For all the wonder and joy it brings, there are some things about theatre that just ain’t so great.
Prepare to face the half-serious rendition that in no way delves into the actual problems facing theatre – that’s for another post. There will be swears. First things first:
1. Auditions. They’re lame. For everyone involved. No one truly enjoys the process. It’s simply another opportunity to pretend your socks off so you can achieve the real goal: pretending in front of people.
2. Rehearsal wear. Now you’re in the show in some way. Across the board, it’s all about comfort and zero to do with style. Anything that provides all the atmosphere of where you miss (bed) and can’t get enough of (bed) will do. Feel free to lie to yourself, but nobody looks good pre-production. Or during.
3. Warm ups. You know the ones I mean. No, not the ones that get the blood pumping, or release the tension. Those ones. The ones that the crew aim to avoid, accidentally get roped into and secretly enjoy. They are the most ludicrous invention, not least because you just have to accept the fact that you, along with the rest of them, will look like a bunch of fannies.
4. Divas. And now you’re working. My personal belief is that you can’t afford to be a diva until you’ve “made it”, and even then no one wants to work with a tool. They can be found in any area of a project – stage to wardrobe to tech – but I’d wager that, as a member of crew, it’s purely a survival tactic, otherwise nothing would get done and people would find themselves in A&E.
5. Luvviedom I. Let’s start with the elders. I like to think (but probably completely wrong on) that the old-school luvvie-generation is either on its way out, or is well under reform. Turning up pissed from lunch/the night before prior to rehearsal or a show is a rarity these days, but calming a luvvie’s temper isn’t generational, largely because it’s a bastard to tame. One of the saddest things I’ve ever witnessed is a luvvie acting up (no pun intended) in a room of younger actors and crew. They were clearly struggling with the task at hand, but the chosen coping method was to handle it by…well, not handling it. There is already a lot of pressure facing older actors – from memory to disguising ageing – but attitude towards modern practices requires a willingness to adapt. That saying: you’re only as old as you feel – if you feel old, you’ll behave as such, and it’s no different in the arts.
6. Name droppers. It’s hard to do well at the best of times. If you’re bringing up an experience from a past show to share, unless it’s relevant to said experience, it doesn’t also need a cast list to beef it up.
7. Part-time masseurs. There’s always one person who will have unbelievable massage skills, and they’re never around when you need them. I don’t hate them, per se, I hate their lacking presence.
8. Luvviedom II. Like I said, temper is not generational, it just surfaces in another way. Screaming matches, actors going awol hours before an exam, notes from techs that have nothing to do with tech, directors and costume throwing tantrums mid-show – there’s something about amateur productions that brings out the worst in the people. Just because thingy in make-up once played Hermia in a high school A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or so-and-so in lighting sung I Dreamed a Dream at a house party last week and absolutely nailed it – if the crew are all mates, job boundaries blend and a war of creative differences could kick off from god-knows-where. Actors wind up standing there not knowing who to listen or, ultimately, who’s in damn charge.
9. Writer-performers. No, that is not the same as being a writer and a performer. Stop looking at my tagline. Stop it! A writer and a performer is a person who wears the hat of a writer for one project, and wears the hat of a performer for another. A writer-performer is a writer who performs their own work. Unless you have a really good director who can handle that level of neurosis, and more importantly wants to, a canna abide ’em, cap’n.
10. Networking. No matter what any of them will tell you, it is 100% about who you know – they just don’t want to admit the game hasn’t changed. It is only marginally worse than auditions because they’re essentially the same thing.