Author Topic: A Sticky Wicket  (Read 3441 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

JPL

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AGMA
A Sticky Wicket
« on: Mar 22, 2012, 12:23 pm »
I did an opera last year with a small company who put their singers up in host housing.  One of our singers had to be moved when his host left town for a few days and did not want him there in her absence.  It turns out that he was trolling for sex partners on the internet and bringing them to his host's home for, um, quick encounters.  She objected to this, and the company had to find new quarters for him.  They wound up putting him in a hotel, at added expense to an already slim budget.  Needless to say, he won't be hired back at that company.

I just got the cast list for my next show with a different company, and this singer's name is on it.  This is a company I've worked with before, so I know the people there.  The question is, do I tell them what I know of this singer's problem elsewhere?  If I do, am I forewarning them and heading off a potential problem, or am I spreading tales needlessly?  If I don't, am I at risk of causing the company problems which could have been, if not avoided, at least anticipated?

If this were a question of professional behavior I would have no problem warning them up-front of what I know.  If it were purely personal behavior it would obviously be none of my business.  But what about personal behavior which could affect the company, even if it's in an area which is not part of my responsibilities?

Your advice, and especially your experiences with analogous situations, would be welcome.

Thanks.

dallas10086

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 562
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Current Gig: Freelance PSM; currently Charlotte Squawks 12
  • Experience: Professional
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #1 on: Mar 22, 2012, 01:21 pm »
This topic was very well covered in a similar thread here: http://smnetwork.org/forum/stage-management-plays-musicals/professionalism-have-i-overstepped-the-mark/msg31595/#msg31595

Be sure to read the responses. You could potentially face legal issues if you're keeping a performer from being hired or dropped from a production, even with your best of intentions. Don't offer the company this information regarding his personal life. I wouldn't even take the performer aside to speak with him privately about it. If he causes problems with his housing, that should be a matter for the company manager or someone in a similar role. If what he were doing was illegal that may be a different story, but again that's treading a fine line (you'd have to witness the illegal activity) though in this case it sounds like a consensual matter rather than a monetary transaction.

Rebbe

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 271
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #2 on: Mar 22, 2012, 02:12 pm »
I wonder how it was known that he was ďtrolling for sex partners on the internet,Ē and would the hostís attitude about him have been different if he was simply meeting people or had a steady partner he was bringing over.  That may not be relevant to what you do or donít do, but itís a thought I had. 

One idea I have is to talk with whoever arranges housing for the company, and ask about whether there is any kind of agreement in writing between the theater, singer, and host regarding the housing.  Perhaps they could add a clause that overnight guests are not permitted when staying in a personís home for the show, perhaps along with other guidelines, which would clarify expectations for everyone.  You wouldnít have to mention the specific actor at all.  At most you could say youíve encountered situations on previous shows where such an agreement might have been helpful.
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

JPL

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AGMA
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #3 on: Mar 22, 2012, 03:47 pm »
Dallas, thank you very much for the link, I was sure this had been covered before but wasn't sure where.  I hadn't even considered the legal ramifications.  I just went straight into problem-solving mode.

I will abide by the wisdom of the group as indicated in the above thread and keep my mouth shut.  Come to think of it, that's good advice most of the time.

Thanks.


MatthewShiner

  • Forum Moderators
  • *****
  • Posts: 2477
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA, SMA
  • Current Gig: PSM THE LION KING NORTH AMERICAN TOUR; Assc Director and Production Supervisor HUNCHBACK International
  • Experience: Professional
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #4 on: Mar 22, 2012, 04:47 pm »
Adults on the road should be allowed to have sex.

I wonder how much of the original issue was the performer's sexuality.

And a good reason why performer housing should not be "put up".

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

KMC

  • Forum Moderators
  • *****
  • Posts: 962
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Current Gig: Project Manager, Systems Integration
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #5 on: Mar 22, 2012, 05:15 pm »
So long as the actor is performing his professional role to the satisfaction of the company, what he does with his personal time is frankly nobody's business.  I wouldn't even tread lightly here, don't touch the issue at all.  It's hearsay and you can't win by bringing it up.

And frankly, even if he was meeting people for "encounters" or coffee or card games or to debate the finer points of basketweaving... who cares?  As long as he's on time and ready to work the next day it's nobody's business. 
« Last Edit: Mar 22, 2012, 05:18 pm by kmc307 »
Get action. Do things; be sane; donít fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

PSMKay

  • Site Founder
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1357
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • http://www.smnetwork.org
  • Affiliations: None.
  • Current Gig: SMNetwork *is* my production.
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #6 on: Mar 22, 2012, 11:36 pm »
If this had been a suit with an expense account on a business trip who picked up a hooker, nobody would have even mentioned it.  That's the kind of stuff people make romcoms about.

JPL, you telegraphed some of the issues in your choice of phrasing. Small company... trolling... on the internet. That doesn't seem like the language I'm used to hearing from you. I wonder if the situation might have been blown out of proportion due to the environs and your opinion may have gotten a little biased through no fault of your own.

Back in '96 I worked for a stock co where the GM was caught with her hand in the box office till on a six-figure take that pretty much broke the company. She was noisily dismissed, and her little dog too, and it was the talk of the company for the rest of the season. 16 years later I think I remember her first name but the rest of the details are all gone. Time heals all wounds, I guess.

Your singer guy has some issues with etiquette but I think after the mess of the last time he probably learned his lesson about boundaries when staying in strangers' houses. I do not doubt that your former coworkers who dealt with the company management side of the mess have blabbed about it through the community, so he's probably dealt with some collateral damage already. As long as he isn't bringing any strangers into the theatre, it's way outside your purview.

BeccaTheSM

  • SM Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 153
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Becca Pickett
  • Affiliations: AEA, CAEA, SMA
  • Experience: Professional
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #7 on: Mar 23, 2012, 03:20 am »
So long as the actor is performing his professional role to the satisfaction of the company, what he does with his personal time is frankly nobody's business.

The only other person whose business it MIGHT come close to being is the owner of the home in which the actor is staying.

Otherwise, I agree with everyone else -- it's not yours to say until it affects rehearsals/performances.
Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos. - Stephen Sondheim

JPL

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AGMA
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #8 on: Mar 23, 2012, 10:45 am »
Thanks for the additional responses.  As I indicated in my original post, if the behavior is purely personal, it is none of my business.  It only became an issue when it raised problems for the company, i.e., having to scramble to find alternate housing which came out of their pocket. 

Host housing is a fairly common way for companies to stretch their meager budgets, and I've certainly spent my share of shows in people's guest rooms.  You are always mindful that you are representing the company while in your host's home.  While I've never had anyone stay with me while I was in host housing, numerous singers have spoken of it, and they always ask their hosts well in advance, or they get a hotel.  As for more casual encounters, I'm sure they happen, but as far as I know they've never become a problem for the company before.

Again, I thank you all for your advice.  That is why I posted, to gain the benefit of other people's experiences and to clarify my own thinking.

Scott

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 252
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #9 on: Mar 23, 2012, 11:43 am »
One's housing should include the opportunity to entertain, with no notice, advance or otherwise, required to anybody, unless it is a roommate situation.

(Though most adult "townies" should usually have their own place.)

nick_tochelli

  • Loved and Missed.
  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 448
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Nick Tochelli's Blog: The Backstage Ballet
  • Affiliations: AEA, SMA
  • Current Gig: PM- Godlight Theatre Company/Inside Sales:Barbizon Lighting
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #10 on: Mar 23, 2012, 04:14 pm »
One's housing should include the opportunity to entertain, with no notice, advance or otherwise, required to anybody, unless it is a roommate situation.

(Though most adult "townies" should usually have their own place.)

Sure...if you're in housing by yourself.

If you're living in someone else's home (and by the way they are probably getting next to nothing in terms of compensation for opening their dwelling to you at least in my experience) follow their rules and common sense manners. It's like being invited to someone's house for dinner and inviting your own friend that they don't know unannounced. You just don't do that.

Scott

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 252
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #11 on: Mar 23, 2012, 04:34 pm »
I disagree.

If I am being provided housing as part of a work situation, it should always be a situation in which I am comfortable in my "me time".

I am a guest when on vacation -- maybe when I'm visiting a friend at a family beach house. 
« Last Edit: Mar 23, 2012, 05:58 pm by Scott »

nick_tochelli

  • Loved and Missed.
  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 448
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Nick Tochelli's Blog: The Backstage Ballet
  • Affiliations: AEA, SMA
  • Current Gig: PM- Godlight Theatre Company/Inside Sales:Barbizon Lighting
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #12 on: Mar 23, 2012, 10:50 pm »
I've been attempting to find a way to respond to this without sounding like a jerk.... I've failed. So here's my response:

I think it's completely insane to say that when you walk in to someone else's house you have the right to do what you want. It's not your house. They have opened their doors to you. They don't have to, and without the kindness of locals opening their doors to artists, there are a lot of theaters that would not exist. Without theaters, there's less jobs. With less jobs, there's more competition etc etc. Not to mention, it reflects poorly not only on you as the rude individual, but it reflects poorly on the institution that hired you and in small towns...that's not something that stays quiet for too long.

Every theater that I worked for that had this system in place was very up front about it. I knew well before I arrived that I'd be living in someone's home and they may have rules for me. So if you aren't comfortable, Turn down the job. If you aren't willing to live in a situation where you might have to follow some rules, don't put yourself in the situation. In these instances, these people are not your roommates. They are your host. There is a very obvious difference between the two. And again....this is really simple. If this situation doesn't work for you, this isn't the job for you.

For those who don't mind working in a small theater in a community that supports them enough to let the artists stay in their home: Follow the rules your host lays out. Because without them that theater has to spend an exorbitant amount of money housing you. Last place I worked that housed people in local homes, hosts received $35 a week in stipends vs. $75 a night the theater would have to pay for a hotel. With a 25 person staff and a three week Summer Stock run that's a total cost of $2,600 vs. $39,000.

Here's a slippery slope argument: Imagine you are the host of a theater artist, and they bring someone home and are having sex with them on the couch and your 6 year old child walks in. You argue that this is perfectly acceptable because the artist should be able to have free reign of the home, correct? Extreme circumstance or not, this is how you just phrased it.

KMC

  • Forum Moderators
  • *****
  • Posts: 962
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Current Gig: Project Manager, Systems Integration
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: A Sticky Wicket
« Reply #13 on: Mar 24, 2012, 02:55 am »
I think we've strayed slightly off topic.  The OP's question was regarding how to handle the situation with the present employer.  The etiquette and manners of hosted housing is likely a different topic.  There are merits to both sides of the arguments, but this is an issue for company management, not stage management.  As an SM, stay out of it. 
Get action. Do things; be sane; donít fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt