The Status Quo Can Suck It

When people just blindly accept life as it is, and do nothing to try to change the wrong-doings of morons, pisses me off to no end. Even if it’s something small, it’s obnoxious. If you don’t agree with the way something is happening, but never open your mouth in an attempt to change it, then you’re just as bad as the people who are wronging others.

I’m going to get a little personal with this one, because this has been weighing on my mind a lot the last few months. And it probably seems small to some people, but whatever.

Let me also state that if you’re in a job where everyone’s a bastard and stupid shit goes down and you say nothing…word. In this economy, you’re lucky if you have a job. The employers know it, and know they can do pretty much whatever they want, and if you don’t like it, there’s someone else who’ll do the job for less money and more silence. So status quo in that sort of situation is fine and dandy–if it keeps you in a job that (sort of) pays the bills, then right on.

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m an “actor.” Community level, so it’s a whole volunteer, do it because you love it thing. Which has a lot of great moments. A few years ago when I was living in a more heavily populated area, there were bunches of theatres to choose from, and most of them had a show in rehearsals while another was in production, and some even had two shows going at once. Sure, the competition was tougher, but still…lots to choose from. However, a couple of years ago, I was forced to move back to the podunk town in which I went to high school. Which, judging from all of my research, had no community theatre to speak of.

Super.

But, lo and behold, a few weeks after the big move, my mother found an ad for an audition; turns out the town had a community theatre, but only put on one show a year…until then. So, fast forward through me auditioning and participating in the next three shows, and we wind up in the space after the late spring/early summer musical. To fill in the time and put butts in seats, TPTB decided to put up a musical revue–no sets, no costumes, just singing and dancing, so mostly profit. Anyway, I auditioned, then left town for a week to visit some friends and be in a wedding. In the interim, I received an email telling me I was in it and what numbers I was in. Sweet. I get back into town for rehearsals and play crazy catchup–I’d missed a week of voice work and choreography, but pretty much caught up like a champ, but as rehearsals that week were progressing, I noticed a lot of things that didn’t sit right with me; there were a few people who were singled out for solos, and the rest of the cast was pretty much ignored. Even the stage manager had a solo. Do you think I was one of the chosen ones? Hell no. I found it wildly insulting that there were specific people that had been singled out to NOT sing in this show that had an abundance of opportunities for people to shine; so many that most of those who had solos had MULTIPLE solos. Go figure that one. The director had even singled himself out to have a few moments in the lime light. There was one guy (a former student of the director, I might add) who had five or six numbers, while the other guys were lucky to have one, if any. There was a girl who’d been at fewer rehearsals than myself, who had several solos, and was actually still finding out about these pieces after I’d been back for a week. Does this make any sense? I decided to try to soldier on, until about after a week of rehearsals, I rehearsed Seasons Of Love for the first time. I was excited, until I found out that the director had let the music director (another former student of his–go figure) reinterpret this number into something that was…unspeakable. I was actually physically ill after hearing it mangled like this, and I felt I might cry.

That night, I dropped out. I even sent an email to the stage manager explaining why, though I was too much of a chicken shit to ever check her response.

A month or so after this, I found out that I was directing the Christmas show (and yes…found out. Long story). The show itself turned out fantastic, though there was quite the cluster fuck getting there, not the least of which was that they’d never bothered to acquire an actual script before auditions, and then seemed surprised when the scripts were back ordered. (Wow…really?! The scripts for the Christmas shows were back ordered in October? No kidding.) Anyway, a couple of shows later, and we’re back at summer. It was this past June, and we were deep into rehearsals for the latest musical, and auditions for the next revue were on the horizon. It turned out that they were on a day (that’s right…day. Singular. This theatre has decided that one day of auditions is more than enough time for everyone who is interested to get there) that not only did I have to work, but also, immediately after work, I had to drive across the state to get to my friend for her baby shower. So, I sent an email to…someone (the theatre has a general “info” address, and at least four or five people have access to the account, so it’s anyone’s guess who reads these things) asking if there was another day I could audition (usually, with community theatre, there are two days of auditions, plus a day of call backs, and the director will usually let latecomers audition at call backs, or arrange another time within reason). Fortunately, I saved the email response, which was:

 

I regret to say that Saturday is the only audition date that will work with the production staff’s schedules this week. If you would like, you can tape your audition and submit that. We really had to push to clear this Saturday with everyone’s schedule. Just let us know if you want to send a tape!

Thanks!

 

You read that correctly…a tape. A fucking tape. I could send in a fucking tape. Isn’t that nice? Apparently, Small Town, USA is now the host of American Idol and can request video tapes for an audition. Please bear in mind that I received this email a week before the auditions, and I had rehearsals (for a MUSICAL) every night that week, never mind work during the day. But sure, I have a god damn audition tape just laying around. Let’s just ignore the fact that I was singing every night, and the director for the revue was usually nosing in at the musical rehearsals, and that there was constantly a pianist available for me to perhaps audition before or after a rehearsal one evening. Let’s also ignore that the auditions were the 11th or so of June, and rehearsals for the revue wouldn’t start for another three weeks. Clearly, there was no time in between for an audition.

I also love that whoever composed the email didn’t have the BALLS to sign it, so I have no idea which bastard sent it.

I’d also like to add that there was at least one other person who wanted to audition and received the same treatment…and she’s a board member.

A brief note on the board members; for the most part, they’re a bunch of worthless bastards, just a large waste of space. Mostly just interested on being on a board rather than working on a community theatre. Rehearsals are frequently pushed back or forced to be quiet because the board is having a meeting in the theatre during rehearsal times. Make sense of that one; clearly, it’s more important for a bunch of rich nobodies to be able to hear each other babble than rehearse the show that is supposed to be the focus of the theatre. Through the course of my current job, I have regular contact with a board member; she comes in twice a week to get a shampoo/set. I’ll call her Miss Wilbur. More on that.

It also turned out that there were several people who auditioned for this revue and were not cast, but also several people who did NOT audition but were asked to join the cast. The director (the same director from the first revue…I’ll call him Corbot) also cast himself again, giving himself several large numbers. (I should also mention that he’s cast himself in all of the recent shows he has directed, but has not once auditioned for something he hasn’t directed). Once I found out about this, I actually mentioned the course of events to Miss Wilbur when she asked if I was going to be in this show. Her response: “Well, maybe things will change.”

Whiskey.

Tango.

Foxtrot.

Nice response from a board member, isn’t it? Not a mention of addressing it, just that maybe things would change. How, I ask. By osmosis? Fuck, man. For whatever reason, I went to see this show. Corbot was enthusiastic, but has no real singing ability. Not surprising. The musical director even managed to have a couple of numbers (yet ANOTHER former student of the director’s). Overall…yeah. I did the polite thing during Corbot’s numbers and pulled out my book and read. I never said I wasn’t passive agressive.

After every show, the cast lines up in the lobby so all the old biddies can shake hands with the cast and say “It was just like Broadway!” Usually during this time, there are a few board members lurking about behind the bar, cleaning up. On this occasion, as I was going through the line, one of the board members said that it was strange not seeing me out there. So I told her why, and she seemed quite shocked. I don’t know if she passed it along, but at least it was mentioned.

What kills me is that the board member who was shunned seemed just fine and dandy with the events, when she should have been raising hell about this sort of behavior in general, if not personally.

The day after the musical ended, I posted pictures from a cast party we’d had the night before. Nothing terribly incriminating, just people having fun. Almost immediately, this busy-body who doesn’t work for the theatre and isn’t on the board contacted me via Facebook and the show’s stage manager, telling me that I had to take those pictures down ASAP because they were bad for the theatre’s image. The fuck? She wasn’t even a FB friend of mine, so how she saw the pictures was beyond me. She said there were red solo cups in the pictures and that meant drinking. Again…the fuck? Actually, it doesn’t. All plastic cups mean is that there is a large number of people present and you don’t want to risk you nice glassware being damaged. That is fucking all. Personally, I was drinking water…out of a red solo cup. I had to block this crazy bitch from my FB after that; it wasn’t even the first time I’d had her magically nosing into my business. See, some time before this, I’d requested to be her FB friend and was turned down, so she lost any right to poking through my shit.

At this point, I figured I was done with this place; there was no need to stick around an environment that clearly favors certain people, but treats the rest like crap. However, the Christmas show came around and I was encourage to audition by the director–she’s a good person, and since I’d harassed her into auditioning for my show the year before, I figured I’d do the same for her. Anyway, was cast in the show, huzzah. As rehearsals roll along, I spent some of my down time talking to a couple of people who were in the revue a few months before. Not much good to say about it, either. Apparently Corbot and his former students liked to sit around and talk about the rest of the cast members and make snide comments. Classy. There were also several who showed no commitment toward the show (one in particular was actually a chick who was in the musical with me, and she showed that exact same behavior). At this point, there was another revue on the horizon, and one of the people I was speaking to was seriously questioning if she even wanted to go through that again–she’d been treated fairly harshly during the course of the show, including the musical director playing her solo number in an entirely different key the first two nights of the show. On purpose. Then yelled at her for not singing along. The third night, however, she waited on stage for him to fix the issue–didn’t sing until he did, so good for her. Anyway, she’d seemed overall unhappy about the situation. But, she wound up auditioning for the revue anyway. Another person settling for the status quo.

Some point during the rehearsals, Corbot decided he had to be the person running lights or something. I’m still not sure–he was in the booth, but I can’t tell you what he was doing, actually. He was rude and disrespectful during some rehearsals, which I called him out on at one point (and several cast members were cheering me on for that afterward, so I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt that way). So, jump to the week of the show (that’s right…all that work for five performances); it was Saturday night, and we closed on Sunday. It was actually near the end of the show, and I was waiting backstage for my next move, when one of the kids came up to me and said that I had to go to the dressing room and see the cards the theatre had given us because I was making a funny face. (After every show, the board sends out thank you cards; they’re usually somewhat personalized with either a cast photo, or a production photo that features a specific person) So, I went to check it out, and when I opened my envelope, I pulled out a postcard–one of the postcards the theatre produces for each show to send out to their mailing list and to have people pass around town. A postcard. Not a card that was in the envelopes of everyone else (the aforementioned kid looked through all the cards to see if I was the only one), but a fucking postcard. I was stunned and…yeah, there are still no words for it.

At this point, I had maybe one more block of dialogue and one more song before the show was done for the night. I thought I was going to vomit, and wasn’t even sure if I could manage through the rest of the show. There were a couple of people nearby who asked me what was wrong, and I think I sort of said what was wrong and that I was just done. I was done with that theatre, and just done. I barely finished the show, and instead of heading to the lobby to meet and greet, I went to change back into my regular clothes. There was no way I could suffer through acting all happy-go-lucky to these people at this point. This turned out to be the night my mom came to see the show, so I grabbed her as I was leaving the theatre, saying I’d tell her what was wrong when we got to my car. Once there, I prefaced it by saying I was probably blowing it out of proportion, then explained as I sobbed. She made me say it a couple of times, mainly because I think she didn’t quite get what I was saying. Once she realized, though, she was beyond pissed off, and it felt nice to have her in my corner for once. I told her that if I didn’t respect the hell out of the director, I wouldn’t even come back for the final show. She finally asked if I wanted her to go back inside and talk to the director. I told her it wasn’t the director’s fault; the cards were from the board members and the director isn’t a member, but finally said to go in and vent. I want to be ashamed that my mom went in to fight this battle for me, but there was nothing I could do but continue to sob at that point (the unfortunate part about being me is that, no matter how mad I get, I always cry first. It’s obnoxious and it makes it hard to get a point across), and I knew she’d be more articulate than myself at that moment. I don’t know exactly what was said while my mom was inside, but I know she yelled a bit and passed along my message of not even wanting to finish the show. For me to not want to finish out a show is unheard of. I’ve never felt that way before, so for me to get to that point took a lot of prodding.

Anyway, I did a bit more angry sobbing that night and the next day got ready for the matinee. I received a few communications from the woman who maintains the theatre, all of which were ignored except for the message sent to me on FB, which explained what had happened. Apparently, when writing the cards, they ran out, having used some of the card for new board members whose names didn’t make it into the program. Yeah. Instead of printing off more cards, or waiting to write cards for the board members, or waiting to distribute cards until there was a card for everyone, they figured, “Let’s just put our heartfelt thanks on a postcard. That seems like a good idea.” Remember the psycho FB stalker mentioned earlier–the one who tried to tell me what I could and couldn’t put on FB? She was the one printing the cards and just couldn’t print off any more. The person who wrote my card was the same woman who maintains the theatre, and she’s not even on the board. There’s a lot of buck passing with this whole thing, and not a bit of it made me feel better. In fact, knowing that board members had been favored over a cast member (you know, someone who was up there doing the damn thing) made the whole thing feel even more like a slap in the face, especially considering the pileup of other crap already mentioned. There were so many ways to avoid that sort of situation, and not one of those paths were chosen.

I have decided to no longer participate with this theatre. And pretty much anyone who has asked me about it has been told about the situation. I’m spreading the word; what’s worse/better is that a lot of people who’ve asked me about it have dealt with a lot of these people before in various situations, and know that I’m not just imagining things. It kills me that there are so many other people who not only know my story, but have stories of their own and do NOTHING. They just let it go, figuring something will change somehow. But nothing will ever change until enough people are willing to stand up and make things change. The same goes for any situation.

The moral of this story is that the status quo often sucks, and people just let it go because it’s what they’re familiar with, and it’s easier than taking a stand against something. They don’t want to be the one person standing out their on their own, screaming into the wind, hoping someone will listen. I’d rather be standing out there on my own, screaming myself hoarse than idly standing by, waiting for someone else to make a change. Even if my one voice does nothing, at least I’m not enabling bullshit I don’t agree with.

 

 

 

Advertisements

~ by raspychick on February 21, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: