Kicked to the Curb

I recently afforded myself the opportunity to audition for a stage play for the first time in over a year.  I declined invitations to audition for a couple season-opening shows, as I already had committed to other obligations which would have conflicted with those productions.A show scheduled for later in the season was of particular interest to me, and I began making plans to keep my calendar free, so I would be available to participate should I get cast.  I read the play several times and developed a new audition piece, partly to try something different, and also because none of my prepared monologues exhibited characteristics that matched my desired role in this play.

Thankfully, I was awarded a supporting role in the show.  Although it was my second choice, I was excited at the prospect of performing this character and working with such a talented cast.  Shortly after I learned the part, the actor originally cast as the lead apparently had a conflict, and I was offered the lead role I had originally hoped to perform.  I was thrilled to be trusted with such an important role and looked forward to developing this multi-faceted character.

Over the next two weeks, I devoted a great deal of time to learning the script:  putting in an extra hour each night, taking a day off from work, and even sequestering myself from family who visited from out of town during this period.  Although I am not a proponent of playing back audio recordings of lines as a memorization method, I also engaged in this practice; in part, because others have found it to be an effective tool, and also because the amount of time I needed to spend in my car was unavoidable, and I did not want that time to go to waste.  My next step was to start calling my cast-mates to have some informal scene studies and character discussions.

The director discussed with me the rehearsal time requirement.  I acknowledged I was already fully dedicated to the production.  I would not have auditioned for the show if I would not have been able to fully focus throughout the rehearsal period.  After clearing a few potential conflicts, I re-affirmed my promise to fully honor the director’s scheduling request.  The very next day, I was asked to leave the production due to a “lack of commitment.”

Challenging an artist’s dedication to his craft is tantamount to slander.  The Bard said it best:  He that filches from me my good name, robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.  As I have given no indication for anyone to doubt my commitment, I am lead to believe there may have been some outside influence.  As The Poet would say:  I will be hang’d, if some eternal Villain, some busy and insinuating rogue, some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office, have not devis’d this slander.  If that is the case, the true reason for my departure may never be known.

Although I am more than a little disappointed at having this opportunity stripped from me, I completely understand and fully support the fact that the director’s vision for a production must be upheld, and I realize I was not the first choice for this role.  However, I do not understand why a director would rather assassinate someone’s character than admit to making a mistake.  I am left with no choice but to take my lumps and move on.  Fortunately, as one door closes, another opens; I have been contracted to perform over a dozen live performances of a different production throughout the Northeast Florida area this Fall.  I will share the details of that later.

For the remaining cast, I am so terribly sorry I cannot share the stage with such excellent talent.  Should you need someone to help run lines or assist your preparation in any other way, I am here for you.  You have my best wishes, hopes and prayers for a successful production, and I look forward to the next moment we can perform together.

Break a Leg!
Scott J. Smith
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