Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Broken Trust

Today was a very inauspicious first day of tech.  We got about as far as I expected us to, that wasn't the problem.

When we first showed up today the production manager came up to me and was like: "Kaylee, I have some bad news."  So of course it couldn't be good.  As it turned out, one of our crew members had dropped that morning before tech and we didn't have a replacement for her.

I spent much of my first hour in the theatre trying to find a replacement.  I called in one of my asms from a previous show and she filled in until she unexpectedly had to leave after dinner.  Then we just did the show (frustratingly because we don't have extra people) without that last person.

Luckily, we did find someone who was able to fill in every other day of tech and the run.  Unfortunately, it's an actor/director with power issues and an attitude problem.  I am so looking forward to having them backstage.

Then came the part of the day that just makes me incredibly mad.  When it got to be dinner break three of our actors came out on the stage and announced that their wallets had been stolen from their zipped bags in the dressing rooms.  And unfortunately two of these actors were seniors who had just received their graduation money and thus had a fair deal of cash in their wallets.

The three actors were just devastated.  I spent the first twenty minutes of my dinner break consoling them and helping them look.  Then I went and bought the two who had no other money dinner and came back and talked with them some more.  I ended up sending on of the actors, one of the most responsible and sweetest actors up to the balcony, because he was looking like he wanted to throw something.  I know that feeling and he needed to be alone.

Ten minutes later I went up and talked to him and I have never quite heard someone sound that broken.  He was beyond tears and he admitted several times that the hardest part for him was not that his wallet had been taken.  The hardest part was that if most likely had been taken by someone in the cast, someone who he had trusted completely before this.

It's not well known outside of theatre, but there is a great deal of trust between the actors, crew, etc.  Tablets, computers, wallets, even money frequently gets left out in dressing rooms because no outside intruders can get in and just no one would ever steal it.  I've never heard of theft in a theatre before. Ever.  And the fact that someone would break that trust, that complete and utter trust and that comes with people working on a show together, that is just devastating.

Once everyone was back from dinner the production manager made an incredibly somber announcement, urging whoever had taken the wallets to return them, no questions asked.  We then did a sweep of the dressing rooms with each actor looking through their own bag, unfortunately nothing turned out.  We would have called the police at that point, but the production manager and program director did one more sweep of the bags and found that the wallets had been returned to the original bags at some point after everyone made the sweep.

I'm very glad that everything was returned, but I'm also sadden that someone in my cast (or crew) would do that to their fellow actors.


As a result of those thefts, we also offered to lock everyone's valuables up in the safe backstage.  Most actors took me up on that offer and I was handed twenty+ wallets, purses, keys, cell phones.  It was almost awe inspiring, the trust those actors had in me.  I don't particularly like power and this was even more dangerous than most.  The fact that so many actors and children trusted me so completely is...heady, but not in a particularly good way.