Friday, November 16, 2018

Choice be a Chick Tonight

He didn’t show up to two rehearsals so far. This was after I requested three times for him to check the schedule and make sure that he could attend all of them. Not a word.

The young man gave me a strange conflict sheet when auditioning: “Known/Unknown.” That was all it said. He later crossed it out and wrote, “Work 4 nights a week.” I was assuming he didn’t know which nights or what times, hence his lack of thoroughness. Turns out, the first two he was working, one which I found out when I made a point to contact him, the second when I called him to know why he wasn’t there. He told me that he thought he had made it clear that he was working Friday through Saturday. He said sometimes until six, sometimes until nine. All rehearsals started at six thirty. He said he thought he’d made it clear that he couldn’t work at all those days.

He was also extremely condescending. A neckbeard, of sources, a 21 year old techie who boasted constantly, introduced himself via argument and disagreement. The first thing he ever spoke to me was a criticism in a conversation he wasn’t a part of. For the rest of the night, I never heard him once agree with anyone.

He had gained a bad reputation at town. One person was his Uber driver, having to wait at least ten minutes every time the guy called. Another worked with him at a coffee shop. Being late and a no-show was his cup of tea. He ended up pissing off most cast members by directing and criticizing, including the play’s biggest sweetheart.

He complained about the part he got. He insulted the writer to her face.

I was going to fire him. I was actually looking forward to it. There was some part of me, deep down, who really wanted to take out all of my previous experiences with irresponsible and conceited pains-in-the-ass on him. But I thought better of it.

I am a strong believer in the golden rule. I am a strong believer that people can change.

When I took him aside and chewed him out, he was, understandably pissed. He accused other people of being too sensitive, claiming that he should be able to say, “That’s a fucking stupid idea” as long as he could back it up.

I did not say, “That’s a fucking stupid idea,” having him not take my blunt criticisms well; instead pointed out not only how having a judgmental person in the room directly impacts a person’s aptitude, and explained that even if he’s right, that everyone is overly sensitive, he’s the one who faces the consequences. We were going to fire him. His reputation around town was terrible, and I’d mentioned my stress dealing with him to a fellow theatre producer who wanted his name so she could never cast him. I somewhat wanted him to quit because I knew of people who I could count on who had, at that point, done pretty much the same level of work.

He needs to focus on his goals and reputation and take care of himself, ironically, by taking care of other people. I also made a big point to add that if you tell someone, “That’s a fucking stupid idea,” and are wrong you hemorrhage credibility where, “Here’s what I’m concerned about,” doesn’t. He’d often come across as naïve and oblivious on numerous occasions because of his tendency to state things he wasn’t informed about as fact.

He was offended that I made a point to say he was replaceable. I told him, truthfully, that he should be flattered. I knew that he could do better and so I was going through the effort to be clear about the problem and hopefully aim to fix it.

It is harder to work with and redeem someone who has failed you once (or especially several times) before than it is to start over with a new player. If someone takes the time to tell you that something isn’t working, it might mean that they need you, that they don’t think they can find anyone else, but it doesn’t necessarily come from that. I’ve never stuck beside someone because I thought I couldn’t do it without them. I’ve done it because I liked them, because I believed in them. And because I knew their mistakes were idiotic and easily fixed.

The conversation ended pretty well. It wasn’t filled with only criticisms, and I pointed out how his insults to the author (that his character wasn’t really about “acting”) was actually doing himself a disservice too. There were parts of acting that came easily to him, hence why he got casted after even getting himself off on the wrong foot with me. I told him honestly that I was glad the ideas were coming easily for him, but that wasn’t typically normal and it was a hard part to play. He was good at making things his own.

At the end, after the heat died down, I told him that I just couldn’t understand how he could miss so many rehearsals (very uncommon in my years of doing theatre) even after I’d told him to check the schedule.

“I’m a certain kind of special.”

Thing was, he was never late or absent again. He was actually the most punctual person from that point on, despite having claimed several times that being disorganized and tardy was an integral part of his personality. He had explained that he did these kinds of things at work and internships and other places, confirmed by his reputation around town.

My thoughts have always been, well, just don’t do that.

I’ve encountered this several times in my life, where someone who is severely failing in a certain area of their life refuses to change obvious behaviors causing it. Romantically, professionally, or even artistically, many people who can’t get a leg up are making obviously bad choices.

Show up. Be mentally present. Respect other people. Put in effort to do a good job.

These bare-minimum things are absolutely required if you want to excel, and once you’ve made the decision to be a good team player, it’s actually not hard at all. Even as someone dealing with depression, who dreads daily living, I am capable of being on time, listening to people, and thinking critically about how to achieve what is necessary.

Procrastinating is a choice. Tardiness, being unreliable, lying. All flaws are is really a series of choices. You don’t necessarily think about them, and sometimes they’re so ingrained that it’s far more of an effort to not do it. Yet that doesn’t mean it’s going to define you, that you are incapable of achieving your goals because of this tendency of yours.

Today I struggled to get out of bed. I was tired, like always, despite having slept fifteen hours the day before. How could I mentally go to work? It’d been like this for so long, and I couldn’t muster the motivation exist, let alone look at my overflowing to-do list. Yet, I knew that these unproductive days were eating away at me, that I had responsibilities, and so I made myself rise, go to the computer and start writing. And you know what? I feel a lot better now.

Sometimes the decision to do something is the hardest part. But it is still up to you to choose what you want in life and seize it.

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