Instilling Fear Unto Others: My Way or No Way

An opening song to warm you up for this posting.

This isn’t about having to choose between two men (damn).  It’s about picking sides, or feeling like you have to pick sides.  I’m going to put my life drama in the spotlight…theatre.  Ah, theatre.  My first love, my companion, so many different layers of enjoyment and fulfillment I receive from you.  Unfortunately, there are those who love you so much that they ruin it for others who are just as passionate.

I’m going to tell a story about a theatre company far away, close to home, but far from home at the same time.  This theatre wants to go from community theatre to professional aka offer Equity contracts, build up the donations, hire big names…far enough right?  Right now they focus on musicals and Shakespeare as a community theatre in repertory, but they want to cut Shakespeare and aim to become a LORT (level whatever) theatre and focus only on musical theatre.  What about those who still want to be paid and pro  in BOTH?  Or what about those who want to just focus on SHAKESPEARE?  I’ve seen the classical actors hold their tongues when they had to dance in 42nd Street.  Or what about those who do this as a hobby?  It seems as though the decision was made not in consideration of the other three groups.  EDIT:  All because of a disagreement between the fight coach and the artistic director. Where do they go?  For someone like me, I like to do both musicals and Shakespeare and it would be awesome to become a professional in both but…at the same time, I make a sufficient amount of money where if I didn’t get good paying shows…my job can supplement my passion.  See?  There’s that word again.  I’m passionate about theatre.

Then I got this email this morning; the director announces that anyone who does not want to aim for AEA or produce professional musical theatre can leave, and will not be able to come back.  Aka…go with the fight director.  He might as well have said that.

Side Note:  I talked to said director about this posting, he’s okay with it as long as its all ambiguous and anonymous.  Don’t ask, I will not reveal who it is or the name of the company.

Wait, wait…wait.  Why?  Why would someone want to cut off an entire group like that?  Or, why would someone threaten his company like that…so that they won’t leave?  It’s theatre…people will audition and go where the work is at.  They will follow the paycheck if that is their goal.

“If you’re unhappy enough to go to another theatre company, you’re obviously unhappy here.”

That’s not always true.  I’m sorry, it’s not.  There is such a thing as exploring other adventures or quenching curiosity.

If people feel like they cannot leave without paying a consequence put forth by someone dealing with insecurity (or plotting revenge on the person who hurt them)…a tension will begin to grow in your company.  There will be tension between those to brown nose/strongly establish an alliance, those who are Switzerland (neutral) and those who want to leave, but feel trapped because they fear there might not be other options if they leave what they have now.  Especially with all the great things coming up for the company, you certainly don’t want to leave now, do you?

And we come to the magic word of this post…fear.  Instilling fear into others is low.  Very low.  It’s being a big bully.  It means you have power not because people respect you, but because they fear you.  I called the director and informed him that I would not be a part of this company anymore due to the fact that I don’t want to choose sides and most of all, I don’t want to feel trapped.  I will not associate with those who bash Shakespeare and will go on to explain how much they love musicals.  I will not associate with those who are on the extreme of the other side.  If there’s no respect for other art forms within this company, I will have no part in it and find another adventure.  Turns out, the director didn’t want to lose me.  How funny.  So for right now, I’m staying but if I find something better, I will move on and hopefully the director and my fellow actors and designers will respect my decision and not assume that I’m betraying anyone.  I used to be that pleaser of all sides, but it turned into an emotional roller coaster and having to switch sides and it tore me apart.  So I’m going to be selfish.  I’m in this for me.  And if you compromise my goals, dreams and aspirations in a negative way, I’ll leave.  Simple as that.  No hard feelings, and nothing but good wishes on the way.  Basically, if you ask me to choose and pick one or the other under the conditions that I spoke about…you’ll most likely be disappointed with my choice and the choice of others who have a strong will.

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