"'Professional' is an attitude, not a paycheck."
That's is the basic idea that I live by when it comes doing theatre. It doesn't matter to me if I'm doing Community Theatre, or by chance, actually getting paid to act. There is a certain way to behave, there are certain things you do and don't do, when it comes to putting on shows. It's all about putting on a good show for the sake of having a good show. It's about working as an ensemble, not a crowd of extras and "small" actors vying for audience response. It is far better for the entire show to be well-received by the audience than it is for them to say, "I was too busy laughing at the antics of such and such kid to follow the plot." Which is, in my opinion, what happened with our Sunday Matinee performance.
"Professional" means that when your lead actor has gout and doesn't have an understudy, he gives the same performance with the same energy as he gave in every other performance DESPITE the excruciating pain he is in. He, quite literally, "puts on a Happy Face" and dances his ass off because the audience who paid $12 a pop DESERVES the same performance. He doesn't limp, he doesn't show pain while in front of the audience because the character doesn't have gout, the actor does.
I am quite ashamed and embarrassed of Sunday's overall show. It was not the same show that previous audiences paid to see. Honestly, some of my complaints probably weren't even noticed by the audience and maybe a little nitpicky. But, that's not the point. The point is that we worked hard for two months in order to put on a great show. Once the run starts, that's the show. It is HIGHLY UNPROFESSIONAL to change any little thing about it. And, I'm not talking about a dropped line here or there. It's live theatre and that happens...
No, I'm talking about a character walking out in a scene with a cigarette (that from the audience looks like a joint) tucked behind his ear when that's is inappropriate for the time and place. I'm talking about a kid dialing the prop phone when another actor is clearly using the prop. I'm talking about people wearing a costume that was not approved by the costumer. I'm talking kids flashing gang-fingers when the show is set in the late 1950s. Anything changes which the audience can see completely destroys the magic we're trying to produce on stage. It devalues the show and it's an insult to the hard work the rest of the cast and crew has put into creating colorful characters and wonderful memories and moments on stage.
What really ticks me off is that despite being told what not to do, despite being told how their actions are unprofessional, despite being told how they are ruining the show, these small actors continue with their antics. Well, I can guarantee they won't have the last laugh. No, in the end, directors, producers and fellow actors will refuse to work with such unprofessional monkeys. In the end, they bite themselves... well, in the end.
*Sarcastic side note: The best part is that THIS was the performance that was videotaped for the archives. Forever immortalized...*