Tales From the Theatre :: The Rent Head and the Camera

During my college years, I worked at a popular Broadway-touring theatre. Working over 60 shows and thousands of hours, I naturally collected a few colorful stories that I documented on an old blog. I recently uncovered this blog and am sharing the stories in all their glory here. Like all college students, I was a bit snarkier and self-righteous in those days so be prepared for a different flavor of Jen. Enjoy!

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Rent-cast.jpg
Image Source: StageDoorDish.com

“No cameras or recording devices!”
March 23, 2009

When going to the theatre, at what point does it cross your mind that you should bring a camera? And for what purpose? Oh, you’re going to take pictures of you and your girls near the poster in the lobby as a momento? Okay, fair enough. But if you plan on taking a camera for the purpose of sneaking pictures during the production, please think twice. If not for your guilty conscience, knowing you will be ruining the show for those around you, at least for the sake of your own dignity because I will, without remorse, embarrass you.

This weekend, “Rent” was in full force at our venue. People lined up at 5:30am to score those magical $20 front row seats for the 7:30pm performance and the mega-fans were out to play. Maybe all the excitement of getting the front seats and the fact that “Rent is actually HERE! WITH ADAM AND ANTHONY!” (referring to Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, original Broadway cast members)Β blinded one young lady from the numerous signs not only all over the lobbies but the massive one on stage stating the ever-important policy…

“No cameras or recording devices”

I didn’t pin her as the type as I led her to her seats early because she was wobbling around on crutches. She seemed like one who was just there to watch the show… a law-abiding citizen. Goodness! was I wrong.

After intermission, a stage manager reported that “a boy in a pink wig” in the front row was taking pictures. I poked my head in and couldn’t find a boy in a pink wig. As I stepped out into the stairway to radio the other assistant to check his side and see if anyone fit that description, another stage manager came bolting out of backstage frantically saying “It’s out now, it’s out now!” I bolted in to find it was no boy – it was my crutches friend. In fact, a girl with pink hair. So sad. Anyways, all bets were off now. We were no longer friends.

I quickly scuttled my way into the front row and just as she was zipping back up her purse I held out my hand and said, “You can give me your camera now. You can get it back after the show.” The girl’s face went bright red and worried… people around her started looking and pointing… BUSTED!

I exited to the lobby to delete the pictures she had taken (it’s all copyrighted material). She had taken 75 pictures!!! Crazy woman! It infuriated me so much that someone would take that many pictures during a show that I got her back in my own special way…

At the end of the show, I went down to the front of the theatre to meet up with her. I handed her back her crutches and then her camera. I gave her a brief lecture about taking photos inside a theatre during a production. She then, clearly flustered, asked me if the pictures were still on the camera…to which I responded with “Absolutely not.” As the tears began to flow and she attempted to verbally reprimand me for invading her privacy by going into her camera, I explained to her that what she did was illegal and if she wished to continue to argue with me about it I could get DPS so they can explain to her federal copyright laws. Obviously, that was the end of our conversation.

As I left my ex-friend in tears with a “Have a nice day”, in my head I giggled a little bit. You see, because I knew that when she flipped her camera to playback to check if I got aaall the pictures, which she would undoubtedly do… that little glimmer of hope would be shattered by the only picture I did leave.

The picture I took of the sign in the lobby stating no cameras or recording devices were allowed inside the theatre.

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