In our last show, we built a proscenium in a black box. Our ‘just out of school’ SM insisted we build a rail around the front of the stage, as ‘if an actor fell off, it would ruin her future career’. (Stupid comment number 4216 in my book.) She threatened to quit if we didn’t build a railing across the proscenium. We didn’t, and she didn’t quit – unfortunately.
For the past 6 years, I’ve made myself an advocate, near martyr for the theatre as a whole. No one wants to give a shit about the theatre, just their career. (Maybe as I've given up on having a 'career,' I'm free to be the janitor.) What I’ve done, I’ve done willingly and never asked for a single thank you – though I gotten 2 or 3. I did it freely, at huge risk to my mental and physical health. Last week, in the ICU, it didn’t look like I would make it, and I was OK with that. It made me take note of the things I have and haven’t accomplished. Among those were changes to the 34 year old Equity Showcase code or the pay-to-play audition scams that pervade our industry. Yet, I cannot do these things alone, and actors, who feel themselves minions and not artists, are mostly too afraid to step forward and defend themselves for fear of repercussion. As a theatre, we’re worse off than we were 100 years ago. But I cannot fight for people unwilling to stand up for themselves. We’ve been trained to be talented, agreeable drones. There’s no art there. (See the previous column.)
ReGroup is in its 6th year. We’ve never made a single cent. At this point, it’s understandable, but every time we announce a show, it gets poached from us by one of 2 theatre companies. HOW RIDICULOUS?! I can understand this shit happening in Hollywood, where there’s MONEY being made, but poaching 80 year old forgotten scripts that don’t make money, is just ridiculous.
And Equity doesn’t care. I criticized Madame President, whom I campaigned heavily for, for being a jock sniff for Hamilton in a multi-page Variety essay. When there are so many pressing issues ready to tear Equity apart, she writes a fluff piece promoting Hamilton. Just what the 50,0000 members need!
And as far as Equity protecting its members, a union member who saw our last production for free – with his union card - interrupted the show, then posted all kinds of nasty shit about us and me – including he hopes I need more brain surgery, I’m so fat, etc – online, while blocking us from responding – Equity can’t do anything about that? (Even though there are whole websites where he’s done the same to other theatres, yet has NO credits himself.) I wrote Equity about the problem, to which they replied, I need to put my complaint in writing. ?????????????????????
So, maybe, when I’m feeling better, I’ll take the one foot off the proscenium. Maybe not. I can’t fight battles for drones too weak to stand up for themselves, even when that means fighting their own union.
We get the theatre we deserve.
Until we breed a braver class; I think I am done.