A Christmas Carol at the Goodman which is in rehearsal and goes into tech in 2 weeks.  While doing this I am also enaged as the SM for The Pendragon with Riddlemark Theatre in Chicago.  For me this works out ok cause rehearsals for the Pendragon dont begin until after the internship has ended, so right now I've only had to attend a few production meetings after rehearsals.  The people at Riddlemark know my commitment right now is to the internship so they are understanding that I can not focus fully on them right now, they also know that when their show rehearses my attention will be focussed on them.  Then after the Pendragon closes I will be SMing 4 other shows (one of which I have already SMed and is just being remounted) in a rep plot.  While these shows are having the occasional rehearsals they know I can not be around for some of them as per my prior engagements, but they want to work with me and are willing to makes things work.  (its really a matter of most the company is finishing up their final year of grad school so they rehearse at the college which is an hours drive away for me, but i do make it out there occasionally.)

So I guess what I am trying to say is its not so much unprofessional as most people will realize that you arent exactly making large sums of money in this line of work and need to take other jobs when they come.  Ultimately you need to determine if the time commitments needed for each show overlap too much and how both productions wold feel about you working on another production at the same time. 

LCook

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Re: Two shows at once?
« Reply #3 on: Nov 04, 2006, 10:49 am »
wow, I'm stuck in your exact same position.

My school does a variety show every year and I was sort of roped into doing that. And a few weeks later  an aquaintance from a summer stock show I was on running crew for  offered me the chance to stage manage my first professional production. I decided it was too good of a chance to pass up.

The only downside has been that despite the fact that I told my director that if he didn't think I could do all he needed me to for the variety show, that a friend of mine could easily take over, my director has been really rude and mean to me the past week (I started the other show this week.) He also proceeded to tell me off in front of the entire men's chorale section, but thats a different story.

That said, I've been extremely happy working on my other show (R&J). The cast is amazing and it's been one of the best experiences I've had. We opened last night and it went PERFECTLY. And I've been able to juggle my shows well and get my work for school done to...So my advice is: If its too good to pass up, don't pass it up. Especially if you know you can juggle the responsiblities. However I would be prepared for a little backlash every now and then. Although I don't know your director(s) so the second part may not apply!


Good luck!


KC_SM_0807

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Re: Two shows at once?
« Reply #4 on: Nov 04, 2006, 07:00 pm »
I actually just had this issue.

I Stage Managed Footloose back in May for a very respectable theatre company downtown.  After the show closed, I was offered to Stage Manage the opener for the next season, Cats, as well as possibly the whole season.  I was ecstatic and couldn't refuse this kind of opportunity, especially with the reputation of this company and the wonderful people I would get to work with.

However, at my university I am the only Stage Manager.  I have always Stage Managed shows for one specific director, and she assumed that I was doing her show in the fall.  It just so happened that the two shows, hers and Cats, were pretty much at the exact same time.

I really struggled with my decision, but ultimately I talked to the director at my university and explained the opportunity to her.  I was open, honest and direct, and she really appreciated it.   She understood and encouraged me to take Cats (which I am SO thankful for by the way) and I came out on top. 

Unlike me, you have the luxury of doing both shows.  I think that I would drive myself a little crazy if I tried to do two shows at once with everything else that I have to do.  It's not necessarily unprofessional; however, you really need to decide if you can handle both shows and dedicate adequate attention to both.  If not, then it will stress you out and you won't do your best.  The musical is a great idea; however, make sure that you are able to commit to both equally.  Also, make sure that the directors know that you are doing two shows.  It would be unfair to them if you were not completely honest about your situation.  Just as long as you are open and honest to other people and to yourself and feel like you can take on both shows in their entirety, then go for it!  If not, then think about the choices and do what is best for you.
"Perhaps, therefore, Stage Managers not only need to be calm and meticulous professionals who know their craft, but masochists who feel pride in rising above impossible odds."

Aerial

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Re: Two shows at once?
« Reply #5 on: Nov 04, 2006, 11:35 pm »
I've done that.  It's a really hard balance if they're not for the same company (even then its still hard to give your all to each, but they knew that your attention would be split when they hired you for both).  The time I did it for two seperate companies, I was ASM on each.  I was still in college, and I was ASMing a show, where we rotated nights.  The other show was with a small professional theatre I had been working with.  I would have been SMing the show if not for the college show.  I did both through rehearsals, ran the show at school, went back to the other show, shadowed the SM, and took over the show for the last two weeks of the run.  It was a crazy couple of months.


BeckyGG

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Re: Two shows at once?
« Reply #6 on: Nov 04, 2006, 11:44 pm »
I have done two shows at once on multiple occassions.  When I first was out of college I ASM'd two shows at the same time.  One rehearsed day times the other evenings.  Since then I've done it a few times.  The most trying for me was recently when I was ASMing a show in a festival setting with very little rehearsal time and PSM for another show.  Rehearsals rarely conflicted, but there was a lot of paperwork for each show that I was neccessary.  I've also rehearsed a show during the day while running a show at night for the same company.  That is much better then rehearsing two shows at once.

So, given the circumstances it can be done and can be a good experience.  The thing to remember is that you have to be able to do your paperwork, eat, sleep, and do other life things while working on these two shows.  Also, be up front with the companies you are working for about your other project.  It's always a difficult decision to make, so the best of luck to you!
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prizm

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Re: Two shows at once?
« Reply #7 on: Nov 05, 2006, 12:57 am »
I am not sure if I can help exactly, I have been in situations where I have done up to 4 shows at one time (an extension that overlapped with already scheduled rehersals for a rep season), but all in the same building for the same company though on diffrent contracts (rep vs. non-rep). And While the overtime was great my sanity became a little lacking. I always commit 100% but getting up at 6:30am and going to bed at 2:00am for 3weeks almost killed me and in truth I found my self priortizing show needs. Such as I know the directors really wants x soon but this other show opens first so they need to get y so x will wait till another day. So I would just say know your limits. In my case it was rather poor planning on the theatre's part they often forget their SM's dont rotate in and out like directors and actors. I do however consistantly work on what I call 1.5 shows most of the time. I begin prep for my next show after I have opened my current production.

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