I like to think that I’m a pretty good friend.
Not a perfect friend, not always, but I like to think that for the people I genuinely care about, I am a good friend to them.
And now, I’m going to be a director.
I’ve been a director before, for different people and for different groups, but usually (with the exception of Complete Works), I’ve either hand-picked my actors or had my actors thrust upon me. Either way, I’ve never really had to make waves. Even with Complete Works, I had a few people I couldn’t find spots for, which sucked, and I felt bad, but most of the people whom I couldn’t find spots for were “theatre friends”, good friends, people who I would like to get to know better eve, but they were not “people to whom I have bared my soul to” friends.
And now, I’m going to be directing Antigone.
The problem, you see, with Antigone, is that there is only one Antigone. There’s only one of…well, everyone. And that’s it. Ten parts, ten people, that’s it, that’s all I get. I literally thought about casting 2 Antigones, or two Creons, or splitting up the Chorus, but then I realized– none of that was serving the play or my dramatic vision, it was serving my desperate need for everyone to like me, all the time.
It’s daunting and humbling, all at the same time. Next week I will be sitting at a table and listening to some of my best friends in the entire world read for my show, offering me their time and talents and supporting me, telling me that “I want to be here, I want a place in this show”, which is a HUGE gift to me, a really meaningful gift, and I am going to have to tell some of them that “Sorry, I don’t have a place for you”.
It especially sucks because quite a few of my friends, as my friends, in honest conversation, have told me honestly what roles they are interested in…and many of them want the SAME role. And a lot of them have wanted the role they’ve wanted for a long, long time. I’m going to have to choose between them, all talented, beautiful, fantastic people, and I’m going to have to let some of them down. And that sucks.
I wear many hats. I am “Director” Catie, I am “Friend” Catie, I am “Girlfriend” Catie, I am “family member” Catie…and in all of these roles and in all of these situations, I am good at delineating– at face value. I have always been really good at shutting down personal feelings and conflict in order to get the best show possible, and that’s what I plan on doing. But I also have a guilt complex– about everything. I have talked before about being a serial apologiser, and in this case, I know that I don’t have to apologize for anything– I’m not doing anything wrong, or offensive, I’m just—casting. But I still feel bad, and auditions haven’t even happened yet.
I am so amazingly, fantastically excited for this show. I have a ton of (what I think are) really good ideas, and I have (what I think is) a really neat vision of what this show can be– but I’m still dreading having to call 25 people to tell them “sorry, friend, but you didn’t make the cut”.
What’s weird is that for the first time, I’m going to be doing a show where more people are going to have to meet “director” Catie. And I’m nervous.
I’m not scared about directing the show– I am a damn fine director. I’m not perfect, but I know how to do a good job and to do things well. What has me thinking about this is that today I realized that for some of my friends, some of the people I care about most in the world, the only time they are going to meet “director Catie” is going to be when I call them to tell them that they didn’t get the part they want. Because eventually, no matter how long I put it off, I’m going to have to choose. And then, that will be it.
And I know. I know it’s the nature of theatre and how the system works and all of that, because that’s– well, it’s just how it is. But I’ve been on the other end of that. I know how much it sucks to be told “You were good—just not good enough”. I know what it’s like to lay awake wondering what you could have done better, where you messed up, or why God just didn’t make you 8 inches taller and a leggy blonde. It happens to actors, it’s a part of theatre, but it’s still a shitty feeling.
I have no idea how auditions are going to go next week, and I am SUPER excited to see what people bring to the table. I’m excited to be able to work with the people I DO get to cast, to welcome them into my little world, to share my ideas and vision and to hear theirs, and build a show together—
I’m just not excited to disappoint anyone.