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For the Record
A Question of Safety

Dear Professor Production:

This is about a friend of mine. She is currently stage managing a production of Hair on our main stage. Earlier this week, she received a phone call at midnight from a stranger that knew too much about her. She has had problems with stalkers before, so she was concerned for her safety. We concluded that we'd all keep our eyes out for her and not get too worked up until there was more to deal with. Of course, she did report the incident to her resident assistant and security. It didn't affect her work too much; she was just more paranoid than usual.

Last night she got another phone call at 2 a.m. This time it was with three separate voices: one threatening to come into her room, a second talking about perception, and a third expressing vulgarities. She immediately called a few friends, myself included, and reported the incident to security. I have been keeping her company ever since this incident.

The real question is how much the personal life and the professional life of a stage manager are allowed to mix? This new development will affect her performance as a stage manager. From a stage manager's perspective, what should she do?

Professor Production replies:

First of all, this student needs to get the police involved and not just an RA or security as it seems like there is a huge safety issue there.

As for personal life and being a stage manager or any job, there needs to be a separation between work life and personal life. This does not mean you can't discuss or share what happens at home or at work with your coworkers or family and friends (in fact many of your coworkers may be close friends as well).

What you need to be careful of is when something in your personal life affects your ability to perform your duties at work. If the problem of being stalked prohibits her from working effectively as a stage manager, there should be a discussion of whether she needs to be replaced.

As you gain more experience in life, there will come many times when you feel you need to stop one part of your life to focus on another, and that isn't necessarily possible or practical. Using the skills you have as a stage manager, you should be better prepared at prioritizing and solving your problems both at work and in life.

I would recommend more involvement from the faculty and law enforcement to bring this issue to a close and provide as much support as possible to the student during this unusual time. It sounds like she has a great support group in her friends and that the students in the production also are trying to make sure this student is safe.

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"Professor Production" is available to answer your questions. Please forward any questions to