Author Topic: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry) (Update #30)  (Read 7102 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

cicero

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 17540
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry)
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2014, 05:05:56 AM »
Facts: the weather was inclement, street parking was banned, plows were out and your front of house staff had left for their own safety. Cancelling the show was THE ONLY reasonable course of action.  It was your decision to make, and you made it.

You should probably just say this actually.

This, but do add that you consulted with a few members of the board. You were not making this decision lightly, but checked the weather conditions, considered those people who had already made it clear they would not be there and consulted with the board.

Sue may be upset that the performance was cancelled. But that does not mean that she is right.

i agree. and i'm sure that sue wasn't the only person who was upset about the cancellation! but  stuff happens - and you did the right thing in cancelling.

            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9755
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry)
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2014, 09:33:56 AM »
Former actress and theater producer here. I have experienced a lot of intracompany and intracast politics, and I commend you for both keeping a level head and making a decision in the best interests of everyone's safety, and for being considerate of not wanting to "infect" the cast with negativity and keep your conflict with Sue away from the actors.  Both of those decisions were what a professional and responsible producer does.

However, now you are dealing at the Board level. We are into organizational structure and heirarchy.  You and Sue may both be Board members, but in your capacity as producer, the director is "under" you in the decision structure. Cancelling the show for inclement weather is your decision, not hers.  It sounds like you did the best you could to communicate effectively with everyone and make sure nobody was left in the lurch.  You did your job right.

In your position, I would not go in with an overly-scripted response, because that sounds defensive.  I understand theater politics, but in reality, this is not a "fight" between you and Sue, and I don't think you should in any way acknowledge or indicate that is even a possibility. You do not need to justify, defend, or overly-explain your situation.

Facts: the weather was inclement, street parking was banned, plows were out and your front of house staff had left for their own safety. Cancelling the show was THE ONLY reasonable course of action.  It was your decision to make, and you made it.

At the meeting, I would stay very quiet.  If Sue brings it up and wants to throw a temper tantrum, I would listen and allow myself to be surprised that she would question such an obvious decision.  If other board members have something to say, I would listen. If any of the board members have a valid point about things you could have done better with communication, or even making the decision earlier, etc, listen and acknowledge that it could be a useful thought for next time.  I would wait and, if at all possible speak last.

State the facts. State your decision. Then, if other board members object, I would say something like "I was under the impression that it is the producer's job to make those decisions.  If not, thene we need an official policy on who is empowered to make emergency decisions like this."  If you have bylaws or written job descriptions, I would follow normal procedure (do you use parliamentary procedure?) to request an amendment.  I would take the position that I am happy to follow whatever the Board decides should be the proper policy, but it needs to be made clear and in writing.

In other words, don't get dragged into the silliness- be the rational one and let Sue demonstrate how irrational she is. The crazier she acts the better you look.  Good producers make unpopular decisions, because they are dealing with budgets, time, people, and resources.  You care more about what is good for the company than whether one person is happy at the moment -that's a good producer.

This. Stay cool- the more upset Sue gets, the worse she's going to look in comparison. And do mention that you consulted with members of the board- that helps show that you weren't simply being high-handed.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

sweetonsno

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1376
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry)
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2014, 10:16:10 AM »
I agree with previous posters who suggested simply stating the facts that led you to the decision. I don't think you necessarily need to "remind" her that it was your call because you were the producer (that could go over badly).

I also like the idea of bringing up emergency procedures. It sounds like you don't have guidelines in place (other than the choice being at the discretion of the producer). Having some ideas would be helpful, not just for this situation, but for future situations.

gellchom

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2140
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry)
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2014, 03:03:10 PM »
Oh, yeah ... theater politics ... I hear you.  There's more drama in drama than the audience ever suspects.  Don't ask me how I know!   ;)

I agree with the posters who say to give a brief explanation at the meeting.  That is appropriate. 

I urge you, though, to resist the temptation to think in terms of what would make Sue looking like the unreasonable one and you the reasonable one, or to pull rank (producer over director).  That's sinking to her level and will just prolong the drama.

EllenS put it very well:

Quote
In your position, I would not go in with an overly-scripted response, because that sounds defensive.  I understand theater politics, but in reality, this is not a "fight" between you and Sue, and I don't think you should in any way acknowledge or indicate that is even a possibility.

Just be very professional about it, as if this had been at your job, and make your explanation exactly the same as if Sue weren't even part of the story: you had to make the call, and, basing it on the forecast, the plowing, the parking, and the advice of professionals, you did your best.  Don't try to argue that it was the only sensible call to make and anyone who did otherwise would have been wrong-- there's no point: it's over.  You don't have to win that argument.

I would also make sure to say that you regret that you had to do it (note: you're not saying that you did the wrong thing and wouldn't do it again, just that you're sorry you had to do it) and you know that everyone was disappointed; and so were you.  After all, it is important to acknowledge people's feelings, and I'm sure some of them were very, very disappointed -- they'd worked hard for a long time, and maybe that last performance was the one their family or a casting agent was coming to.

Then move on right away to asking whether everyone thinks that you all ought to establish some sort of protocol for the future so that everyone will be on the same page, which you probably should.  Guidelines for cancellation due to weather?  Communication system?  (I urge you to use texting or phone trees for last minute stuff like this, not email.  The stage manager for the show I am in now decided to use a Facebook group, so we all have to check it at least twice a day, and even that won't work if there's an emergency or last-minute message.  Same for email, as you have learned.  I wish she'd use text blasts or if that's a usage problem then a phone or text tree.)  Rain dates?  Venue change?  Refunds?  Parking alternatives?

bopper

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12283
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry)
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2014, 08:35:33 PM »
Also acknowledging susan's frustration might be good.... "I know how frustrating it is for us all to put so much work into a production only to have Mother Nature not cooperate.  How ever, I monitored the weather which didn't look good, but after Person 1, 2 and 3 said they couldn't make it, I checked with my brother, the professional driver and he said it was slippery I knew what I had to do to keep everyone safe."

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5523
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry)
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2014, 10:48:28 PM »
I would also suggest a sympathetic response that makes it clear that you did not want to cancel the show and you are upset that circumstances beyond your control made it necessary to cancel the show.

Because that is important. You didn't cancel the show. The weather did. You made the decision based on the information you had and, as the storm grew worse over night it was clear that this was the right decision. Mention that you were down two front people and the only reason you had actors was because everyone was staying after the matinee.
 
So sympathise with the director. It was such a shame the show had to be cancelled. Everyone had worked so hard and it was going to be great. The matinee had shown what a fantastic job everyone had done pulling together and putting on this great show! It was such a shame that this terrible storm came.

Feed some ego. Sympathise with the loss. DO NOT back down on the correctness of your decision.

« Last Edit: January 05, 2014, 10:52:53 PM by Deetee »

LadyStormwing

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 101
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry) Update #21
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2014, 09:10:06 PM »
In the most ironic of ironies, the meeting was cancelled tonight because of poor weather conditions.  :o

It has been rescheduled to next Monday. I will keep everyone posted. :) Thanks!

Mel the Redcap

  • Scheming Foreign Hussy!
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 893
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry) Update #21
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2014, 09:10:50 PM »
In the most ironic of ironies, the meeting was cancelled tonight because of poor weather conditions.  :o

It has been rescheduled to next Monday. I will keep everyone posted. :) Thanks!

*cackle* Oh, man, NOBODY gets invited to the cast party NOW! ;D
"Set aphasia to stun!"

Hopefull

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2297
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry) (Update #21)
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2014, 10:47:49 PM »
That was rich!
“I felt this thrill going up my leg!”

CrazyDaffodilLady

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1241
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry) (Update #21)
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2014, 11:38:30 PM »
Now Sue has a week to calm down and get a bit of perspective.
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

PastryGoddess

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4658
    • My Image Portfolio and Store
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry) (Update #21)
« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2014, 11:44:20 PM »
Now Sue has a week to calm down and get a bit of perspective.
*snerk* ;)

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1368
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry) (Update #21)
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2014, 12:03:12 PM »
Those mean old Board members, with their driving safety and sensible precautions - obviously they are just trying to keep Sue from her moment to *SHINE*!

Mergatroyd

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 518
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry) (Update #21)
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2014, 12:45:33 PM »
After that interesting update, I am curious to know how this ends up!

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6363
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry) (Update #21)
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2014, 12:48:05 PM »
I'm late to this thread but used ot deal with this often with a neighborhood swim team. No matter what, someone was mad if I did or didn't cancel a meet because of inclement weather.

If she comes after you calmly state "I put the safety of our cast and our audience ahead of my personal desire to go on with the show. I would hope you and all members of our board would do the same." And then walk away.

GSNW

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 553
Re: Need help with a prepared response (long BG, sorry) (Update #21)
« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2014, 01:29:57 PM »
I like Hmmmm's response above, you can also add, "Similar to the decision to cancel our meeting last week due to unsafe driving conditions..."

Duh, Sue, examples. 

I'm really annoyed on OP's behalf.  I think it's pretty clear she did the right thing, and who was Sue going to get to fill the positions of the people that canceled prior to the whole thing being canceled!??!  Sue sounds very unreasonable.