Better Look Busy

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on January 27, 2020 by RobALott

Want to look busy during strike without any actual responsibility?

Just go to center stage and stare up into the fly space. Every once in a while make a gesture like something needs to be moved up there.

The actual work will get done and you won’t have to do any of it.

(Just a heads up, though. You might fool the others who are looking to get out of the work and responsibility, but you won’t fool those who are doing the actual work or are taking the responsibility. That might have some long term consequences.)

No Apologies Necessary

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff on January 20, 2020 by RobALott

“If an audience member takes the time to approach you and tell you that they enjoyed the show, you graciously take the compliment and thank them.

You don’t tell them that you hated that show, and rattle off all the things that went wrong.”

-Randy Cabral

I only learned this after apologizing for far too many shows, and then dealing with the awkward conversation after.

“Oh, I’m so sorry you had to see that.”

“Oh, that was not our best show.”

“I hope you come back and see a better show.”

“I wish you had been at the early show. That was the good one.”

We don’t always have as much control over a good or bad show as we think we might. And we don’t get to tell an audience how they should feel about the show they saw.

Apologize to your cast, sure.

Apologize to your stage manager, yes.

But the audience doesn’t care to hear your apology. Pretty much ever.

Off The Stage And Out The Stage Door…

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on December 23, 2019 by RobALott

To Those of Us Who Spend Any Amount of Time on Stage,

We are so often easily recognized off the stage. Our audiences have spent anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours investing their time and emotions in us, our character, and our story.

Let’s make sure our behavior off-stage continues to represent our performance, our show, and (bonus points), our producer well.

Out of makeup, out of costume, and out of the spotlight — we are still being watched. No need to perform, but let’s not tarnish our performance or our audience’s experience with out of character off-brand behavior.

As A Theatrical Director…

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on December 16, 2019 by RobALott

As a theatrical director, I give verbal notes to cast, crew, and design teams at the beginning and end of each day’s rehearsal. These contain observations for adjustments to improve performances, as well as technical, and design elements. My comments are critical, which means they are a product of my analysis toward accomplishing a better result. I make an evaluation as to quality and effectiveness.

Giving notes must not mean that I am judgmental in a mean-spirited or arrogant way. To have value, my critiques must be constructive, informative, understandable, and above all doable. Otherwise they are just a scold. My observations must “serve the work” and make our production stronger, richer, smarter, and more engaging. A director’s notes are worthless, hollow words if they don’t move us all toward greater artistic achievement. This would be true for anyone in a supervisory position in any organization.

Hatch! by C. McNair Wilson

If Relevance Is The Aim…

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Thoughts on Leadership on October 7, 2019 by RobALott

….then we must have the courage to ask and recognize where we’re out of touch.

We absolutely must have the courage to ask where our blind spots are, and the wisdom, then, to ask for help.

What To Do With Mistakes

Posted in A Note to Directors, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on September 30, 2019 by RobALott

I received an email a couple days ago from a notable organization letting me know of a service that was soon going to be available.

A few minutes later I received another email from the same organization saying they had made a mistake, the service was not yet available, and they apologized for the extra email and inconvenience.

Did I immediately distrust the organization?

No. On the contrary. I immediately trusted the organization more for quickly recognizing their mistake, owning it, and apologizing.

They didn’t try to cover it up with a “What we meant was…” email.

They didn’t wait to see if anyone would notice.

They didn’t try to spin it with a “No, you must have read it wrong. The misunderstanding is on your end…” email.

They recognized it, owned it, apologized for it, and now I trust them more because of it.

***

Avoid mistakes, absolutely.

But mistakes are going to happen. And like all matters of value, decide ahead of time how you’ll respond when a mistake is made.

A Team Is Only As Good…

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin' on August 5, 2019 by RobALott

“A team is only as good as its weakest member.“

Wrong.

A team is only as good as its ability to compensate for its weakest member.

We will all be weak in a skill or a subject for a moment, or a day, or a season.

It’s a team’s ability to rally, support, and have the back of its members when they are struggling that determines its strength.