It’s a gorgeous, sunny-bright morning on the banks of The Fox, but blue skies and the birds’ songs beautiful above belie the tense rising water levels below, the highest I’ve seen yet due to heavy rains this month. And, as if with the river’s edge, tensions have been rising at my office as well. Casting has been taking a hit. A major player pulled out on us over the weekend. Sad as it is to be disappointed, it can be tough on the actor as well to disappoint. This happens more than you might imagine and actors and theaters deal with it of course all the time. We have had our share of replacing actors who cannot accept our offers for one reason or another. It comes from not being offered the role they wanted, or scheduling conflicts, or simply being offered more money for a longer running contract. But…
I get attached when I cast. Clearly foolishly so. And really it’s just me, my way of committing. It is a commitment to the actor. The decision to invest and build upon those individual strengths and vulnerabilities, emotional access, physical and psychological energy and technical skills unique to the actor. Many times it’s a leap of faith, off we go into “the unknown,” a hunch, an intuition…a risk…that there is a recognition between us, an acknowledgement, an identification that yes, this is our take on this production together; this is the way to go. And this group of actors begins to manifest, and I get excited for them to work with each other. And, let’s just call it what it is, I fall in love with them.
It’s heart breaking for both sides when it doesn’t work out. At Paramount, we’ve been building for four seasons on that we do what we can for what is best for our actors. As an actor myself, I have known the pangs of rejection they realize more often than not. You can’t take it personally because casting is something over which you have little control, if any. (Read that last bit over and over again for yourself, Jim Corti!) But yes, actors disappoint directors as much as the other way around. Who knew? It plays both ways and know, dear reader, the empathy runs deep. But I’m the type, I guess, that no matter how many times my heart is broken, I will never give up on love. A fool for love. And let me tell you something. I firmly believe that in these situations what happens is for the best…for the actor…and for the production. I have faith that there are opportunities and possibilities all around us. The performances in our theatre have been living proof. You would never guess how many ups and downs and ins and outs have played into casting some of our actors. And just look at how every one of them has delivered. Right up there on that stage where they’re supposed to be and brilliantly.
Love & thanks,