Author Topic: PROFESSIONALISM: Is the Audience allowed to see the Dressing rooms?  (Read 6119 times)

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Bytheseams

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I am trying to find a specific line in the equity handbook where it says that dressing rooms should not and CAN NOT be seen by the audience during a performance. The scenic designer wants to remove the blacks separating the backstage/ greenroom area so "All the secrets of theatre are revealed." My issue is that there are dressing rooms directly in line with those two doors.

The likelihood of a change happening at the same time as an exit is slim in this production. I just want to know that I'm doing everything I can to protect the actors and their privacy here.

Has anyone had any encounters with this problem before?
« Last Edit: Oct 23, 2013, 06:05 pm by Maribeth »

ewharton

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Every code is different but there is specific language in the LORT rule book about this:
53(B (9)) states "(9) Dressing room entrances and windows shall be properly masked from the
view of the audience to insure the Actorís privacy."
and
53 (C (5)) states "(5) Any walkway between the dressing rooms and toilet facilities shall be masked
from the view of the audience"


KMC

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Can the theatre simply install some temporary masking in front of the dressing room door?  This would allow the backstage masking to be removed without compromising privacy.
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

Bytheseams

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Can the theatre simply install some temporary masking in front of the dressing room door?  This would allow the backstage masking to be removed without compromising privacy.

We have temporary masking up that she intentionally wants to remove- that is the issue!

Thank you Ewharton!! This is exactly what I was hoping to find. With this I'm a little more prepared to start a conversation about the legality and ethics of this decision. 

nick_tochelli

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Tell the designer that if they want the masking removed, she should be back there naked all show. Seems only fair that if they want the actors to expose themselves that she should take the same risk.

I am only partially kidding.

There are ways to strip away the layers of theatrics without exposing the cast in an uncomfortable way. And unless there is a vital piece of information missing, it sounds like this is a decision on the part of a designer only. What does your director have to say about exposing the cast's dressing rooms?

KMC

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Can the theatre simply install some temporary masking in front of the dressing room door?  This would allow the backstage masking to be removed without compromising privacy.

We have temporary masking up that she intentionally wants to remove- that is the issue!

Thank you Ewharton!! This is exactly what I was hoping to find. With this I'm a little more prepared to start a conversation about the legality and ethics of this decision.

Well that is frustrating!  Looks like Ewharton has provided your necessary rebuttal.  I am also interested in the answers to Nick's questions if you don't mind sharing. 

I see your experience is listed as "college/graduate" - is this a university or professional setting?  I am mostly just interested in finding out who thinks it's a good idea to expose the dressing rooms :)
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

Bytheseams

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Tell the designer that if they want the masking removed, she should be back there naked all show. Seems only fair that if they want the actors to expose themselves that she should take the same risk.

I am only partially kidding.

There are ways to strip away the layers of theatrics without exposing the cast in an uncomfortable way. And unless there is a vital piece of information missing, it sounds like this is a decision on the part of a designer only. What does your director have to say about exposing the cast's dressing rooms?

This is exactly my thought as well- you took the words out of my mouth. As far as I can tell the Director has not thought of it either way and has just told the designer to go ahead with the build. The counter argument has been something to the effect of: There is only one change and that may take place a vista anyway- so the actors won't be in their dressing rooms anyway.

My rebuttal is that you never know what's going to happen in theatre. If someone needs to come off stage for an emergency there should be privacy. I also have a wardrobe crew member back there and the lack of blacks would preclude him from having access to the first aid kit, the fridge and the stage. Also he would not be able to make even the smallest of sounds as everything would be able to be heard. This includes flushing the toilette.

The more I think about it the stranger the reality of this decision becomes. 



Post Merge: Oct 23, 2013, 06:25 pm

Well that is frustrating!  Looks like Ewharton has provided your necessary rebuttal.  I am also interested in the answers to Nick's questions if you don't mind sharing. 

I see your experience is listed as "college/graduate" - is this a university or professional setting?  I am mostly just interested in finding out who thinks it's a good idea to expose the dressing rooms :)

A production meeting about the set/ costumes was just scheduled for Friday so I will let you know how it turns out. Thank you again for your help.

I currently work at a LORT D Theatre in New York City so unfortunately its a professional designer who is trying to pull this on me. I am not an SM but rather am asking this question on their behalf.

More updates to come! Thank you again. 

EDIT: tidied up bbcode. - PSMK
« Last Edit: Oct 23, 2013, 06:42 pm by PSMKay »

nick_tochelli

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This is happening in LORT? Wow... Impressive.....

I'd presume you have a Deputy. Are they aware of these plans? You have Equity behind you for interpretations of the rules. If it moves forward, I'd inform the deputy and ask for an interpretation from Equity so there is no confusion, ifs ands or buts.

You got my brain working...... Wonder if the LD is aware of the extra spaces they need to light now. Props people too. I'd also point out there is a vast difference between staging a dressing room you expect them to use in a deconstructed manner vs. the actual dressing room. If they had a safe and secure dressing room and we're blocked to go into the onstage one at certain times then it's completely controlled. No actor should have to be onstage in their green room.

What if they need to scratch??!! ;)

Bytheseams

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This is happening in LORT? Wow... Impressive.....

I'd presume you have a Deputy. Are they aware of these plans? You have Equity behind you for interpretations of the rules. If it moves forward, I'd inform the deputy and ask for an interpretation from Equity so there is no confusion, ifs ands or buts.

You got my brain working...... Wonder if the LD is aware of the extra spaces they need to light now. Props people too. I'd also point out there is a vast difference between staging a dressing room you expect them to use in a deconstructed manner vs. the actual dressing room. If they had a safe and secure dressing room and we're blocked to go into the onstage one at certain times then it's completely controlled. No actor should have to be onstage in their green room.

What if they need to scratch??!! ;)

All of that and more comes up as potential problems the longer I think about this.

The reality is that its against equity rules- no matter how many times the scenic designer says "But noting is going to go wrong- they won't need the dressing rooms!" Thats not how theatre works and that is not the way this show will run.

There is a production meeting Friday. I will let you know what the outcome is! Thanks for assuring me of my sanity!