Megan Henderson came to me, early in the week, and told me that her family has to visit other family in Mississippi during Spring Break. Her great-grandmother is in hospital, and not expected to live much longer.
Spring Break is Tech Week. All of it. If there is a time when a director needs her cast available, it's Tech Week! I guess she expected me to say that I could work around her absence. I can't. This is an ensemble show, in spades. In fact, the play is all about being an ensemble, and the projection is that all of us, everywhere, form an ensemble. We can't do that with an actor missing during the entirety of Tech Week.
She is 18, and her mother gave her the choice...she could go with the family, or stay here by herself and do the show. She elected to stay. After I thought about it a bit, I had a problem with that. Not with her mother, but with her decision. She has been brought up in the Sam Bass Youth Guild, where kids are taught that to accept a role is a commitment, and must be honoured. She was assuming the show was paramount to me. I talked to her, and told her there will be other shows. I promised her that I would cast her again, and that I was not mad at her for the situation. I mean, how can you predict a family emergency? In short, I cut her from the show. I don't mind being the "bad guy," when I know things that she doesn't. One of those things is that showing up for family is far more important than being in a play.
But that wasn't all of it. She was playing Isabella, and Olin Meadows was Tristano. He had only accepted the role to bolster her courage, and I thought he might feel stuck, if he was in and she was out. I knew that he, too, would honour his commitment, but I gave him the option to withdraw, telling him that I would not be upset...no harm, no foul. He took me up on it. So there I was with no Lovers.
I called two other people, Justin Chernivec and Dyann Green, who had auditioned, and, fortunately, they were both free, and willing to step into the roles of Tristano and Isabella. Neither of them really knows how much I owe them.
My little play is back on track. My three days of absolute panic are over, and I am, once again, a happy-camper-contented-director.
Life is sweet.