Intercourse, Pennsylvania — Day 34

We opened show #2 on Saturday night.  And from all the feedback we’ve gotten and the mention we got in the paper, it seems that everyone liked it.

After each opening last year, we all gathered at an Irish pub, hung out in their back room, and had a good time.  The crew including Kelly and me ended up in the back corner talking amongst ourselves.  We didn’t really like the arrangement but since the crew is the last to leave the theatre, they tend to get what’s left in the way of chairs, when they get to the bar.  At least last year, the company bought the first round of drinks so it was okay if we were a little late.  We got the full benefit of coming and to be honest who wants to hang out with actors anyway

For the opening of the first show this year, we once again gathered at the Irish pub.  And once again we all arrived late to find there were no seats.  Of course it was worse than usual because a lot of people who weren’t actually working on the show had been invited, so when we arrived at the bar there were NO seats for us.  After some scrambling and looks of frustration on the crews part, a table of six parents, moved to the front of the bar and gave us their table.  So we got settled and were told that the company wasn’t buying the first round of drinks this year, but was instead providing champaign.  Not as great as last year, but free alcohol is free alcohol.  So the waiter arrives and we ask for our free champaign.  And we were informed that all the champaign the company bought was gone.  And I said, “OH!”  So I called over to “The Director” and asked if more champaign was being ordered for the crew.  He looked over and laughed and went back to his conversation.  So I saw Laura the board member and called her over to ask who was buying more champaign for the crew.  She went over to talk to “The Director” and came back a few minutes later to say that we’d used all the champaign the bar had.  And once again I asked, “Who’s taking care of the crew?”  She said she’d do what she could and returned a few minutes later to say that “The Director” was not willing to buy drinks for the crew since he didn’t buy drinks for anyone else.

Hmmm.

And so I looked around the room.  All the actors had champaign.  All the parents had champaign.  “The Director” had champaign.  The boyfriend and gay friends of one of the actors had champaign.  But the people who work the hardest got no champaign.  I bit my tongue and we ordered our beers and our food and when “The Director” got up to leave at the end of the night I made a point to tell him that I thought it was unfair that the crew wasn’t taken care of.  He laughed the whole thing off, and once again I bit my tongue.

And now move to the opening of Show #2.

Instead of the Irish pub, it’s announced that we are meeting at an Italian restaurant, across the street from the pub.  And I’m told a head of time by Kelly,  that “The Director” has called ahead and made reservations for the party.  He’s made a reservation for 24 people.  And there are 25 actors in the company.  Anyone want to guess where this is going?  Before we even start, just with the actors and “The Director” we are a two seats  short.  Add the assistant director and the conductor and we are now four seats short.  I’m told about all of this before we leave the theatre, and as always the crew, Kelly, and I are the last to leave.  And so we arrive at the Italian restaurant.  And as we walk to the front door I turn to the assistant ME and say, “I’m about to be very pissed off.”  And in we walk, and what would you know, the actors are all seated around a table that was clearly prepared for them.  And the next closest table to the party has no chairs.  It’s clear that they were not expecting more people.

We all walk in and pull a couple of tables together and after about 20 minutes are finally brought over menus.  By this time I’m fuming.  Not only doesn’t it appear that we weren’t wanted at this little gathering, now we can’t even get served.  And then we look at the menu.  The cheapest entrees on the menu is around 16.00.  That’s not expensive, if you have a job, that pays you a living wage.  These kids are barely scraping by this summer.  And I’m sure some of them wouldn’t eat at all if Kelly and I didn’t buy them a burger every now and then.  So they are stunned by the prices, by the fact they aren’t wanted, and now we are all annoyed.  And I’m getting more and more pissed.  So I finally turn to all of them and say, “Why don’t we go across the street to the Irish pub and have some fun.”  There is much discussion and many of them are worried about pissing people off.  I assure them that if anyone deserves to be pissed off it’s them, and that I’ll take any heat that comes down.  I also tell them that not everyone they work for ignores their hard work and that I’ll buy the first round of beers.  Of course during all of this Kelly is giving me looks.  She’s a stage manager and has to be diplomatic.  The lighting designer not so much.

And so I get up and I lead the way and out we go.  I go get in my car and drive the few blocks down the Irish pub.  And we go in.  All ten of us.  Actually at that point there are only 7 of us because Kelly and her assistant have stuck around to make a more graceful exit.  And we are greeted by the host at the Irish pub and told that it will be around 30 minutes before they can seat us.  Having already let my crew get crap all night, I say, “Are you sure.  Because if it’s really going to be 30 minutes then we’ll have to go somewhere else.”  The little host guy scurries away to ask the manager what to do.  Before you get worried, I was very polite, I just didn’t want to have to wait 30 minutes to get a table and having been there a million times already this summer I was sure they could accommodate us.

And what do you know within a couple of minutes we were seated.  And within ten minutes we had drinks and had ordered food and were on our way to having a good time.  Just as we are getting our beers, the lead tenor sits down at the head of the table.  He’s been told what happened, paid his bill and came down to join in our festivities.  And fun was had by all.  As promised I bought the first round.  Kelly bought the second round.  And we all laughed and joked and I think the crew was able to have some fun.  Of course this was Saturday night…the night I was too drunk to post, because the party moved back to Kelly’s room and continued till 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

“The Director” called me around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday night to see what had happened to me.  He had turned around and I was gone and he’d wanted to come over and say hello.  There was no mention of the crew not being welcomed at the party.  There was no mention that 12 people got up and left all at the same time.  There was no mention of any of this.  Just a friendly check in to say good night and that he was sorry he’d missed me.

And now I was really pissed.

On Sunday I was hung over.  REALLY hung over.  So I slept late.  Went to 20 minutes of the show and then came home and went back to sleep.  I didn’t hear from “The Director” all day.  He finally called around 11:30 p.m. just to say hello.  I didn’t take the call.  I ignored him.  And then on Monday morning afternoon I woke up to this.

Maddog:

I think the shows are looking really lovely.  I am so happy I could just die.  Show #2 especially.  I’m looking forward to Show #3.

I think I need to ask about this business with you being out of sorts at the Irish pub during show #1 and now with Show #2.  I’ve gotten several reports from folks that you are really pissed off.  I didn’t realize until it was too late during Show #1 that we’d run out of champagne.  A simple mention and I would have bought beer for the whole crew.

The Italian restaurant was a place to hang out, because folks said they were tired of the Irish pub.  I heard you stormed out (this is probably an exaggeration) and that you were mad at me. ??  I guess it is easy to blame me for the beer that the Italian restaurant didn’t have, but that sounds silly.

I realize I’m the boss, and I need to have broad shoulders.  But, ever since the “letting go” of Ashley’s set responsibilities, you and Kelly have (understandably) taken on a much more active role.  This has been at a great cost to the overall artistic process, but we got through it, and you two have understandably formed a bond that has felt very impenetrable and inaccessible.  This isn’t me being paranoid and it isn’t about the social aspects of this year.  I don’t care about that.  We’ve talked about that already.

But I do feel that you are both at odds with me.  I’ve dealt a bit with Kelly, because I honestly feel badly.  I think all is well there, and we did realize that Kyle loves to stir the pot.  In fact, he is one of the ones who told me you were mad at me after Saturday’s show.

You must understand that I want to get something out of these relationships and the working experience to.  I don’t enjoy feeling at odds with anyone.  Phone calls aren’t returned, I feel like the only one that will pick up the phone is Erin, I’m not sure that I deserve that.

I was feeling this way during Show #2 tech week, and then I thought it got better when you commented on how nice good it was and that “this show was art and that’s why we come back here.”  Well, if that is so, and it was my idea to push for Show #2, and it was originally an idea to do a “white” show, and I chose the version we produced and I directed it…..why do I feel excluded from the success at this point?

I have a sensitive layer too, and if I’m off base, fine.  But I would just like to know that I’m not completely an outsider in my own organization.  A returned phone call would speak volumes.

And let’s just keep this conversation between us.  Not Kelly, nor Kyle.  I would prefer to have a conversation with just the person I’m addressing.  Thanks, “The Director.”

I wanted to email him the following response but Kelly wouldn’t let me.

This email only annoys me further.  Of course I mentioned the issue with the champaign.  TWICE while it was happening and once at the end.  And you chose to take no action on the issue.  It wasn’t about beer at the Italian restaurant it was about the lack of preparation in making the reservation.  It was about making it abundantly clear that the people who make it possible for me to do my job are treated like crap.  It was about choosing a restaurant that’s too expensive for them.

I know it’s not what you meant, but I had to read the sentence four time before I realized that it was Ashley’s firing that was a great cost to the shows and not the joint efforts of Kelly and me.

As for our impenetrable, inaccessabloe bond, that really had nothing to do with this years set design fiasco.  It happened a year ago when we were drinking vodka and began to talk about our dead parents.  (Never get drunk and talk about serious issues).  We’ve been talking ever since and the situation this year has only made us realize how well we work together.

As for not being accessible, if you weren’t so fucking needy we wouldn’t keep you at arms length.  You call me at least ten times a day, and Kelly you call about 50 times a day.  Just yesterday, on our day off, you called me while I was talking to my mom.  And instead of leaving a message you immediately called Kelly, and asked her to come down to my room and see if I was here.  Believe it or not we all have more to do than wait around for your phone calls.  And sometimes on Monday, our day off, we want to do fun things.  Like go to the movies.  Or the Parade of Homes.  Or to get pedicures.  Or our hair cut.  Or to do laundry.  Or you know, all the things we have to do on our day off.

And just so you know.  KYLE is an ASS.  That’s with a capital A.  S.  S.  His only purpose in life is to create as much drama as is humanly possible.  I did not fucking storm out of the restaurant.  If you think that was storming, you should have seen me before I started taking medication.  I got up, with the crew, and walked quietly out of the restaurant.  So tell Kyle, that if he’s going to exaggerate to make sure that I’m not going to find out about it.  As for his stirring the pot.  The only reason he’s able to stir the pot is because you allow it to happen.  You have the power to stop it and you choose not to.  Until you say that to him it’s going to continue to be a problem.

I didn’t respond to the email the way I wanted to in the above statements.  Kelly assured me that it was a bad idea.  So I ignored him till early evening last night.  And then I called him.  And we talked.  And I smoothed everything over.  And made nice.  I told him I was upset but that it was no big deal.  And I let him think all is well.  And I suppose it is.  You can’t stay mad forever.  Can you?  And getting mad at him only makes the situation worse.  So we drink beer, and bitch.  And drink more beer and try to get through the season.  And try not to punch any holes in the wall.

Of course we still have one more opening to go.  How do you think he’ll fuck the crew this week?

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9 thoughts on “Intercourse, Pennsylvania — Day 34

  1. Lemuel June 25, 2008 / 05:12

    “…How do you think he’ll fuck the crew this week?”

    My guess would depend on whether or not he has read “The Idiot Director’s Guide to the Kama Sutra”. He certainly is into doing it every which way but loose.

  2. Rick June 25, 2008 / 05:34

    My God. What a shit show. That’s one thing I don’t miss about the theater – everyone’s egos. They get in the way of the art.

  3. Mike June 25, 2008 / 06:02

    I would have sent the email. You are a bigger man than I.

  4. sortedlives June 25, 2008 / 19:28

    Of course we still have one more opening to go. How do you think he’ll fuck the crew this week?

    Hopefully, he will bring and use lube this time…

    I’m just sayin’ 😉

  5. "Joe" June 25, 2008 / 20:37

    I don’t know . . . . . I think I’d be prepared to bring my own lube

  6. Bill June 25, 2008 / 20:43

    Howdy! I’ve been away from blogville because I’m adjusting to a new job that kinda fell in my lap. I’ve enjoyed catching up on your blog this evening. The phrase ‘never a dull moment’ comes to mind.
    The Director clearly is not capable of realizing how badly he has disrespected the crew. I don’t know what planet he came from, but he needs to be sent back. Even if the bonehead had bought beer for the crew, the message would have still been wrong. You don’t provide champagne for the cast and their friends & family, and buy a grudging round of beers for the lowly crew. I’m glad you stood up for them and made them feel valued. That Director is a socially retarded egomaniac.

  7. urspo June 25, 2008 / 23:54

    a good exercise is to write these sorts of letters or emails; but for goodness sakes don’t send them.
    bravo for you for not stooping to his sort of behavior.

  8. Aaron June 30, 2008 / 17:08

    Your director is clearly a passive/aggressive shit-stirrer. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t even drop the names of people who’d commented behind your back. And to use the word “silly” to dismiss the understandable grievances of your crew members proves that he’s a walking cliche. Also, he’s obviously as paranoid as he claims not to be.

    “I realize I’m the boss”

    Does he? Does he, really? Because it sounds to me like he doesn’t understand the first thing about working with people. BIG part of being a boss, as it turns out…and he needs to realize that if you start fucking with people, they WILL find a way to fuck you back.

  9. Aaron June 30, 2008 / 20:44

    Oh, and one other thing: when he wrote “I am so happy I could just die,” I would have asked him in the reply when he intended to make good on the promise.

    SEE? SEE how much more evil you could be? You’re still nicer than we are. 🙂

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