"Without us, actors would be late, naked, and in the dark."
One of my favorite quotes in regards to tech theatre (via jamzm)
This is actually my least favorite quote in regards to tech theater- I have heard many variations of it, seen it on tshirts, etc and it always pisses me off.
The superiority complex that so many technicians/designers have over actors is frankly just stupid. Obviously we high and mighty technicians deign to bestow our marketable skills upon you pitiful, helpless actors in our bountiful free time.
My job has no purpose without actors. I depend on them for my livelihood. My job title is “stage manager-” a stage with nothing on it does not need a manager. We coexist, a symbiotic relationship, like sharks and those little sucker fish that follow the sharks around.
The respect that I have for actors is enormous. It takes skill, hard work, passion, and training, and a level of determination and self-sacrifice that few professions require. I have no illusions about my skill (or lack thereof) as an actor. Without technicians, an actor is “a naked person standing on a dark and empty stage, trying to emote.” I beg to differ. An actor, a decent actor anyway, any actor worth his salt, would not allow a lack of technical assistance to prevent him from telling his story to the audience. He would find some clothes, he would find a light switch, and he would not try to emote. He would act.
It is true that there are sometimes actors who don’t understand what goes into the technical aspect of a production- take, for example the tech process of a musical I recently worked on. We were having sound issues, namely the orchestra was overpowering the cast due to their placement in the house. The cast couldn’t hear themselves in the monitors, no one in the audience could hear them, etc. Instead of working through it, they were angry with our sound designer- Why can’t he just turn down the volume? It’s too loud! They had no concept of how difficult it is to mix a live orchestra, and no trust in the designer to fix the problem as best he could until we could find a more permanent solution (ie, moving the orchestra into another part of the building entirely & just using the monitors).
However, this goes both ways. I recently worked on a production that had a large, moving scenic element that rotated without a fixed point. The actors were moving this unit themselves without a run crew of any kind, and unanimously told me that it was very difficult to move and control- they needed handles. When I relayed this information to the scenic designer, he replied “They don’t need handles. They’re actors. You can’t expect them to figure out how to rotate it correctly on their own.” When we showed him that the way the actors were moving the unit was exactly the way they had been instructed to and it was still unnecessarily difficult, he agreed to the addition of handles.
Basically what this all boils down to is respect. Respect for other artists. Respect for another person’s work. Having enough respect for someone else as a person to view their work as art. Respect for the creative process. Eliminating the sense of “the other” or “the inferior” so that all members of a company are viewed as equals.
Theatre is a collaborative art, y’all. Truly the most collaborative art form in existence, and without respecting your co-collaborators, where are you?
Well put. There are MANY students in Tumblr who tend to think that a “high school” mentality of theatre is a constant, when in fact holding such a mindset will relegate you to “hobby actor/techie” (and GOD do I hate the word “techie”) status. Theatre is collaborative, and must be if any of us are going to survive in this business. Placing yourself above another within the same trade is career suicide at best. There is little profit in what we do as it is. If we start cannibalizing our own industry out of pride, then who do we have left. There are MANY who don’t want fine art to thrive as a business, and we as a collective cannot afford to divide ourselves simply to conquer our own egos
Sometimes it takes a working professional’s perspective to put the industry into focus.