CMU School of Drama

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Equal vs Fair

Dimmer Beach: Everyone is not equal, but everyone should be treated fairly.
I know this concept might hurt some feelings, but its true and everyone needs to accept it. The roadie on his first tour is not equal to the crew chief that is a ten-year road dog.
“Gee, Mark, that’s common sense.”
You would think it would be, but based on some of the reactions of newer guys on the road, it might not be.


Jasmine Lesane said...

All of this was clearly true. When I started tech in my high school and again when I started studying it at CMU was remind how little I know. Power is just so relative that it’s absurd for one to think it is transferable across different areas.
The biggest thing to remember is that our superiors did what they are making you do and they learned from it. That’s how they achieved their superiority. There are lessons intertwined in the experience you’re getting with the grunt work. The only thing you can do is go in acknowledging the ‘food chain.’ There was a reason that you were hired for your position and they were hired for theirs. It comes down to how easily you can be replaced. They could find another carpenter to build the set, but it would be difficult to find another scenic designer to fit perfectly in with the artistic team. You have to respect that.

Julian said...

I think what this boils down to is that everyone has a different job and everyone is expected to do that job. If you have to do more that the next guy, and both of you do half your job, both of you will be treated like you did half your job even if you half-job was more work than his half-job. Even outside of work context, I think fair and equal are rarely the same thing. Kindergarteners and college students are not treated equally, if they were it would be very unfair. If you have a pet hamster and a pet fish and give them equal homes, one of them is probably dead. Every single person is going to have different knowledge, experience, training, and skills. In order to make those differences advantageous, equal is not the way to go. In this case of new people to the industry, they need the time to learn the ropes but not be in the hot seat, even if learning the ropes is the grunt work.

Max Rose said...

Although this explanation of equality and fairness may seem hearts in a way, it makes perfect sense, especially on a tech crew. Experience works in tandem with (obviously) high-level skill sets and aptitude towards theatre. Not only do experienced workers offer better and more efficient work, but as the article indicates, they also have other responsibilities. These extra responsibilities can range from training the “rookie” workers, to dealing with a crisis during a performance. Having worked on a tech crew for 6 years now, I can’t count how many times I’ve seen a veteran of the crew step up during a performance emergency. Another point to make is maybe the rookies are simply worked harder so they can become veterans, and progress through the ranks of their crew and continue the cycle. Either way, there is no reason that experienced workers should have to be treated unfairly on account of those with less experience.

Sabria Trotter said...

I think this is a great article and I concur with all the points that Mike makes about equality and fairness. I think that isn’t just a concept that applies to jobs on the road as much as it applies to every theater crew ever. Even in high school I can remember being a freshman and having it be hard for my peers to understand why we weren’t being given leadership positions and had to do the “sucky” run crew job, but everyone has to start somewhere and doing those jobs makes you better when you do get to lead. Even now there are days when you have to do boring basic work on crew, take introductory classes or be an assistant and while that may be hard to stomach now something you learn from the will prove useful when you get to the next level, and hopefully make you more empathetic of those who are going to be where you are now.