Saturday, March 09, 2013

Telling the truth about theater creeps

Anybody who has read this blog for any length of time knows I've had my share of problems with creeps in the theater, from the Edward Einhorn lawsuit that cost my former partner over a quarter of a million dollars (Einhorn got $300, and the infamy of setting the cause of the director's copyright back at least 20 years) to an actor who made it her business to sabotage me personally for no other reason that I can discern than it amused her to do so, to the actor who started his own playwrights group by absconding with the NYCPlaywrights mailing list.

Thanks to the wonders of Facebook I discovered that the two actors are now friends, which is perfect. They should be friends: each is full of self-regard, deficient of empathy and utterly lacking in personal integrity. They understand each other perfectly.

I have no problem naming Edward Einhorn and my grievances against him because it's all part of the public record. Instead of trying to negotiate with my former partner about the dispute over his director's fee, Einhorn instead went to his intellectual properties lawyer brother and together they claimed a stake in my play TAM LIN because Edward Einhorn directed it once. You can read all about it in the article I wrote for the Dramatists Guild - The Strange Case of Edward Einhorn v. Mergatroyd Productions.

I have no qualms about naming the two despised actors, but my personal feelings about a couple of actors isn't of much interest to anybody else. I name Edward Einhorn because my conflict with him is of interest to a much larger circle of people.

I'm thinking of this issue now because a theater friend just sent me her essay about a creep she encountered in the theater world a few years back when she was trying to be an actor. He offered his services as an acting coach, for which he charged her $50 an hour. And for that money he often started late; expected the money well in advance - and sometimes badgered her for money even further in advance, tried to get her involved in a get-rich-quick scheme; had her close her eyes to visualize during their acting coach sessions while he ran errands, and inserted kissing into scene work that didn't call for kissing as part of her "training", while his cancer-ridden (and since deceased) wife was in the next room. And for the grand finale he offered to take some of her stories and use them in a theater show and give himself directing and collaboration credit. That's what finally convinced her she needed to get out.

The essay she sent me has the guy's real name on it, but she plans to change his name in the story. Even so she's worried that he'll "come after" her if he finds out about it. I can understand her concern, I know all too well what can happen - this asshole could be just like Edward Einhorn, willing to drag everybody through the court system at  great expense to punish those who have crossed him, even though he has no legal leg to stand on and knows it. Einhorn admitted during our trial that his real motivation in his "director's copyright" case was to get paid - and as the judge said, Einhorn turned a small-claims court molehill into a federal court mountain. But Einhorn's ego was at stake so money was no object.

 Both my friend and I have every right to write about what happens to us in our lives - we have no obligation to protect the guilty, and as I've quoted from Anne Lamott before: "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them they should have behaved better."

But the guilty will never accept their culpability and will instead turn around and attack further. That's the kind of people they are.

The best part - it turns out this acting coach creep is in the very same theater company as the two actors I despise so much. I'm sure they all understand each other perfectly.