Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pricey Acting

I'm handling costumes for a play right now and some of the performers are starting to seriously annoy me. They cannot be bothered to take a call and after seeing two or three missed calls, I still cannot expect them to call me up to find out why I was calling so urgently. They may or may not respond to my texts. They don't want to bring their costume options for checks -- because it's so much to carry around -- and they don't want to ask around for costumes that they can possibly borrow. All this when they know full well that none of us, including me, get paid for the time and effort (and sometimes even the expense) we put in.

It's as though they somehow feel that it's my job to work around their schedules and inclinations. That I am there to be of service, a person of somehow lesser account. They are all very nice to me, but some of them are quite disrespectful of my schedules and requirements.

As a theatreperson I am continually surprised by this attitude. I get it the strongest from people who only act. They know nothing of the extraneous work that makes their performance possible and they don't want to know it, because it's not that important, right? It's the performers who are carrying the show, right?

Wrong. I could send you on stage in costume with period detailing all gone haywire (and you're not smart enough or invested enough to know the difference) and people would spend more time smirking at your wrongness than admiring your performance. I could send you on stage in clothes that look better than they feel and you would spend your time in things that itch or poke or otherwise distract you. You don't know enough about your own damn costume needs to know what would help and what would not. There are dozens of ways in which I could let your lack of interest decide the tone I want to take about your costumes and believe me, you'd pay. I'd be sitting off-stage giggling my sneaky head off.

It's never a good idea to annoy your wardrobe mistress, especially when she does it for love and not money. If you make her fall out of love with your costume, you pay -- not her. Especially when this is not her livelihood.


MinCat said...

yesss!!! in college i remember i hated the cast with that attitude (sadly mostly bengali men) and it really made me rabid. i was always crew and once cast and crew and i distinctly remember helping the crew build sets when one number fellow came up and said why are you doing this? you're cast.'

dipali said...


Sue said...

MinCat -- Well, this cast was largely non-Bengali but I think this kind of behaviour just shows that they have no idea how theatre works.

Dipali -- Yup.