Monday, March 30, 2009

Not punting...

But we didn't assume she was gone and replace her. We talked to her first. And were dismayed to hear excuses for her absence, with no apology, then an announcement that she would be at every Thursday rehearsal, but that she was in yet another show and would have to leave early on Tuesdays.

At this point that was no longer cool. We cast someone in the show because we feel they would be good for that part. If someone cares more about a different project, then it gives us the impression that our show is not important to them. We were fine with the actor missing a few rehearsals because we were assured the pattern would come to an end. But when the actor took on yet another project which would draw focus.... we were done. We asked her to decide which show she was going to do, making it very clear that to do our show means fully participating in every rehearsal. She chose.

Rehearsing a show isn't just about whether each actor knows his or her lines, any more than being on a basketball team is about whether a player can dribble the ball. A play is a team project, just like a sports team. This actor did not know her blocking (where she was to stand and move about on stage). She had not built any kind of relationship with the actor playing her cohort. The other actors in the play were constantly having to remember where the missing person would be standing. Not to mention the fact that she is not the only actor who was ever missing. Every once in a while another actor or two is missing because of illness, or previous committment, and suddenly there are two or three people we have to keep in mind. And as a director trying to place 50 kids on stage when folks are missing.... It's pretty tricky to imagine where the missing kids should be.

The parent asked, "So what you're saying is that you don't want my daughter in your show?" 

Nonsense. We gave her a role. We gave her a Principal role. The message we got, however, is that said daughter doesn't much care about being in our show. No actor, regardless of their role, is above the rules that we set out at the beginning. No exceptions. We want kids who want to be here, and aren't prepared to put up with a lack of commitment. If that's upsetting to someone, then maybe that's because it's the first time a person has refused to cowtow.

Making a replacement was a piece of cake, and I'm very excited to have given another girl from the cast a chance to shine; an enthusiastic girl with talent who now will learn that she has a lot to offer.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We did NOT punt a kid from the show last week...

It's important to say so. We simply asked her to choose. Every actor in the show signed a rehearsal agreement at the beginning: Rehearsal dates and times were made very clear, as were our expectations that everyone is required to be at every rehearsal unless otherwise notified. If an actor misses a rehearsal without notifying us, he/she would get a warning. If it happened a second time, the actor would be out.

In the most recent case, many provisions had been made. She was involved in another show, so at the beginning of rehearsals for Seussical we agreed that it was all right for her to miss a few rehearsals and have to leave early for some. We made this agreement based on the assurance that she would be at the last two rehearsals before spring break, and that her show would then be over and she would be fully committed to our show.

She didn't turn up to the last two rehearsals before spring break. No notice. After spring break she missed the Tuesday rehearsal. Again, no notice. Now, by rights we could assume she was gone and replace her.

More in the next installment.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Exploring the Unknown

Jumping into the pool: world of the web. More like the big scary ocean. I am afraid of drowning, getting hypothermia and being stung by jellyfish, not necessarily in that order. 

Heh. Ok, so I have two domain names, which I purchased last summer with the idea of creating a website. Easier said than done, when you have as much knowledge of this as I have. Which is none. I might as well be stepping into a front-end loader and trying to dig a hole. Actually, I'd probably be able to figure that out. 

Why is this so scary? It just means learning it. Same as I didn't know how to use Excel a long time ago, and now it's a piece of cake. And Facebook. I used to be scared of Facebook. And then I got Facebook lessons from Sue. Actually Facebook is kind of boring, when it comes right down to it.

Point is, I guess I need lessons in setting up a website, too. I need someone to hold my hand and sit with me while I follow the steps. Someone who won't mind if I phone them six times a day to say, "How do I do that?

This must be what my mom felt like when she was first learning to use a computer. She'd been a secretary all her working life, and knew how to type stuff like crazy, with a 700 word per minute average speed. But then technology took over and she had to learn how to use a computer. Then it wasn't so much about typing letters as it was about clicking and dragging and buttons and shortcuts... She eventually figured out most stuff, but still phones me once in a while wondering how to fix something that screwed up. [now that she has a Mac I hardly ever hear from her anymore, same as my bro-in-law said about me when I got mine]

I guess I'll eventually get this figured out, too, but I've dipped my toe in and it's freezing cold. I need some scuba gear. 

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Woke up at 5:00 for no reason. Fretting about things I have to do, or things I said to various people throughout the week which may have hurt their feelings, worrying about how to create a website and use the two domain names I own, everything feels urgent but it's certainly nothing I can do anything about at 5 am on a Saturday morning. Got up and read for a bit, went back to bed but not to sleep. Eeveennnttuuualllyyy fell asleep again and woke up at 10. I hate that! 

Shopping day, get pants for the Boy, and a birthday present. Groceries. Work on blocking Scene One of the play (the last scene to block of the first half), fret about when I'm going to set up the stage, and bring in some volunteers to help go through the costume storage. How to delegate when others don't know what I have in mind for props and costumes? How lovely it would be to have one person in charge of costumes and have that person simply read my mind. (song begins playing in my head).

Also have to go in at lunch time this week to do vocal coaching with Horton and choreography with Wickershams... Must block Scene One before Tuesday!

Boy's birthday tomorrow. Need a cake. Oh, and a present. Right.

Finished going through Book One the other day, tweaking, trying to critique it the way Colleen would... she's really preoccupied right now so I need to let her go at her own pace and everything she does is greatly appreciated. I know there's more I can cut and tweak and I truly hope the entire climax of the novel doesn't SUCK!

Coffee's nearly done, time to move.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Facebook Friends

Facebook defines "Friend" very differently from the way I do. It bugs me because I get notes from people asking to be my "Friend", and then I have a decision to make. 

Sometimes it's somebody I've never heard of or seen before. That's a no-brainer. [clicks on Ignore] I have to ask, though: Do some people say Yes to a person they don't even know? I don't get that. I think if I were going to set up a Facebook page for fans, should there ever be any, it would be a separate page where I would not put all my personal stuff and all my relationships with people I actually know. Maybe I'm missing the point of Facebook, but then, oh well.

Trouble is when someone I DO know asks to be my Friend. Well, if I am friends with you, then sure, no problem. But what about when it's someone I met once? Or worked with once or twice? Or played a single gig with? Or don't even like all that much? Well, chances are I don't really consider that person a Friend, and therefore I don't want to be Facebook "Friends" either. I feel like a snob saying Ignore to those people, but if in regular life I would refer to someone as an acquaintance, or "This person I used to know this one time," then I can't consider them "Friends."

I apologise for any hard feelings. 

Actually, no I don't.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Choices and results

So Colleen made a special phone call today to tell me that she likes the New Chapter Seventeen. With all the work I put into the rewrite she wanted to let me know as soon as possible that it was good. It remains to be seen whether the rest of that section works for her, but I am gratified that all that work paid off. I do admit that in comparison to the new version the old one was lame and didn't go far enough. The buildup is more intense and some new conflicts--inner and outer--have arisen making Kyer's relationship with her captors that much more exciting.

I am feeling the loss of the story's playfulness, though. I always liked the fact that it was kind of lighthearted. However, I didn't like the notion that one reader presented, that if I removed the sex scene the book could pretty much be aimed at children. NOT cool.

I can't have it both ways, I guess. I wanted the reader reaction to be stronger, but I can't have that without deepening the intensity, which I guess means losing that playfulness, the sense of humour. I hope it isn't gone completely. My newer readers will be able to tell me. I have to say that I like the, "I can't stop reading it, give me MORE!" reaction I've been getting.

I guess I'm on the right track.