Author Topic: PEOPLE: How to (know-it-alls and significant others)  (Read 2631 times)

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PEOPLE: How to (know-it-alls and significant others)
« on: Mar 12, 2007, 03:36 pm »
I am about to go into tech week on a show, so I probably should have asked these questions a while ago, but several of these issues just came to a head.

We have a cast diva - that's not my problem. I know how to deal with Divas.

We have a cast "know-it-all" He has a Master's Degree in Theatre, and he's been a director for several years, and he works at a theatre school, and he's completely disrespectful to, and disregards the stage-manager. What do I do?

We recently added a person as an Extra who has a walk on, no-lines role; the problem, he's my committed life partner - and has a history of not separating professionalism from personal in what he considers "Non professional environments." Should I tell my ASM that she is in charge of him, or should I treat him like any other cast member?

Here is my concern - some of the things that he says to me, and sometimes the ways that he treats me LOOKS very disrespectful from the outside. *I* know that he's joking around - but others might not know that. Couple that with the principals who are not giving me the respect that they should, I am afraid that the rest of the extras will start misbehaving, and I want to prevent that. Any ideas?
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:12 am by PSMKay »

Mac Calder

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Re: How to:
« Reply #1 on: Mar 12, 2007, 05:30 pm »
WRT the cast know-it-all. There are two 'confrontational' roads - the high road and the low road. The high road would be to pull him aside, tell him to pull his head in, as he is employed in the role of an actor, NOT as a consultant/stage manager/director, and that since he has a major in theatre, he should know that there is no "Right and Wrong" way to manage a show, and that his disrespect will not be tollerated.

The low road would of course be to do this publicly.

The later will probably embaras him more - and hopefully make him a tad 'meeker' - however I would not hold my breath. So really, it is either go the high road, or just ignore it.

Re your Significant Other - I would just have a quiet word with him - mention how you don't want to be put in any awkward situations, and you want to separate work from your real life, so if he could please act professional, even if it is not a professional show, you would be most greatful. Then talk about your concerns with your ASM. Ask your ASM to be involved in any 'disciplinary' action between your SO and another, and to let you know if it appears you are treating your SO as anything other than a cast member. You will probably find you overcompensate in reality - being so aware that you don't want to favour him that you are actually harder on him than you would any other cast member - that is something to be aware of too.


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Re: How to:
« Reply #2 on: Mar 13, 2007, 12:59 pm »
WRT- the know-it-all. I agree with Mac. I have a know it all actor in my current cast. During notes one night - with Daylight Savings time approaching - he suggested that I might want to start my phone calls to missing cast members early so we would have everyone in time for curtain. I took a breath- looked over the top of my glasses and said NOTHING....for about 3 seconds....worked like a charm.
However- your guy sounds like a harder case. I'd be firm- educate the cast on the protocols you expect if necessary. I would refuse to acknowlege any disrepect- respond with silence and move on. Of course, what kind of theatre program educates anyone to be disrespectful of stage managers??? I'd love to know from which school he holds his masters. Also- not a director any SM would want to work for- ever !!!!!
So, I guess what I would recommend is that you be as professional as possible whether you are treated that way or not. In the end- the only person's behaviour you can control is your own. Break-a-leg....


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Re: How to:
« Reply #3 on: Mar 13, 2007, 03:54 pm »
I suggest a different way to deal with the Know-It-All: encourage him to Know It All. Show him that you are grateful for his expertise. Ask him questions. Defer to him on the little things ("John, do you think we should offer Splenda along with the coffee, or just sugar and Sweet-n-Low? ... Thanks, I knew you'd know the best thing to do!"), ask him if he would help the less experienced techies in setting up makeup stands, or leading warm-ups, or looping cable. Give him helpful tasks that let him talk about his amazing talents and abilities. This will keep him busy and out of your way. This comes from one of my favorite life philosophies - "If you don't know what to say, ask someone about themselves. They will think you are a brilliant conversationalist." If you help people feel clever, they will enjoy working with you. Of course, keep yourself master of your own kingdom and don't encourage him to infringe on SM duties. I think this will be way more effective than the stern talking-to. He needs validation, so validate him. It will mean less pain in the end.

As for your significant other, you should definitely explain to him workplace decorum. Have this talk in the theatre - not at home. You might even coordinate a "training night" where you explain before you go to the theatre that you are about to go on the job (and he is, too). Ask him to go out for a "date"  - just a drink or whatever - after rehearsal. Then, be perfectly professional in rehearsal. When you go on the date, be sure not to discuss rehearsal or anything. Have fun, be relaxed, be on a date. This careful guidance might help him learn that the lines between work and personal life. Kind of like house training a puppy.