Don't Be A Jerk, Help Out With Strike
- OnStage Founder & Editor-in-Chief
Note: This mostly pertains to local and educational theatre productions.
It happens on almost every production. The final curtain closes, the audience leaves, the tech crew begins to strike the set and most, if not the entire, cast vanishes into thin air. Which, mostly in local or college theatre, leaves behind a small crew responsible for undoing weeks of building, hanging, sewing, etc. If you ever want to find a prime example of animosity between actor and crew, here it is.
It never makes sense to me when I see actors slip out of having to help out with strike. Primarily because if the time period was reversed, the actor's would be struggling to get their show off the ground. What if the tech crew decided not to build the set? Or the seamstress not to alter the sizes of costumes? Or the prop master not organizing the prop table?
In theatre, we rely on each other to not only open a production, but to close it as well. As tedious and long as strike can be, the usual reason for this is because there aren't enough hands to make it less tedious and long. If everyone pitched in and did what they were assigned to do, strike could move very quickly. I understand that this will not be the case with many professional theatres but for college, high school and community theatres, it really makes a difference
I was once in a production of Honk! and the stage manager made sure every last cast and crew member was present and accounted for. Better yet, we all had assigned jobs to do. That strike was completed in less than 2 hours.
I've also been on the other side where most of the cast disappeared and left a small crew having to take down a two floor house set. That strike lasted about 7 hours.
So if you find yourself complaining about how long strike is going, rather than moaning, pick up a broom and get to work. These crew members worked their tails off for you to have sets, costumes, props, lights, etc. The least you could do is help them take it all down.
If anything, at least ask the tech director, stage manager or whoever is in charge of strike, if they need help before leaving the theatre.
Plus, most times you get to use a screw gun, which is always fun.