Gig&Tell: East Lynne Theater Company

  • worst than high school    
    03/22/2016  4:42pm

    I gave one star because Cape May is a great town to be in during the summer.

    This theatre company, however, is not so great. Firstly, there quailty of production is worst than most community theatres. The director doesn't seem to know how to direct people other than tell them where to be when.

    Secondly, this is an incredibly stressful environment to work in. EVERYTHING is considered a crisis. Like the above post said, the whole team is a husband and wife. She directs. He is the stage manager and everything else including company sexual harasser. I watched him say inappropriate stuff all the time and after talking to those in the cast who had done multiple shows with them, this is very common. He made me feel incredibly uncomfortable and apparently what he did to me was mild in comparison to the past. Beacuse he is married to the director, you can't report anything to him, though he is stage manager, as it will get back to her.

    They house you in their personal home. So essentialy you can never relax. You get your own room, yes, but everything else is shared with them. They do try to make it laid back at the house but after a day there it was evident to me that I'd have to leave the house to actually relax.

    They are very gossipy about everything. If you do one small thing, such as showing up at the equity rule of 1/2 before curtain (they like people there at least an hour before) it is talked about to everyone and never let go. I find this very unprofessional. The director is easily set off by little things and it is not uncommon for her to blow up at people, particuarly women, for reasons that are unwarranted. Her fuse is very short. Actually, she is lacking of a fuse.

    Speaking of equity, they break many many rules. It is a wonder to me that they have never been in trouble with the union. They have apparently taped several of their productions.

    They also bitch all the time about how hard it is for them to run the theatre. Which is understandable, but not something you should put on your actors. They use a church as their space and every Saturday you are expected to help them strike everything and get the space church ready for Sunday serevices.

    Bottom line, not a place I would recommend. If you are looking to get weeks for health insurance or would like a nice town to go to for the summer/fall, then yes this theatre works. But if you expect anything else I suggest looking elsewhere.



  • some things you should know    
    01/02/2014  4:15pm

    Here's what I wish I'd known before I did a show there:

    The production staff is two people. That's it. They run ELTC together, in its entirety. She directs/helms the theatre company, and he is the stage manager/every other job possible. They're also married, so no use going to the SM about the director, or vice versa. Housing consists of living in their home with them (and their incessant bickering).

    I had hoped for a lovely, small, intimate theatre-making experience in a beautiful location. Sadly, you get the feeling that they are very defensive of their set-up. Blame was always passed to the actors. The director has an uncomfortable habit of gossiping about actors when they aren't present(usually very personal and petty attacks). Most often, she would lambast actors (always behind their back) for their "inability to be off-book." But it's difficult to be memorized when there is never a SM on book. The SM (her husband) was much too busy building the set/sound designing/fixing light/etc., to ever actually complete any SM duties. And good luck saying anything to the SM himself, as he is, to quote more than one Cape May local, "scary." I'd go more into detail, but you'd really have to see it to believe it.

    Well, perhaps I would be aggressive and defensive too, if I ran a company with only 2 people. It must be incredibly difficult, and I do commend them for doing as much as they do on every show. But all and all, the whole experience was a bit odd and unpleasant.

    Interesting. I had that lovely, intimate theatre-making experience is a beautiful location that this poster hoped for. It is a small company and usually small casts, so I'm guessing a person's experience might vary depending on who they work with, but many actors go back multiple seasons, so I guess many are satisfied. I really enjoyed my time there.

    09/05/2015  7:05pm