Sun 11 Nov 2007
Day two, and stagehands are now, in the eyes of the media, big and burly murderers of childrens’ and tourists’ dreams. Please take comfort folks. We are striking to keep our members working, and to ensure that we can provide for our families like you provide for yours.
What I love most is seeing people with amazing wealth spinning like mad, trying to make stagehands out like money-hungry thugs. To paraphrase a rep from the union, they’re fighting for their second, third and fourth homes. We’re fighting to keep our first homes.
Today started with a sense of solemn commitment. We were beginning a course of action that was not one we chose but rather one that was forced upon us. There were no cheers when the crews walked out of their theatres. There were no cheers when those out on the street refused to pick up their tools and instead picked up picket signs. We had to break our first commandment, â€œthe show must go on.â€
This is not something any of us want to do. We aren’t happy to be striking. This isn’t fun. Many of the news accounts and comments I’ve read have mentioned that these are the holidays, and why would we want to hurt all the people who bought tickets, etcetc. My arguments against making the last three months of the year “the holidays” aside, fine, yes. This is the holiday season. And now we are facing a holiday season while on strike. This is not something we want, this is something we are forced to do in order to keep working in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed.
Also, it would do everyone well to remember that whether we are striking or working, while they are with their families enjoying the show, stagehands are working….two, three, as many as five shows a day, seven days a week, through the holidays and on weekends, stagehands are working to bring many thousands of people all this fine entertainment.
OneNYCStagehand also writes:
The late afternoon was the hardest. We were alone on the line. We were tired, cold, sore and determined.
Then they started to arrive. The other members of our theatrical community joined us on the line and spirits lifted. Where there were a few determined people trudging along, now there were many. Now there was cheering when passing cars honked in support. Matrons of a certain age, union members for decades, carried signs and smiled. House Managers, Box Office Personnel, Chorus Members, Dancers, Actors, Musicians, union members all, walked and carried signs in support of our common struggle.
And most importantly, it all boils down to this:
We will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes. This not something we are unaccustomed to. Weâ€™ve put your shows on. We have worked long hours and not seen home but briefly, for weeks at a time. Sacrifices come with the entrance into this community. Sacrifices you now seem to be unaware of but we know intimately. And now that common strength is united against you and we will not fail.
Beautifully expressed. If you haven’t already, read the whole thing here.
Playgoer has some posts about the strike as well.