Sunday, February 10, 2013

In which I rant about theatre

These are the front doors to the theatre where we had our strike last night. We were done at 10:30 when we thought we'd be done closer to midnight. Hooray!  I'm actually quite annoyed that they had the performance and strike yesterday, and didn't cancel. Sure, we had an audience of 40 (house seats 80), and their reasoning was that we all live a few blocks away so "we could walk to work", but seriously. There was a travel ban and the sidewalks were NOT clear. We had to walk down the center of the streets that were being plowed, and our house manager told me that he had to dive out of the way of three snowplows on his way in. Only non-essential employees were required to go into work by the University today, and as much as I love my art, I admit that theatre does not fall under the "essential" category.

For those who may not know, there's a formula in the US for how many exits a theatre or building needs per persons inside it. The space I was in required two within easy access for the seating bank configuration we were in (we have flexible seating, and some configurations require three because of how the aisles increase the distance from certain seats to our standard exits). What this photo doesn't show is that to the left of the picture are more doors to a larger hallway, that then goes to the stairs outside which are cleared of snow, however if there had been an emergency, I wonder if people would have tried to get through these doors? Technically we had the number of exits that are required, because of said hallway door, but these lobby doors are directly across from the main entrance into the theatre, and are marked as exit, and if people were in a panic? Panicked people go for the quickest straight route out (often the way they came into a space, which is why it's always good to notice a secondary exit as you enter a building that is NOT the main door). 

Anyway, everything was fine and we all made it in, but I think if we'd just been asked if we could come in without the foreknowledge that the managers had already decided that the show was happening, a few of us would have felt more empowered to say, "No". That's the danger of the phrase "the show must go on". 

 And for the record, the mangers cancelled the performances at the OTHER theatre linked to the school. But for some assholic reason we still had to perform and come it. It just doesn't make sense.

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