Just Not On

Recently I have worked on a couple of shows that were school productions. The problem with these shows was the lack of respect and discipline from the students.  This was directed at the teachers as well as the venue staff. Performing is a discipline that requires discipline. So why are these kids not taught it. The teachers involved were part of the schools performing arts team and therefore you would think that they knew something about theatre and the correct way to behave. The overall impression was that this was not part of the subject. It is great that students are learning performance skills and getting to perform, but a really important part of that is the discipline that is an essential part of being on stage. Some would say that since it is unlikely that a majority of these students are not going to pursue a career in the performing arts, and therefore giving them a chance to get on stage is a highlight. But sorry you are wrong. Discipline is a major requirement if you are going to be on stage, even if you don’t intend to pursue a career as a performer. The discipline that you should learn will actually help you in other career choices. Life is based on discipline. So teachers of dance, drama and music need to make sure that the students are use to discipline. I hate it when we get a group of students that run amok in the venue, and the teachers look on and do very little to control this behaviour. It also gets very scary when the staff absent themselves from the venue, leaving the techs to basically baby sit a bunch of students. This is not the technicians job to mind students and tell them off. It needs to be clearly stated in the contract and verbally that the venue staff are not there to discipline and mind the students, there are there to make a show happen and to make the students look and sound great. Some common infractions include a student answering a mobile that they had on them while rehearsing. Student often have their phones on them when on stage. I have often stopped students running and leaping of the stage. This is not acceptable behaviour.

But that is not the only behaviour us techies need to worry about, there is still the audience. I have done shows were the audience has had to be told how to behave. And I am not talking about a student audience I am talking about adults. I know of at least 2 teachers that feel the need to lecture the audience on how to behave, and I hate to say it they were right in doing this. Even if the show has been officially photographed and video, parents are still busy with their phone cameras taking pictures and videos. The classic being someone videoing with an iPhone and the LED lamp was on to offer better illumination, obviously my lighting was not good enough. This is another thing that that the teachers are not stepping and stopping – have they heard of copyright? . Maybe I should stop the show until they stop taking video and pictures?

And my final rant? Using iTunes, iPods and iPhones for playing back music. I hate to say it again but this really is the pits. IPods are sort of ok but the MP3 quality is not the best. And using a phone really? Have you heard of airplane mode? oh you want to answers text messages during the show fine, but don’t blame me if things go wrong.

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