Hitting Bumps in the Road

When you work for a well oiled machine like Cal Shakes or Berkeley Rep, they have
heaps of cash and a structure that is in place to keep everything running. When it’s your
own show, a small budget, and a structure that holds together but not a lot of resources,
things get interesting.

In our latest production, we have had some casting… “issues,” let’s call them. It has
made it clear to me that too few actors realize what really goes into building the work.
It’s not that they don’t understand it, they never really take it into consideration. Or
worse, they think they don’t have a responsibility to the company, especially if it is small.
Well that isn’t exactly true; the theatre world is small, I get calls or e-mails often asking
me what so and so was like to work with, or have I ever had dealings with this actor.

It’s frustrating of course when you are putting work together and things fall apart or don’t
get done. Small companies don’t always have a safety net, so as the producer/director
it’s up to you to fix it.

We are in transition, if you can call it that. We have company members really stepping
up to the plate and taking things on.

So sometimes it’s hard to let go.

When you have had people tell you again and again that they will do something and it
never happens, you get a little gun shy. So my issue is letting people take things on.

Yes – I’m working on it.

Growing pains can be difficult but necessary to build a better structure. We all fall into
patterns of work; “we’ve always done it this way” or “I’ll just take care of it.” All of this I
need to break from and allow other people to do it. And be okay if they fall down a little
when they do. Cutting each other slack doesn’t always happen in this field, but it should;
it can make us all a little better.

Provided we get the fact that we fell down in the first place, and that we learn from it.


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