We all go through times in life when all we want to do is scream, complain, and stomp our feet. Unfortunately, that usually isn’t the best way to get results. As people capable of using the big kid potty, there are usually chains of command to be followed, compromises to be made, and the need for maturity to be utilized. Not to say that there is never a time to stomp your feet. There is, but you need to know who to stomp at and make sure there isn’t another option that is less annoying to those in your immediate vicinity.
When I was on tour, there was a wardrobe mistress whom everyone loved. She was everyone’s show Mama and one of the most wonderful people you could ever meet. Not that she wouldn’t smack you upside the head if you deserved it. But it takes a bit to push her there.
We were having problems with sound on tour, and our leading lady was pissed that her mic was not coming up soon enough on one of her songs. Granted, that is frustrating, and it shouldn’t be a problem. But there are ways to deal with it. Like talking to your stage manager. And then to your production manager. And then heck, go to the producer if you need to.
The wrong thing to do is to have a temper tantrum and start screaming your lines in mic check. After this actress had a fit on stage and did just that, she stormed into the hall and started yelling at the wonderful wardrobe mistress. Why? What is she going to do? If you need a new mic belt, sure, she would be the one to ask nicely for it. But sound cues? That has nothing to do with her. And yelling at her? Clearly not going to help. Or make anyone like you. Ever.
After the cast heard the shouting, no one felt sorry for the diva whose mic wasn’t turned on. No one was on her side. And no one really sought out her company. We weren’t being mean. She had just crossed the line from being put upon to being a big ole’ bitch.
So what’s the point in this post, you might ask? Well as is history’s… history, things repeat themselves. And so, let us learn from our theatrical past. Don’t make demands, make requests. Don’t throw tantrums, ask for meetings. Careful the things you say, your cast will listen. Careful the things you do, your stage manager will see, and fire you. *
*For those of you who aren’t musical theatre junkies, that is a horribly bastardized version of a line from Into the Woods.