Author Topic: NEW WORKS: when the show sucks....  (Read 3698 times)

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bethanyb5

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NEW WORKS: when the show sucks....
« on: Apr 10, 2010, 03:37 am »
ok so this is the thing... I just finished running tech on a new show. The Playwright directed and was in the show. I showed up at the tech rehearsal, we ran the tech (easy). The next night was dress and after the rehearsal the playwright/director asked what I thought of the show. I lied and said oh its great, when I really had a whole mental list of things that I would have changed if I was directing.

So my question is when your asked what you think do you tell the truth even if it means hurting their feeling the night before opening or just say "oh its great" or something in between?

dewitt

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Re: NEW WORKS: when the show sucks....
« Reply #1 on: Apr 10, 2010, 11:10 am »
In my opinion the night before opening is a little too late to ask for or suggest major changes. I never tell people to lie, but good stage managers have usually perfected the art of commenting without actually saying anything concrete. If it is a show that will be a continuing work in progress or a workshop type of project then saying something like, when you work on this again you could think about x from a different perspective could be a good way to go. If it is a one shot show I would keep my comments to myself.

BlantonRK

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Re: NEW WORKS: when the show sucks....
« Reply #2 on: Apr 10, 2010, 08:19 pm »
If it's a project about which I can't find an honest compliment,  I usually try to avoid the question with something like "I've enjoyed working with you and the project has really grown on me, but I think I'm too involved in the process to give an objective opinion".

dallas10086

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Re: NEW WORKS: when the show sucks....
« Reply #3 on: Apr 10, 2010, 09:45 pm »
From a bad past experience of telling the wrong personality my honest but tactful opinion, I can say you should only harp on the positive, even if you have to compliment how well the crew is sweeping the floor. Especially when the director is playing more than one role (actor, producer, playwright, etc.) as feelings are bound to get bruised no matter how nicely you state your opinion. You can't take a chance, no matter how good of a job you do, that the only thing you'll be remembered for is negativity come time for rehiring.

That being said, I have had several directors ask my honest opinion on specific aspects of the show, usually because they need another perspective. In that case I give my honest opinion, but try to keep it simple and don't elaborate, and they have all appreciated it. If they ask me the general question "What do you think about the show?" - I'm always on the positive.

On_Headset

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Re: NEW WORKS: when the show sucks....
« Reply #4 on: Apr 11, 2010, 12:02 am »
My fallback compliment is "I hope people like it!", which is perfectly neutral but sounds enthusiastic. (If they press you--"What do you mean, you hope?"--the correct response is "Well, you never know until the punters show up, do you?")

kallulah

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Re: NEW WORKS: when the show sucks....
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2010, 09:59 am »
My fallback compliment is "I hope people like it!", which is perfectly neutral but sounds enthusiastic. (If they press you--"What do you mean, you hope?"--the correct response is "Well, you never know until the punters show up, do you?")

I like your fallback comp.  I honestly just smile and nod.  I definitely wouldn't give my opinion had I not been asked, and if I am i usually find ways to say, "you're so adorable, or what else have you worked on?"  Yeah.  I just randomize it.  And as much as a playwright deserves the truth, it's just not our place to say it, as SM's.  Let the director have that argument, that discussion, that heart breaker of a conversation.  It's not your responsibility, as an SM, to give the playwright some perspective.


weatherstone

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Re: NEW WORKS: when the show sucks....
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2010, 08:25 pm »
In this situation, I'm a big fan of the noncommittal (but enthusiastic) compliment - and after having worked in government, I'm even better at it.  I normally pull from any one of the following:

"Congratulations!"
"Everybody looked so great!"
"You had such great energy"
"What bold choices you made"
"All your hard work really showed"
"There were some really excellent moments tonight"
"You know, it looked like you had such a great time - it's infectious!"

And so on.  Unless it's someone I've grown close to personally, I generally keep any more specific comments (regardless of how constructive) to myself.  Good luck!

Dee

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Re: NEW WORKS: when the show sucks....
« Reply #7 on: Nov 02, 2010, 03:17 pm »
"What bold choices you made"
LOL The AD of the company I work for, and I have an ongoing inside joke.  Where we say "bold choice" anytime we don't have anything good to say.

 

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