Thursday, April 23, 2015

Once is circumstance, twice is happenstance...

I sent an email to the Technical Director on the 7th asking for permission to undertake repairs for equipment the theater would need for a show opening this weekend. On the 15th I got a reply telling me to go ahead. I had already, of course -- show opening on the 24th, after all!

On the 17th and 18th I sent emails asking to make arrangements to bring the repaired gear back to the theater, and for clarification on an additional repair. There has been no reply; the email of the 15th is the last communication I ever received from that theater.

A little context here; I was the resident sound designer at that theater, did twenty-odd shows there over a period of at least six years, and with this year had been offered the entire season. After the first show learned that I had been dropped from the season. A few weeks later, they asked for my keys. There was never any communication regarding this; not only was there never any explanation given, I was never actually told I wasn't still an employee! In fact -- I still have yet to be notified in any way shape or form that my status has changed. As far as any communications go, not only am I still the resident designer there, but it is MY show that is opening tomorrow!

And this was not for lack of trying on my part. I sent numerous emails enquiring when meetings would begin on the next show in the season, when I could get a script, etc. There were numerous chances for the company to say something. It took them two months and the only notification was an off-hand "We are using a different SD on (REDACTED).  We will be in touch about other upcoming productions."

Which perhaps makes it expected that none of the emails were answered over the last two weeks. I managed to reach the current sound designer and get the repaired equipment back to him. He requested a few more repairs, and of course I passed on another request for permission to do them.

On the 19th I enquired about getting a check. There had still not been a single email, the two times I tried to call the Technical Director's phone did not pick up, and when I was at the theater personally to drop off the equipment he made no attempt to find me (in fact, he may have even walked away).

On the 21st I contacted the Communications Director, asking if there were other channels I should explore. I used the email account I had at the theater. The next day, that email account was shut down. On the 23rd, I contacted the General Manager.

Okay, sure; they are in the middle of opening a very technical show. Anything that can be put off, will be put off, even if that includes putting in payment details for the pay period that closes this friday.

But I refuse to believe this is normal business practice there. If they tried to play games like that with any of their suppliers, or with the rather large lighting crew, they wouldn't be able to open their show. This can only happen through at least one of two things; that they have no respect for the needs of the Sound Department and feel there's no need to do anything for them. Or that they are playing games. With me.

So, yeah. There are perfectly reasonable explanations. But when you dick around this many times, in this many ways, you put yourself in the position of Caesar's wife; you'd damn well better not be sloppy about your following transactions. It would be one thing if I was sure I was going to get paid, and it would "just" be a little late. Well, they've done that in the past, back when I was still working for them on a regular basis. Now -- I no longer have that trust.

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