1) If the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) leadership were confident in the basic soundness of their position, it seems they would allow the new plan be put to a binding, not advisory, vote.
2) I’ve yet to see a clear explanation how the old 99 seat plan “devalues” the actor community as some claim. It’s an especially confusing statement when some of our finest intimate theaters are run by actors themselves. I wonder: is it more devaluation than when some of our larger theaters – where it is possible to earn a living wage – typically cast out of New York?
3) Actors who applaud the new plan claim it helps them be treated respectfully as a professional. Apparently, being paid minimum wage is being treated respectfully as a professional.
4) Those who say “Don’t worry; LA Theater will go on” sound to me like the false mother in the Solomon story.
5) And while we are speaking biblically: I finally understand why coveting your neighbor’s wife’s ass is banned by the Big Ten. Coveting makes one irrational. How about we add an Amendment 10b: Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s (imagined) theater riches.
6) It takes years to create and build appropriate infrastructure. Just as we start seeing strong and sustained evidence of the 99 seat plan’s value – productions remounted in larger LA playhouses (Sacred Fools), productions shipped to New York (Rogue Machine) and London (Fountain Theatre), productions co-produced with New York theaters (@BostonCourt), and expanded and diversified membership rosters (Antaeus) – the new AEA plan will take this support infrastructure away. It’s as if a bunch of anti-vaxxers showed up just as we finally conquered the measles.
7) In the past, some have loudly decried the “visionless” state of LA Theater. Since the new AEA plan was announced, I haven’t heard much of that sort of thing. Wanna sing a verse of “Big Yellow Taxi” with me?
8) The Re-Imagine LA Theatre page has no news of the new AEA plan. In fact, the website looks abandoned.
9) By design, under the old 99 seat plan, intimate theaters were never meant as places for employment. They were, however, meant as places for work.
+1) People have emphasized that AEA is a labor union. And reminded us that labor must always be respected and compensated. I couldn’t agree more. I didn’t get paid to write this column. So send me a buck. C’mon! If you made it here, you’ve already read the full piece. Respect a fellow artist!
Other thoughts about Actors’ Equity actions:
9 + 1 Questions that AEA has Yet to Answer
Even 9 + 1 More Musings after AEA Votes to End the 99-Seat Plan
Flawed Union Math
9 + 1 More Musings during the Los Angeles Vote on the New AEA Plan
When Unions Strike
Union Names and Actual Values
Show Me The Money
Originally published February 13, 2015 in Bitter Lemons.