Surviving a Disastrous Production

Unless you’re putting on Titanic, the production you’re a part of should not feel like a fast sinking ship. Unfortunately, more often than not, at some point in every actor’s career there exists a project that you just wish the curtain would close on already. Whether you’re doing your friend a favor, or somehow got stuck in a horribly sloppy show, you might find yourself sitting in a rehearsal wondering:why are we still blocking when the show opens in a less than a week? or why was I called here if the director doesn’t need me?

Never fear! There are actions you can take (as an actor), to find some peace among the chaos and better yourself from the experience without having your soul crushed:

1.) Captain’s Orders

Sitting at the helm of a production, the director is naturally the “go to” person with any questions or concerns. If you’re feeling uncomfortable about things, calmly approach your director and see if you can work together to develop some kind of solution. Never attack or put them down, just attempt to get them on the same page as you. In cases where the director is the issue, all you can do is trust in their vision and perform.

2.) Keep your eyes on the shore

No matter what happens, remember your role in the show. You’re there to tell a specific story, so despite the insanity that may be occurring around you, tell that story to the best of your ability. Make sure you’re fully prepared for opening night, so no matter how terrible a production may be, the audience will leave raving about your stellar performance. Reputations are extremely important in this industry, so don’t hinder yours by giving up.

3.) Grab a lifesaver!

Chances are if you’re feeling an excruciating sense of uneasiness, your cast mates are as well. Try and make the best of the situation, as a team. Whenever you’re not on stage, use each other to go over lines, blocking, songs or whatever else necessary to ensure that you’re not wasting the precious time you do have in rehearsals! Stage Managers, are also excellent lifelines. They are an extremely capable and wonderful breed, and usually don’t mind running through things with actors when possible.

4.) Find the “Silver Lining”

There’s always something to be thankful for in every experience, so find that something. Maybe you’ve discovered a new monologue or song, or maybe you’ve met some great friends. Whatever the circumstance, just try and spin all the negatives into positives. Every production is a learning experience for you to grow as an actor, so look at it that way. At the very least, through all the craziness, perhaps, you’ve uncovered some anger or frustration that you didn’t know you had. You can draw from this for future roles that require such intense feelings.

Overall, just have fun! Performing is what you love to do, so try to ignore the blunders and smile.

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