A love/hate relationship

I love the theater. I’ve been involved with it both on and off the stage since I was 4 years old. I can’t say that I was a model actor/dancer backstage from quite that young an age, but I had my first leading role at the age of 9. When I wasn’t on stage, I was sitting quietly backstage reading a book or doing my homework. Acting was and is a privilege, not a right, and I am of the very firm opinion that there specific rules that you follow when you have downtime. You are quiet. You do not eat in your costume. You listen to the stage manager and follow any instructions given to you by your director, whether or not they are there with you. There are 23 kids in the current production I am working on. They are on stage at the very beginning and very end of the show. In between, they run around outside and make noise. They try to buy candy from the cencession stand, which they are not allowed to do. When they are told no, they do whatever they can to get around it. And it pisses me off.
Last night I had three teenage girls (not included in the kids I just mentioned, there are 53 people in this cast) come out while I was setting up for intermission and ask to buy skittles. I said no, becasue they’re not allowed to eat in their costumes, and one of them said “I thought that was just the little kids?” and I said no, it was everyone. Then she tried to argue that skittles weren’t messy, and I told her that if I sold her candy I had to sell the everyone candy, and I wasn’t bending the rules for anyone. They went back to the dressing rooms and I went in to make sure the bathrooms were ready for intermission (TP, dry counters, etc.). I was in there for maybe 5 minutes. When I came out, I glanced into the concession stand to make sure everything was filled and ready, and noticed that there was a box that was still sealed, so I pulled it out to take the plastic off. And saw a $5 bill just sitting in there. I was livid.
I was pretty sure that it was the stage-mom who is sometimes also the assistant house manager that did it. But I couldn’t find her. Finally once intermission started I found the stage manager, asked him to tell me exactly what he wanted the rule to be, and we agreed on “as long as there is no audience around, and as long as they don’t eat in their costumes, they can buy candy”. I’m not happy with that, but it’s the stage manager’s call and I have to go along with it. Then I went backstage, and found one of the girls I had said no to with a handful of skittles.
Me: Hmm….. I *wonder* where you got skittles.
Her: (makes “caught puppy” face) I’m sorry.
Me: No. You’re not. Don’t say you’re sorry.
I was right, it was the stage om that did it. The same stage mom who was right there when I told the girls no. The same stage mom I had said no to on a previous occasion. Except that now, the kids can buy candy. I told them all not to eat it in their costumes, but of course they all did. When I went backstage at the end of the show to change the garbage cans, there were starburst wrappers all over the floor. The show closes on Sunday, and Sunday cannot come soon enough.
I had this conversation with a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago, I think it was during the third weekend of our 5 weekend run:
Judy: I forgot to put my laundry in the dryer, so Im gonna be late tonight
Jay: That is not good … how not-good is it?
Judy: eh, manageably not good
Judy: technically Im supposed to be there at six. I never get there before 6:30, but pretty much as long as Im there by 7 Im good
Jay: You work like I work 🙂
Judy: it’s a sold out house tonight, so I can’t be too late
Jay: Technically <= Actually <= Need to be there by Jay: What are you guys putting on?
Judy: Oliver
Judy: I wonder if our star will be there tonight
Jay: God – I *hope* so
Jay: Not too good a show w/o a star
Judy: well, the understudy has gone on the last two nights, and has done very well, but we held the house til 7:50 on Thursday to rehearse him
Judy: that was a little scary from a house manager perspective
Judy: don’t take this the wrong way since you’re a dad, but I hate children
Jay: LOL
Jay: I don’t
Jay: I understand completely
Judy: or rather, I hate groups of other people’s uncontrolled children
Jay: Yes, precisely
Jay: Everyone should
Jay: I think everyone *does* and those who say they don’t are lying
Judy: so this show is killing me, both in that regard and as an actor
Judy: the kids run around in the courtyard, they’re loud, they try to buy candy after intermission that they are not allowed to eat in their costumes anyway, and the backstage moms let them get away with it
Jay: Chaos ensues
Judy: the stage mom on Thursday tried to get me to sell them candy and I said no, they’re not allowed to, but apparently the other house manager lets them get away with it, and the stage mom said that, and added that there is nothing for the kids to do in the second act
Jay: Parents.
Judy: and Im like- that’s part of being an actor. bring a book, or a game boy, or a laptop with a DVD on it.
Jay: You would think that they’d learn from kids, not to play one person off against the other, but no.
Jay: Book? Book?
Jay: I can just imagine
Judy: feh.
Judy: I know everyone says “my children won’t [insert thing here]” but so help me god if my children want to be actors they will be professional about it
Jay: One would hope
Jay: That’s a word more people need to think about: Professional
Judy: and fucking take responsibility for your child
Judy: don’t just be like well, that’s how he is, or but he has nothing to do.
Judy: *gets off soapbox*
Jay: Amen, sister.
Jay: Kids out of control lead to grownups who don’t know “no”
Jay: “I know I’m right because I’m always right”
Judy: *barf*
Judy: and also HATE!
Jay: After adolescence that kind of behavior is really hard to train out too
Judy: I mean, I know Im not a parent, but criminy
Jay: I don’t think you have to be a parent to understand this – the mystery is, why so many parents *don’t*

2 thoughts on “A love/hate relationship

  1. Brad

    Being a parent is hard, and if you can’t take responsibility for your kids wherever they are, then don’t procreate.

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