Author Topic: Cleaning the greenroom  (Read 10021 times)

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J

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Cleaning the greenroom
« on: Dec 28, 2007, 08:40 pm »
So I've got a question regarding what a stage manager can and can't do.

A company I work for asked me to make sure the greenroom stayed clean because they occassionally have bug outbreaks due to the area of the country that we're in. This means wiping counters and tables after food has been on them, washing the mugs that the actors/tech staff forget/neglect to wash, making sure all food is put away, etc. etc. etc.

I see this as a violation of rules, falling under activities that the stage managers are "prohibited from accepting responsibility for":

Rule 63.H.7.d on page 79.  SMs cannot accept responsibility for doing building maintenance, janitorial, custodial, or house management work.

I have no problem making sure that the coffee setup is kept clean, but cleaning up after others seems a bit much. Thoughts?

And by the way, then there was a bug outbreaks (due to nothing that could have been prevented), and they expected me to deal with the bug problem, which I considered to be a violation of the same rule, falling under building maintenance.
« Last Edit: Dec 31, 2007, 03:48 pm by Justin »

Scott

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #1 on: Dec 28, 2007, 11:35 pm »
I expect you're right (talk to your rep.)

VSM

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #2 on: Dec 29, 2007, 01:49 pm »
Personally, I'd clean up.
We live there, we should keep it clean.
As to the infestation, I'd get in touch with management and ask for their assistance.
Ordo ab chao

KMC

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #3 on: Dec 29, 2007, 02:44 pm »
I'd maybe have a chat with the cast (and crew if they use it as well) and remind them it is their space to use and to please clean up after themselves.  If everyone simply cleans up their own mess it will become a non-issue.  It's amazing how the book "All I really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten" is true!

The infestation is another matter, though.
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

J

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #4 on: Dec 29, 2007, 03:16 pm »
Well, that's exactly what I've done. I was informed though that it was my responsibility to clean up after those that ignore me and the rules of picking up after yourself.  So the idea is if someone leaves a plate of food scraps and a cup of tea on the table, I'm responsible for it if they don't take care of it.   This is what I disagree with.   I understand and accept that sometimes we pick up after others, but for it to be labeled part of my job seems a bit odd.

The bigger issue with this is what jobs (that aren't our jobs) theatre companies ask us to do that we DO or DON'T do. If one person takes on something that they really shouldn't, it will lead to other things being asked of them.  Soon they'll be handing out paychecks, sweeping the bathroom floors, etc. etc.  At what point is enough enough?  And as soon as we say yes to one thing that we shouldn't be doing, does it set a precident and then all new SMs end up getting stuck with things they shouldn't be doing?
« Last Edit: Dec 29, 2007, 03:21 pm by Justin »

avkid

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #5 on: Dec 29, 2007, 04:34 pm »
I do believe this all goes back to what I was taught in primary school:
"If you made the mess, you clean it up"
As simple as that.
Philip LaDue
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Mac Calder

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #6 on: Dec 29, 2007, 06:41 pm »
My response to "Can you do this extra duty" requests is fairly standard:

"If I get time, after I have completed my job, I don't mind doing it, however I cannot guarantee it will get done, and I cannot take responsibility for it."

or

"Sorry, I don't really have the time to do extra little jobs."

(quick note to point out that I do in fact clean the green room when I get time, even if I am not asked. A bit of a neat freak.)
« Last Edit: Dec 29, 2007, 08:10 pm by Mac Calder »

Sarah

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #7 on: Dec 29, 2007, 07:02 pm »
I find it intriguing but not necessarily indicative, that until this point, only male SMs have responded to a post concerning cleaning the greenroom.

nmno

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #8 on: Dec 30, 2007, 02:18 am »
Okay, Sarah, a chick is responding...
in the past, yes, I tend to clean up at the end of the night after folks.  But I also make sure the cushions on the couch are straight, because it's my OCD kicking in.  But I do explain to my cast/crew that use of a kitchen is a privledge (even the daily coffee...  no where does it say that the theatre/SM is responsible to provide coffee) and they are expected to clean up after themselves.  If things are left out, unless I want to keep it, I tend to just throw them away.

However, it's one thing to take this responsibility on yourself and another for the theatre to tell you that it's YOUR responsibility.  If the theatre were to truly say it was my job (as in, if not done there are repercussions) then I would make the rule that there is to be no food in the green room - won't be popular but if the cast/crew can't clean up after themselves then that would be the rule I'd throw down. 
(Last LORT theatre I worked at I had huge battles with the company manager who, during tech, to be nice, would leave trays of fruit and pastries, etc which was lovely - but then after tech notes, at 1am, I found myself in the green room, cleaning it all up.  When she would clean it up, she'd leave dirty dishes in the sink and they'd stay there for days or until I washed them.  Came to a head after one night a just threw it all out, trays and all.)

The bug issue has me baffled.  Does the theatre not have a maintenence crew?

ChaCha

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #9 on: Dec 30, 2007, 02:27 am »
It really doesent matter what anyone from the network think. You clearly are not happy with being REQUIRED to clean the green room so you should address this issue with management ( point out it isnt your job, refuse, request 'extra duties' loading,say you'll do this but not the bugs, whatever works for you) or with the company (throw things out as just suggested, implement a clean up roster, ban food, whatever works for you). Your level of resentment/frustration/contentment is actually the issue here. Like most things here, you are going to get a bunch of people who agree with your stance, and others who see it differently. You need to find a solution that means you are not wasting energy and happiness on an issue which is not even at the core of your role.

BTW -to me  bugs seem well outside the scope!
ChaCha

J

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #10 on: Dec 30, 2007, 11:36 am »
Sorry but I have to disagree with your post. To me, it does matter what people from the network think. That's why I like this site so much. It's a place where I can get feedback, learn what others have done, get ideas for solutions, etc. etc.

Specifically with this issue, I was looking to see if people found this to be something they are typically required or asked to do, or if they just do it, or if it was something that they didn't do due to AEA rules.

I really like that I get a bunch of responses that agree with my stance and others who see it differently. That's exactly what I've posted this for, to get different perspectives and to get ideas for how to handle the situation.
« Last Edit: Dec 30, 2007, 11:52 am by Justin »

Sarah

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #11 on: Dec 30, 2007, 12:19 pm »
I second (third, fourth??) the idea that you should chat wth the cast and crew with the hope that they will pitch in more often and help to keep the greenroom clean; it is a common area, after all.

I have the same problem at my theatre, though since we're part of an academic unit and the greenroom is centrally located, we've got grad students, work study students, undergrads, admin folks, production staff and all manner of people using our greenroom. Since I cannot stand to see a messy kitchen, (I cater on the side) I will take a few extra moments to clean up major messes. We do have a facilities person to whom we can submit work orders, which is helpful. This is the person whom I would contact to get rid of bugs. It's hard to believe your theatre doesn't have a similar position, or person responsible.

During production periods, one of the rotating daily post-show duties to which I assign a crew member is to clean the greenroom. Since our crew members are students, this works out well, and they can't complain. It usually entails emptying the coffee pots and filter baskets and wiping down the counters; is this a possible solution for your problem?

J

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #12 on: Dec 30, 2007, 12:27 pm »
Yes, it is hard to believe that the theatre doesn't have a facilities person assigned to this, but believe it or not, there is no facilities person on staff.  The house managers clean front of house...and beyond that, I have no idea who's taking care of any building cleaning!

I clean the coffee supplies up every day. I make the coffee, so I don't mind cleaning it up. Because the crew is overhire for the show, I can't ask them to do something like cleaning the greenroom. I have a feeling that it would not go over well at all, and it's not really their place to do it anymore than mine.  But like you, I have people in and out all day long using the fridge, making food, etc. which leads me to believe even stronger that it is out of the question to expect the SM to do this.

I have posted signs reminding people to clean up their own messes and talked to them all in person as well. It helps some, but there's still the issue of the company wanting me to actually wipe the counters down every day, pick up what people leave behind, etc. 

I haven't been doing it lately, because I'm not going to, and I haven't heard any comments about it yet.

I'm really interested to hear what peoples thoughts are relating to my original question. Does cleaning the greenroom fall under equity violations, since it is considered a janitorial/custodial task?  I think it does since it's a shared space, afterall.
« Last Edit: Dec 30, 2007, 12:29 pm by Justin »

Amy877

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #13 on: Dec 30, 2007, 02:40 pm »
Yes, you will be in contract violation if you become the greenroom janitor and/or exterminator.  You are PROHIBITED from accepting these responsibilities.  They are not optional and negotiable "additional duties". 

If you have trouble saying no, call your rep and get some advice and support.

Also, the bug problem is probably in conflict with Safe and Sanitary, and the rep could attack it from that angle instead.

Rebbe

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Re: Cleaning the greenroom
« Reply #14 on: Dec 30, 2007, 02:47 pm »
However, it's one thing to take this responsibility on yourself and another for the theatre to tell you that it's YOUR responsibility.
I agree. Requiring the SM to clean the greenroom sure seems like a violation of rule 63 to me.

Maybe you can suggest that the theater pay a small additional fee to someone on the cast or crew to get them to do a daily clean-up. In that case, I wouldnít have a problem checking that the arranged-for cleaning is actually taking place.  Every theater Iíve worked at has a custodial crew or maintenance staff that deal with vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping the greenroom and dressing room, but often they are not required to clean up kitchen sinks, counters, tables, etc (and we probably wouldnít want them to; they could end up throwing out food props). 

That said, I often find myself wiping crumbs off the counter, loading the dishwasher, throwing out Starbucks cups, and trashing the suspicious cheese thatís been in the fridge for three weeks.  I do those things not because it is my job to do them, but because the greenroom is my living room, and I want to do my part to keep it livable.  Everyone has different standards of acceptable cleanliness, though, and with a large cast, even if they are generally responsible and well meaning, things can easily get out of hand.

Asking you to deal with the bug problem sounds way over the line to me.  Thatís like asking you to call the plumber or the locksmith; itís a problem with the physical building, not the production youíre hired to work on.
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