One of the unspoken things about the majority of hard-working American actors and producers that I see, is that they have a love-hate relationship with AEA. It's a long-standing problem of a union that is intended to protect actors, filter out the casual from the professional, and to provide union members with benefits.
It also, unfortunately, creates a series of barriers between producers on a smaller scale and the actors that work on that scale.
I know of many producers that aren't able to rehearse their plays at length or develop the audience for a play because Equity imposes a rehearsal limit and performance limit on "Showcases." Showcases are the standard production agreement for most Off-Off Broadway shows...it allows actors to still be working within the union rules but not have to be paid far more than most companies can afford.
So... does Equity need to take another look at how it approaches the rules for smaller scale and independent theaters?
Talk to me about your experiences with Actor's Equity and what you love about it and what you think could be improved.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.