So there’s this picture doing the rounds on the internet:
I liked it so much I’ve ordered the t-shirt.
No, seriously. I ordered the t-shirt.
It completely nails that actor – back stage relationship. And the odd thing is that actors who swap to ‘the dark side’ for a production immediately adopt that slightly grumpy disgruntled attitude that all crew members have. It’s hilarious!
An then when they go back to acting they do modify their behaviour to be less in the way because now they have walked a mile in the tech guy’s shoes. And that experience feeds their acting: makes them more rounded, improves their performance.
As you already know I have done most jobs around the theatre and my back stage work helps my acting, and my acting helps my back stage work. Especially the stage managing and the even more so the directing. I know how both animals think and I know what they need.
Tempers still fray and frustrations still develop and none of us are perfect, we are human after all, but knowing what the other side goes through definitely helps.
What this picture also reveals is just how much theatre is all about team work. The back stage crew is a team, the cast of actors is a team, but the 2 teams also make a team. If one person, whatever their role, is not pulling their weight it causes stress for everyone else.
For example: the person in charge of lights has had weeks to make the lighting design and then rig it. They don’t get started until the last minute, they don’t have conversations until the last minute.
The whole cast and director and crew is on tender hooks praying that they will have the lighting and effects required for the play in time for the tech rehearsal. They are stressed out and worried, and it was all completely unnecessary… all because lighting was be negligent and disorganised and didn’t communicate.
In short, as a member of the theatre team make sure you are where you say you will be, and do what you say what you will do, know your job and do it. If you are having a problem talk to the team, we can sort it out together.
Or the whole thing could fall apart. Which would make weeks, if not months, of work a complete waste.
Let me tell you there is no bigger joy than being part of team that works. Everyone knows what they are doing, and they know that everyone else knows what they are doing, happy campers all round.
It is like a well oiled machine and it purrs along merrily. Best thing in the world!