I have a list. It's a mental list, it's not actually written down, but it is a list none the less. It's a list of names and faces. It's a list you don't want to find yourself on! It's not a long list and the honor of being placed on that list requires a lot of work. This list contains the names of people, mainly actors, that I will never work with again, will never recommend to anyone and depending on the severity of their crime may go out of my way to tell other people not to work with them. I know that sounds a bit harsh and perhaps it is. But I'm a very patient person and it really takes a lot for an actor to find his or her way onto my list. Once you do though I'm afraid there is no amount of smiles, gifts, kind words, or compliments that will get your name crossed off the list. If you disappoint me, if you disappoint others, if you intentially make a decision that sacrifices a production you will be on my list forever.
Now I'm a reasonable person, if your reasons are good, things like family and health they always come first, no one should ever put a production ahead of their families or medical issues, ever. I will be the first one to tell you that we'll be okay, please go and take care of what needs to be handled and we will welcome you back when you can come back.
I really do have a ton of patience. I used to teach kindergartners and a long time ago I realized that actors are like kindergartners. I say this out of the utmost love and respect. (I should say that 98% of my closest friends are actors and I wouldn't trade them for anyone else in the world.) Here are the parrellels:
You often need to ask both Kindergartners and Actors to pick up and put away their toys or props.
You need to reinforce the ideas of inside/outside voices or stage/normal voices.
You find yourself bandaging cuts knees and cleaning out wounds for both groups.
You need to tell both Kindergartners and Actorswhen to arrive, when to leave, when to go to the bathroom.
And there are moments when they return from the bathroom when you want to ask them if they've washed their hands.
Both groups need and thrive on a lot of love. They both have a lot of love to give, they are insanely creative and slightly eccentric. This is why I love them. They have this wonderful ability to make me laugh, show me that life goes on and will be alright. They are remarkably supportive and genuine. My kindergartners that I used to teach and the actors that I have the honor of working with and being friends with continually enrich my life and I am a better person for knowing them.
So when one of them does something that disappoints me, it is not something I take lightly. When you make a decision based on a whim in your head and that decision hurts a cast, company or a production you, my friend, you will find yourself at the very top of my list.
I have a few things I can promise you will recieve just for being on my list:
1. The guarantee that you will never be cast in a production that I am directing, stage managing or production managing.
2. I solomenly promise that the next time someone asks me for a recommendation for a role that you might be absolutely perfect for, your name and face will flash through my brain and I will smile, look at the person and say, "um..no I really can't think of anyone."
3. I can also assure that if someone asks me about you, I will without guilt, tell them what you did that made you end up on my list.
4. Finally you should know that in any future encounters we may have I will be cold but professional, we will not hug and catch up, I reserve those activities for people not on this small but very important list.
I do not put anyone on this list on a whim. You will never leave the list. So please think about your actions, think about the consequences and don't make me add you to my list.