T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 59137
posted 02-22-2013 08:26 PM
This isn't exactly the place to discuss academic problems, but I've found this place the most helpful in general. Any and all help is welcome, though the sooner the better. I'd need an answer soon...I'm speaking one-on-one with a prof in my theatre program in the next few days.
I've long-known the program has favouritism among the students, and in the past few shows I've worked on, I've been given smaller and smaller roles. The prof in question is overseeing the next show, and has a reputation as a fair director/caster. I've spent the past few shows working as hard as I can to show that I can do better than a few lines or stage filler, but...that hasn't happened. The prof has always been supportive of my work in the past, and has said often that I've made strides in improving my acting. I've heard the same comments from other teachers as well, and at this point, I don't know who to believe or who to trust. If I've improved so much, and my profs often commend my work, why has my status in casting remained unchanged? I'm sick of getting the bit parts normally reserved for students in danger of failure/expulsion (and I'm a honours student). I want to speak diplomatically with the prof about this group hierarchy issue, and I'm not sure how to get my point across without sounding egotistical or entitled. To an outsider, it sounds like whining. From my perspective, I want to prove that I can play a variety of roles, small as well as large. I feel like I haven't been allowed to do that. I'm also a bit scared of my profs by now, because I feel like any vulnerability will be exploited against me. I know I can act. I'm just sick of being perpetually sidelined. And I don't know how to verbalize that...to someone in person.
Member # 3
posted 02-22-2013 09:05 PM
It's slow right now, so I'm coo answering this, but in the future, we do like to ask people to try and post within our scope as a sexuality education service, okay? It just makes it much tougher to do our jobs when a precedent gets set of going too far afield of that, especially when it isn't slow.
I feel like if a bigger part is really what you want, then it's likely politic not to bring up favoritism BEFORE you audition. Certainly, if you audition, bring your A-game and don't get something larger again, THEN seems to me the better time to mention it. Mentioning it before just doesn't strike me as likely helping you get what you want here. In fact, it seems like it's more likely to be a barrier, and possibly be interpreted as you NOT having the abilities and skills you do, if you follow me. Mentioning it in advance of that just doesn't strike me as politic, and as what would best support you getting better cast. How about if instead of talking about favoritism in advance with this prof, you instead simply voice your desire to get a bigger role, and ask for some guidance or constructive criticism about what he thinks you might be able to do to best demonstrate your abilities in that regard when you audition? You can voice he's said you have made strides, and that you would like to aim to best bring them to the table in the hopes of getting a part that reflects that.
Member # 102566
posted 02-22-2013 09:10 PM
I think that you laying out your feelings on the table here is a great start!
Though I'm not a performance studies major in any sense, I can understand where you're coming from. It sucks to not have your work be recognized, especially when you're working very hard to achieve just that. I think that it's really important to say what you've said here to your professor. Though I do understand your concerns with appearing whiney or egotistical or entitled, I think that if you convey your thoughts in a confident-and-not-proud manner, I don't see why your professor should have any qualms with your concern With communication in general, nobody's a mind reader. Expressing your concerns would, at the very least, inform your professor that this is what's going on with you, and that you'd like to do something about it. Hopefully they'd be reasonable and discuss potential opportunities for you to play larger roles from there. Again, I'm not a performance arts major and maybe this entirely not how this sort of thing goes, so if there's someone you trust "IRL" who knows exactly what you're talking about(like one of your peers or a teaching assistant or someone) I would recommend fleshing out your concerns with them, too, before you confront your professor. It might also be good to write a mental script in your head, to sort of guarantee that your thoughts come out right? That's something I like to do, anyway I do hope this helps- again, it's good that you're laying out your feelings on the table. They're not wrong to have, and it's good to get a fresh look at it and gain other people's perspectives on it. Good luck!
Member # 59137
posted 02-22-2013 09:39 PM
Heather, I'm aware that this place isn't the greatest space to ask about problems like this--I'll find other areas for next time and save this space for more appropriate material.
The issue is, as Heather said, auditioning well and still not getting further. The casting has been done already, and it's the last show of the season, so it's "too late" to do anything about it for the future there. I still want to understand it from the prof--though I fear the reveal is they still think I'm not good. Thanks for your responses though; I really appreciate it!
moonlight bouncing off water
Member # 44338
posted 02-22-2013 09:41 PM
Just a quick idea here: you're an actor right? Why not play the role of you, but an idealized version of you when you go to talk to your prof?
If you're afraid of seeming timid then idealized you is confident beyond beleiif. If you want to appear extra mature, then idealized you can do it. I'm not sure if that will help.
Member # 3
posted 02-22-2013 09:47 PM
So, am I getting that there isn't anything to audition FOR at this point?
Sorry if I misunderstood! [ 02-22-2013, 09:51 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]
Member # 59137
posted 02-22-2013 09:54 PM
Heather--you're getting it now. There's no more auditions left, and it's the last show.
It won't be until Monday/Tuesday that I see this prof again, so it also gives me some space to create a mental script of sorts to go over the issues. moonlight's suggestion might help. [ 02-22-2013, 09:56 PM: Message edited by: jazzberry ]
Member # 3
posted 02-22-2013 09:57 PM
So sorry I didn't follow you correctly.
So, it's already been cast, and you didn't get the kind/size of part you wanted? If so, then for sure, you're at the after, and I don't see any reason not to ask about this, and to be very candid. After all, there's nothing left to lose at this point.
Member # 79774
posted 02-22-2013 10:02 PM
As someone with a bit of a clue in the general area, I'm going to put in a very strong vote, like Heather, for "hell-no-don't-mention-the-favouritism!"
I Do think, though, that there's potentially a lot of value in mentioning the overall situation, just maybe with a different framing. It totally happens that people can sometimes get into habits with casting people, or assumptions about what people can do or what people want. It's not always the case, but sometimes, if it's possible to do respectfully, diplomatically and non-critically, it can really help to voice your thoughts to one or two key decision-makers. A good way to frame it might be to ask for guidance on how you might earn bigger roles in the future - what they're looking for, more ways to up your game. In that conversation, you can make very clear what you want - and also drop in the fact that you haven't had any bigger roles, in case they're overlooking that - without seeming to be criticising their choices or maligning the people who've been chosen. I think it might also be ok to say that you feel you have a bigger acting scope than you've been able to show yet, and you would really, really like the opportunity to show it; while also asking what you still need to build on and what else they're wanting to see from you so that you might earn some bigger roles. It's all in the framing, you see: communicating that you're ambitious and that you think you have skills to offer, without sounding all career-killing "but I should have had this already and I've been overlooked and mistreated!" - even if that's true Edit - bah, behind the times, sorry [ 02-22-2013, 10:03 PM: Message edited by: Redskies ]
Member # 79774
posted 02-22-2013 10:07 PM
Having caught up on the convo, I'd actually put in a vote for keeping a little diplomacy in the mix. Generally, putting people very off-side can even impact things in the future separate from those people - small world, people talk, and all that. But being candid about your disappointment, sure.