Author Topic: Dear Abby: When/If to leave a show  (Read 2946 times)

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Dear Abby: When/If to leave a show
« on: Mar 14, 2017, 05:43 pm »
From time to time SMNetwork staff members post questions on behalf of members who wish to remain anonymous. This is one of these questions. In this case I have added one word for the sake of clarity, in brackets.
I'm about a month out from doing a show with a company I have not previously worked with, as a PA. I was recommended for the job by the Equity SM, who I've worked with before.

We were just working on a show together, and we were going over the schedule together, and chatting about the production meeting they had just had, which I wasn't present for. The SM mentioned that at the production meeting the director mentioned that they wanted to use me (the PA) as the house manager, which, from what she described, sounds very involved and complex, and cuts in to my half hour pre set checks.

I was a bit concerned by this, but small companies often do stuff like this, so I sort of let it go.

Then, right after the other show we were working on closed, the SM called to let me know that the director was behaving very strangely; we have one actor who will be absent for an entire week of rehearsal, and apparently they want me (the PA) to step in as an understudy. The SM mentioned to them that there is an Equity rule that prohibits someone doing two or more roles at once (for example acting and stage managing the same show), and that it would also be really challenging for me to do so much when we were moving into runs and I would be needed backstage.

Long story short, the SM left the show due to the blowback they received.

And, I should mention that none of this information has come from the company itself, everything I know (including everything pertaining to me) has come from the SM.

So my question is this: Should I follow in the SM's footsteps and leave? I don't want to be taken advantage of, and I'm pretty nervous that they haven't said anything to me about what I am apparently expected to do.

Should I wait to see who the [replacement] SM is? Part of me is nervous about leaving a show with a company I haven't worked for and whether that might hurt my chances of getting hired elsewhere, plus, if I left I wouldn't have a job, which I was counting on.

But there's a part of me that feels like, if the SM was driven out a month before the rehearsals even start, then maybe I should trust their instincts and get out while I can.

Sorry to ramble, but I would really love some advice/insight. Thank you!


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Re: Dear Abby: When/If to leave a show
« Reply #1 on: Mar 14, 2017, 06:00 pm »
If none of this information has come from your (anticipated) employer, then you probably do not have your contract yet. Given the weirdness that has already happened, this sounds like the right time to email the person who handles contracts. Ask them if they have generated one for you to sign, and if you should drop by the office/theater to pick it up. If they respond in a way that makes you uncomfortable (like saying "we don't provide contracts until after the first rehearsal" or something equally bizarre)... that's your cue to bail.

Also--without meaning to be a total downer--if the PSM walked, and you were hired at the PSM's request, then you may have lost the gig already. In any event, there is nothing wrong with an ASM directly writing the employer to address contractual and scheduling matters.


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Re: Dear Abby: When/If to leave a show
« Reply #2 on: Mar 20, 2017, 04:04 pm »
I agree. Get your job description in writing. If they balk, then bail.