Thursday, August 11, 2011

Make It Hurt So Good

Blog. I yelled at a chick today. Face to face.

It's an amazing feeling to get so upset and angry where you suddenly find yourself marching towards someone, numbly preparing to verbally unload all of the emotions, thoughts, and words that are madly buzzing around your head. It's almost as if it's a drug. I'm pretty sure whatever brain chemical that was taking over my mind the moment I decided to walk up to the bitch and yell at her as quietly as I could, is found in some illegal drugs. It felt amazing. I can see why some people may be addicted to being complainy assholes all the time.

But I had reason, blog. Just like every escalated learner on the other end of my advising phone has a reason. People don't get mad without a reason. They usually have a good reason, a small reason, or a reason that they have purposely brought upon themselves to back up their anger. Usually those who are angry are going to say that their reason is a good one, no matter how ridiculous that reason may be. So while my reason may seem small, self imposed, or weak, I'm the one who's angry. Therefore, I think (know) I have a terrific reason to back up my uncontrolled action of marching up to this girl and yelling at her in front of... we'll say 15 people. Luckily most of those people were Minnesotan so they pretended that nothing was going on and went about business as usual.

I'm sure you're dying to know the reason I was yelling at a girl in front people. I'll do my best to keep the story short. Angry people tend to take their emotions as permission to ramble on for blocks and blocks of text, complete (or shall I say incomplete) with bad punctuation, spelling, and misuse of CAPITAL LETTERS. Never a good sign.

Basically speaking, my aunt, uncle, and cousin came to the Fringe show I'm in tonight. My aunt, on whom I base some of the inspiration that colors the caricature I play on stage. My aunt, who is always happy, supportive, and tickled by any sort of theatrical production I've ever been a part of. Tonight, they happened to run into some bad traffic and ended up late to the show.

Now here's where the emotions, thoughts, words begin to buzz. I'll do my best to keep my words spelled, my punctuation permissable, and any emphasized emotions in italics.

I received word that they were going to be late before the show started. So I took it upon myself to head out to the box office shortly before the show began to let them know that I had three people, all with will call tickets, who were going to be a few minutes late due to traffic conditions. I know that the Fringe has a strict late attendance policy, but I've worked in a theater. I've done the Fringe for four years now. And I've learned a thing or two about a thing or two about exceptions to strict policies in my current daytime role as an academic advisor (aka. rule breaker extraordinaire). It doesn't hurt to ask.

Oh but yes it does! I had barely finished my request when the house manager came up waving her arms at me saying "No. No. No. It's policy. No late attendance. It's policy. No.".

I can't even get an "I'm sorry but..."?!

"They're stuck in traffic. They're very close. She's my aunt."

"NO" (I know I said no capitals, but this is the bitch talking, not me)

"They have will call tickets. I thought I'd let you know so you could be prepared for their arrival."

"IT'S POLICY. We can get them a comp for another show if they like."

"They can't make the other show. This is the only one they are able to attend."

More arm waving happened and then more no-ing. I had no choice but to go back stage and cry. Because yeah, I get emotional about this stuff yo. She's been excited to see the show for months, and now this? You're not going to let a paying customer in because they're three minutes late and you've never heard of going against policy under certain, understandable and rational circumstances? Can someone say POWER TRIP?! (There we go all caps. I can't help myself. It feels so good.)

Not to be a diva but, it's kind of hard to go and act on stage immediately after crying. Especially if you're having to act in a similar way to your aunt, who's absence is the source of said crying. But I somehow did it. Probably wasn't my best performance, but I don't think the audience was any the wiser.

So the show goes on, people laugh, tech fucks up once again during the party scene and Sam and I get yet another opportunity to improvise in a scripted environment. And then we're done. All the while I know my family is waiting outside in the lobby, merely overhearing an entire show that they paid money to see all because they were three minutes late.

That's right. It was only three minutes I found out. I get if it's 15, half an hour, oops I missed the entire show because I thought it was at 7. No. Three minutes. The first scene had barely started when they got there. I went out and gave her a hug. She was tearing up too. What can I say? Schmitz's get emotional when it comes to late arrivals to theatrical productions. They also get angry.

Before I knew it, I had locked my gaze on her, the bitch who is too scared to bend the rules for paying customers. The bitch who doesn't know how to deal with angry people. The bitch who's vocabulary consists of the word "policy" and the phrase "If we let them in late, we have to let every one else in late."

Everyone else who? They were the only ones sitting in the lobby for the entire show.

Oh, and the kicker in all of this? After finding out about the policy of all policies (apparently), my aunt went and sat next to the curtain that was drawn at the entrance of the theater so she could listen to the show. It wasn't drawn all the way, so she was able to see part of the stage. The bitch came up and closed it during the second scene of the show. What a cold, artless, unbending heart you have. Once again. POWER TRIP.

I digress. I found myself marching; breezing past those in line, glaring at her large, far set eyes. She's pretty, don't get me wrong. But looks have nothing to do with turning paying customers away from a show just because they got caught in traffic. I don't remember what I said to her. But it was something along the lines of my family not getting what they paid for. I'd like to know how my show would have been ruined had they come in three minutes late. I want to know a good, legitimate reason for your policy. Probably some other stuff too, but I don't remember. Turns out angst makes you pretty forgetful after that high is over.

My favorite part was probably when she started to fight back. Big no no, lady. You don't start fighting back when a customer is mad at you. It only fuels the situation.  I told her "No. You let me be mad. That's what is going on right now" and the older, wiser volunteer next to her gestured to her to let her know that, yes, let this girl yell at you. This is your position of the house manager. To get yelled at. Because you're a bitch.

She immediately didn't know where to go from there and referred me to her manager, who happens to be a saxophone playing story telling lesbian. I will begin my quest for her contact information once this blog post is complete.  Because, yeah, in my angry state I don't think to ask helpful questions like "what is your manager's contact information?" or "What's your name?". I guess it takes practice to get these things right.

I want to make it clear Blog that this anger thing is a very foreign thing to me. I'm usually laid back and accepting of most situations. It's the Veldhouse in me. But if something is not making sense to me, if there is a person involved who is on a power trip, if money is being spent but nothing is gotten back in return, then I find myself navigating the strange paths of reasoning with the unreasonable, negotiating with the non-negotiable, and ultimately accepting the unacceptable. All in all, I guess it makes up for a long blog post that I really did try not to make incredibly long. Writing about it helps though, as it does with everything when it comes to emotions whether they are good or bad.

I could go on about how I've put work into this show, my cast mates have put work into this show, the entrance fee is $400 and if it wasn't for people like us willing to pay the money, spend the time, and work with you assholes for a hundred bucks in the end (if that), you wouldn't have a festival to house your "policies" in the first place. Be kind to your patrons. They are the ones who make a theater community possible in the first place. Without them you'd have a bunch of actors performing shows for no one and frankly, there's not much in the world of theater that is sadder than that.

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