Etiquette and babies and theatre

Recently, I took to the stage and acted for a change.  Ordinarily, I’m a director, so it was a fun change.  I realized how much I have gotten used to the way things are done when I’m in charge, so there were some unique challenges in dealing with another director’s methods and observing what actors did during the show that I wouldn’t approve of as a director, but it wasn’t for me to say anything as an actor.

One performance really aggravated me, though.  One actress brought her six-month-old baby to the play and left her backstage.  Stage hands, other actors, and the director all took turns holding the baby when mommy actress was on stage.  Several thoughts struck me when I was off stage between scenes and as I thought about it later.  At one point, I came off stage and I could hear the baby screaming.  Now, I was a little distracted by this until I went back on stage and couldn’t hear it, but if I was the parent, I’d sure have a hell of a time assuming that all was well and walking back on stage.  During that time, I couldn’t help but notice that I was standing alone in the wings.  None of the stage hands, dressers, or even the stage manager were around to solve any crises that might have come up.  They were all watching the baby.  From call to the end of the show, the baby was backstage for roughly four hours.

I understand that it’s difficult to get daycare sometimes.  I have three kids.  But I never thought that having one of my babies wait backstage during a performance was a good idea.  Even when I was directing, and I really could have been holding a baby, I wouldn’t have.  However, I don’t think that finding daycare was an issue.  I think that mommy actress didn’t want to leave her baby in daycare because she had such a small part, she didn’t think it would be a problem.  (She brought her kid to many rehearsals and actually carried the baby around on stage while we were rehearsing.)

I would love to say something to mommy actress about how improper this was.  I won’t, though, for two reasons:  One, as an actor in this show, I don’t think it’s my place.  I could maybe say something to the director, but I don’t see that conversation going well.  Second, I’m not sure how to bring this up.  I have trouble seeing her come to my point of view on this.  Since she has already decided that it’s not a big deal, how can I convince her otherwise without making a big deal out of it.  The only reason I would is for future productions that I may be involved in with her.

I might be the only one who thinks it was a problem.  Well, not true, my wife agreed with me.  She was appalled at the idea.  So, I might be the only one involved in the production that thought it was a distraction and a bad precedent to set.  I’ll probably just keep it to myself and be irritated about it.  I’m not sure what else I could do.

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.


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