Today the Actors Equity Association Council will vote on the proposal to end the current “99 Seat Plan” for Los Angeles. Many headlines have announced that local actors have rejected making more money... or words to that effect. In FACT nothing can be further from the truth. The Truth is that by a margin of two to one, LA Actors have responded to a non-binding referendum that what they want is a fair and equitable discussion with the union to continue to be able to create Art (emphasis mine) in Los Angeles intimate theatres. Period.
The burgeoning small theatre scene in LA is unique. Store fronts and church recreation rooms have hosted tiny audiences for over forty years here. Enthusiastic university grads and working professionals have had the opportunity to grow as actors, directors, producers and playwrights BECAUSE of being able to put up a show on a shoestring or a book of green stamps. It has not been about the money. It has been about the ART. And, it should remain so.
When the Powers That Be (read AEA) and local producer/playwright/actors (often they are the same person) sit down and agree on a workable plan, that will satisfy our local Small Theatre Community, all shall be well. Discussion and accord are vital. These two things are not mutually exclusive. Reasonable people can and should find a way.
The headlines saying that local actors “reject higher pay” is just silly. I wish that the big time news agencies would do their homework and report accurately, even in the headlines, what this is all about.
Here’s to reason with the AEA councilors and AEA management. Ultimately, it’s about the ART. It’s about the WORK!! There’s a cut line for ya.