Tell Me Honestly… It’s My Breath, Isn’t It?

I try not to take it personal. The logical side of my brain computes the facts for what they are and assures me that whatever the emotional side of my brain comes up with is complete and utter hogwash. Unfortunately, the biggest problem with being this man called Woof is that more often than not, the emotional side casts the bigger shadow.

I have just held auditions for my fourth show as a director. My first time out, as a completely unknown entity (at least as a director), I had 60 women over 2 nights auditioning for 5 roles. In the three shows since then, I have not had a COMBINED total of 60 auditioners for a total of 25 roles I needed to fill. Now like I said, my logical half is all over these numbers, dissecting them for what they truly are.

The first show was all about the 20-40 year-old female demographic, by far the most abundant resource in the world of theater. Plus, it was in about as central a location as a theater can be around here, being within the 128/95 belt and yet on the edge of the city where public transportation still dares to go. The script was readily available, written by a fairly well known author (albeit known more for movies and TV than his stage work), and extremely balanced in terms of the size of all the roles. It was, in a nutshell, the perfect show to try to cast. The three shows since then have been less well know, having been written by virtual nobodies (aside from Stephen Sondheim, although being his first attempt at “straight” theater doesn’t help), and in at least one case the script became very difficult to find. Plus, Reading and Maynard aren’t necessarily places that people “from all over” are going to mark down as hotspots, particularly those venturing out of the city in search of hobby.

So, yes, the facts quite clearly show that this precipitous drop in audition turnout has everything to do with show and circumstance than anything else. So why is it that I can’t shake this feeling that there’s something about my name being attached to the project that is causing at least *some* of the problem.

Again, this is an irrational thought. I am not certain about many things in life, particularly when it comes to my place in it, but one thing I *am* certain of is that I’ve accumulated a reputation of being a decent guy to be around. Am I sarcastic a great deal of the time? NO! Not ME?! Oh… wait… that would be a big fat YES. Do I have a somewhat harsh sense of humor? Yeah, guilty. But even those “faults”, if one can call them that, have allowed me to build a rep as someone who’s funny and who keeps things loose. I’d venture for every person who is turned off by my sense of humor, a dozen more are happy to have me around. On top of that, I made a strict promise to myself a number of years ago – when I decided to completely immerse myself in this thing called Community Theater – to be as respectful and as appreciative to the tech crews and behind the scenes folks as was humanly possible (without seeming like a complete and utter kiss-ass). I feel like I’ve done that. I had three simple goals when I started: I wanted to have as much fun as I could; I wanted to be proud of the work I did; and I wanted to leave each group knowing that I would be welcomed back the next time. I can’t think of a single experience I have had over the last five-plus years that hasn’t achieved all three goals to at least some degree.

I’ve continued that thought process as a director, and to date, I think I’ve built a reputation for putting on solid shows where everyone had a good time and felt like they were treated fairly and with respect. Which again begs the question of why I would even consider that these low turnouts are due to my reputation. I have no evidence to support the idea (aside from the obvious: I’m completely delusional and everything I think about my reputation lies in direct contrast to the truth; but come on, even *I’m* not self-depreciating enough to believe that).

The answer, obviously, is that I *don’t* believe it. I don’t even really consider it a possibility, aside from devoting enough time to the idea to write this stupid blog. In fact, just writing it out draws into sharper focus just how ridiculous the whole thing is. I’ve torn apart my own faulty logic in the span of about 800 words. This whole rant is useless outside of being therapeutic.

All of which still won’t do me a lick of good in casting the rest of this show and keeping me from thinking, “is it something I said?”, when the rejections pour in. Some things, it seems, never change.

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