Friday, October 11, 2013

Working Backstage

I don't believe that I posted anything about this yet but I am in charge of props for my college's play which I was cut from. But it's all good considering tonight was opening night and my name was in the programme which I was actually surprised about considering I was sure my name would not be listed on there.

But anyways, being the prop person I get my own little table backstage and need to hand people stuff to  take onstage with them. I did that for the past three rehearsals and everything went smoothly. Tonight was opening night so of course everyone had to be all discombobulated because of nerves and what not. However, I don't care if you are an actor and are so nervous you are going to wet yourself onstage, under no circumstance should you ever be mean to the helpers backstage. That is a really bad thing to do. If you are mean to the people working like crazy banshees backstage how much help do you think you are going to get when you really, truly need it??

Now this is my first time ever really doing any type of backstage work. I had to build a set and tear it down for my stagecraft class but this is truly the only time I've ever had anything to do behind the scenes with the exception of the quick changes I had to do when I was an understudy. But anyways I am learning that working backstage is not something I will be doing anymore in the future, at least for this theatre. Not only do backstage people work almost as hard as the people onstage and get no recognition, at times they can also be treated poorly by the actors, which is what's happening to me at the moment.

You would think my job wouldn't be that hard, and truth be told it is not compared to other peoples. I just have to run back and forth a few times and hand people props. Simple enough right? Not when a few of the actors are being idiotic and extremely rude to you.

Three different people ran into the table FIVE TIMES. How long has this table been sitting here? That's right about a week. Why are you all running into it tonight as if it is a magical thing you can just avoid? Ugh. Then the kid in the production had his little hammer in his hand and almost knocked some glass plates off of the table and probably would have succeeded if I didn't grab his freaking hammer and catch the plates which were teetering on the edge of the table. Then people kept needing things that they haven't in the last three days!
"Hey where's the bucket at?" Where do you think it is? It has been sitting in a chair behind the first curtain ever since rehearsals began.
"Hey! I need a cigar! Give me a cigar!" Your cigars are on the table labeled "cigars." Grab one!
etc. etc. etc.

Now the girl who is playing the lead used to be my friend but after tonight I don't ever want to see her again. I refuse to be friends with divas. She has about a 5 minute break where she just stands offstage and where I have to hand her a tea tray. I made the tray up all nicely but OH NO apparently the way I set up a tea tray is not good enough because obviously I don't drink enough tea or watch enough Downton Abbey to know how tea is supposed to be set. *facepalm* So here is how this conversation went;
Lead lady: YOU need to set the tea tray up like THIS! (she moved the sugar bowl to the right and the lemon to the left. Yeah, that made a big difference). I don't want to be a diva but this is how I want it to go.
Stage manager: You need to listen to her because after all she's the one carrying the tray.
Lead Lady: Yeah. Just remember I got cast and you didn't.

EXCUSE ME? I was THIS CLOSE to punching her in the throat. Thank God she left to go back onstage or I would have freaking killed her. How dare she talk to me that way. How dare she even say that! This is a community college production, not Broadway, she has no bloody right to treat people like that. I'm not sure if I should tell the director what she said or if I should just keep it to myself. I'm not even sure if the director would care but I just want to point out that in theatre nobody needs to listen to or wants to be around a negative nelly. NOBODY. Be nice to everyone, from the person who does your hair to the guy sweeping the floors after the show has ended. Don't be like this girl.

Then there are the backstage people who are incredibly awesome until opening night. I show up at the theatre at 6:30, the play starts at 7:30 which gives me plenty of time to fix my table up for the cast. I was also wearing a green t-shirt and purple boots. Yes, that last sentence has a point, this is not fanfiction. So I start setting up my table when the stage manager comes out from the back room and is like "WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?"
"Uh green?"
"Well this is news to me. I was not informed of this rule and have no change of outfit unless you want me to go nude which I'm almost positive nobody wants to see."

Luckily the coolest lady ever, who has worked in this theatre for a long time happened to have a black "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" t-shirt in her office which she loaned me for the night so I could fit in with the backstage crew. Thank you awesome lady!

Overall it was just a hectic night filled with rudeness and meanies with the exception of only a few people. I never knew how backstage people were treated before but after experiencing this I now have a new respect for them. They put up with these divas all of the time, the first time I put up with one and I'm ready to throw a punch and go to jail. If anyone out there is reading this and if they have ever worked backstage before I want to say thank you. Without you the show would have been a huge disaster.

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