Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity is forever.

The utter stupidity of people never ceases to amaze me.

I have a friend, a local actress, that was working with a local theatre's comedy improv company. I say was, because as of today, she was let go. Mind you, she's probably the most trained member of that group, has formal and informal credits up the wazoo, takes her art very seriously, and therein seems ot have been the issue. She was evaluated as being too serious for comedy improv.

What a load of crap.

I have seen her perform, and she was one of the best up there during the skits. (She probably was number two, behind this one guy who was very good.) It seems as though the powers that be that run this circus act seem to think that during rehearsals, she was too serious, and that she didn't loosen up enough. Excuse me, but, at the end of the day, what counts is what happens on stage during performance, period. From what I can tell, she was just fine, very loose, not nervous, and very quick as far as the routines were conencerned. (Short-form improv, a la "Whose Line Is It Anyway?")

Now, there was a small problem with one skit that they were planning to do, based on horror movies. She had an incident happen to her many years ago in which a friend of hers was killed, and while she was willing to participate in the skit, she just asked that nothing be directed at her eyes or neck. Of course, the heads of the troupe were a little shocked by what she told them, but, she never expected them to react the way they did.

So I get a phone call from her today, and she tell me they let her go. No explanantion other than what I described above, refusing to give her any other reason.

In essence, they fired her for being human.

So, they let go someone that could have been an asset to them with just a little more time to adjust to this style of performing, (she had been there about 8 months.) instead of trying to approach her and extend a hand to help. They blew it, and as I also found out, they never really made her feel totally welcome in the group, which didn't help matters any.

I am here to listen to her, but I know this has killed her self-esteem big time. She is a talented childrens educator, she uses improv and theatre to create innovative programs for kids, and I have seen the letters of commendation and outright gushing over what she has created for a variety of children's organizations. Oh, and in case you were wondering, she's acted in off-Broadway, regional, and London West End shows, so she's no slouch.

As far as I'm concerned, this improv group is run by a team of trained monkeys. For now, the best I can do for her is lend an ear, and hopefully offer some suggestions.

7 comments:

Peter said...

Being fired her for being human has become the new trend in 2009:
it hit the private sector many years ago ("hey, you can be outsourced to China"), but now part of the art world has apparently succumbed to this weird disease.

VioletSky said...

Inexcusable.
A theatre troupe that is genuinely supportive of each other shows in their performances. I hope she gets over this and through it finds a better place for her acting.

Jay said...

It certainly doesn't sound like a very nurturing environment for the poor woman, so she's probably better off somewhere else, although, as you say, it will have knocked her confidence for six.

How insensitive and stupid of them.

having my cake said...

Jealousy, fear, ego and other negative emotions all seem to have been part of the reason for her problem. She should be thanking her lucky stars she no longer has to be repressed by such negative characters.

Mr. Nighttime said...

All - Thank you all for the kind words. There is actually more than meets the eye here, as I have come to find out. Amongst other things, she is one of two people ever to be fired from this group, the other person being of a minority group.

There is more that I am not at liberty to discuss, but suffice it to say that the shit will hit the fan on this.

VioletSky said...

So, she could become an unintended (unwilling?) catalyst for change? Sounds like it could be nasty for everyone, deservedly so for some.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Hmm, this sounds as though she's too good for them, and they can't handle it...jealousy, etc. People really DO destroy, cut down, when they feel jealous, have fragile egos.

Now, she should be thinking, why would she want to stay with people who don't appreciate her? It's like a bad relationship. Leave, so that the good ones will come.