December 17, 2023 at 4:39 pm

Theater Director Makes Everybody Miserable During The Show, So Crew Makes Sure She’s Never Able To Do It Again

by Matthew Gilligan

Source: Reddit/AITA/Unsplash/@introspectivedsgn

Your work is done here!

What are you supposed to do after a boss tells you that?

I’ll tell you what…you walk away and you don’t look back!

And the person who wrote this story on Reddit’s “Malicious Compliance” page did something just like that…

“Your job is done. I don’t want you to do anything related to the project ever again.”

“I work in technical theatre design, and I was approached by a writer/producer to direct her show after I had been recommended to her by a mutual friend.

Let’s call her Jane.

Sounds like this was going to be a good gig.

Jane had been working on this script for a couple years, and it was her baby.

The script was actually pretty good, and the cast she had already hired was awesome, so I agreed to do the job.

But then they realized something was amiss…

The show had already began rehearsals before I was hired, as the previous director had suddenly quit. After one rehearsal, i immediately realized why.

Jane was an absolute nightmare.

She had no idea what she was doing. She had never produced theatre and knew nothing about any aspect of live event productions (blocking, lighting design, etc).

This woman sounds like a real treat.

However, she also wanted to control and micro manage everything.

A majority of my job ended up consisting of her freaking out about something I had done, then me spending 20 minutes explaining why it had to be done.

The cast didn’t like her, and she made every rehearsal miserable. She wasn’t interested in watching the scenes to see how good the actors were. She would spend every rehearsal buried in her script and getting upset each time an actor missed a word, or said them instead of they, or other minor easily fixable things.

The only reason the cast stuck around is because this woman did have some industry contacts, and she was inviting them all to the show. She constantly bragged about it, and said she would share all her connections with the cast so they could benefit from the show.

There was a ton of work to do.

About two weeks before tech week, I realized she hadn’t hired a lighting designer, booth operator, stage manager, or anyone at all to run the show.

She had been expecting me to do it all once the time came.

I almost quit on the spot, but I ultimately stuck in because the cast was so great, and I knew the show would never happen if I left.

She’d never be able to do anything on her own.

They worked hard to figure it all out.

I ended up calling in a couple favors, and someone we got everything done. The show actually turned out great, and the audience loved it. She had paid a guy to professionally film two performances, and she really got great stuff on tape.

After the show ended, the cast asked for a list of emails/numbers of the industry that was in attendance so their agents could follow up. Jane betrayed them and refused to share any info about her contacts. She said she didn’t want them bothering people she knew.

They were not happy about this.

I was furious, so I sent her an email saying “you need to share that list. It’s what you promised. You owe it to them.”

She replied “This is no longer any of your business. Your job is done. I don’t want you to do anything related to the project ever again.”


Cue malicious compliance.

One week later, she sent me an email.

Apparently she was trying to raise funding to do the show again, and had entered the video she had recorded into an prestigious online theatre festival.

Overlooked that one, didn’t she?

The audio didn’t turn out great in the recoding. She realized that she didn’t have any of the sound effects, the marked production script, the Qlab show file, the projections, the blocking notes, nothing.

I had done all the work, and had all the files. She had never even asked to see them before.

If she wanted to replicate the show, she’d need these things. Otherwise, she’d have to pay someone to start from scratch.

If she wanted to fix the audio, she’d need all the music and sound files.


She demanded that I send her these things immediately.

I replied: “Per your previous instructions, I am not to do any more work on this project. My job is done.”

Then I deleted everything.

She was royally ****** off. Her realizing she had nothing tangible to re-mount her show almost made it worth two months of painful rehearsals.”

Check out how people reacted.

This reader talked about how it works when an author is involved in a production.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Another TikTokker shared an interesting anecdote.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This individual had a bad experience like this.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This reader said they should warn others about Jane.

Source: Reddit/AITA

And one Reddit user said they did the right thing.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This is the kind of person you never want to work for.

Nice work!

Want to read another story where somebody got satisfying revenge? Check out this post about a woman who tracked down a contractor who tried to vanish without a trace.