People on this team seem to believe, maybe not all but enough people, that I am a scatter-brained goofball rather than a competent director who is managing all the threads necessary to keep this show afloat, if you’ll pardon the phrasing. Let me address that now.
As part of my commitment to this project, I answer all of my email every day. My inbox typically contains twenty or more new important email threads daily, and is always completely empty by noon. I have not seen this level of commitment outside of Marcee and me. It is part of what makes our company the success that it is. It is rude not to answer correspondence and questions, and it is rude to make people wait on something so that their emotional energy is partially dedicated to an open question, so we both take time to be on top of every thread. It is also rude to expect that they will put things on hold for you when they see you, or take a call when you decided something is important. Respecting people’s time means posing a question at their convenience, and answering within a reasonable time frame.
Marcee and I answer every email from the production team, every email from the outside for marketing and borrowing. It is exhausting and sometimes frustrating, as sometimes the answers have to wait for approval from so many people, but we do it. Then, I come into the theater every day and answer more questions, and offer help working on the set, or to stage management, or to anyone else who asks, so that we can provide an easier environment for actors and other creatives to do their job.
When that’s done, I try to clear my head for the limited rehearsal time so I can attempt to solve all the myriad blocking problems and sightline issues and acting beats and plot threads and character arc questions that the actors have. Yet, despite my repeated requests to the contrary, people still ask questions in this dedicated three-hour period about things they could hold until after rehearsal or email about instead. I answer this with a smile and polite professionalism, even though I will need a moment to re-center and focus on the actual task at hand which is rehearsal. Typically, no less than ten people ask him questions that could be asked outside of rehearsal. Stage management should be the only people asking me questions during rehearsal; all questions should go to Julia first. If you’re worried that she’s too busy to answer, then you should extend that same courtesy to me. Hold your questions.
With all these things in mind, occasionally, I need to ask questions about where we are and what action comes next, but then have to suffer the judging eyes of people in the room. I may come off as a goof in rehearsal, but I assure you there is a reason for that which has nothing to do with lack of commitment or understanding of the play or of what needs to be done. Rather, it is a defense mechanism. So many people assume that because I look like a bully, I am one. If I act in a straightforward manner, I am perceived as rude or intimidating, and that is not the environment I prefer. I prefer collaboration and openness and forgiveness, but that does not mean there is no authority structure in place.
Since, however, this approach has been greeted with disdain for the structure necessary to ensure that it all runs smoothly, you may see a different approach from now on. If what is preferred in order for me to given the respect I have given all of you is for me to be more of an authoritarian, I assure you I can create that environment instead. If what you need is to be treated like children in order for you to act like respectful adults, I can provide that.
I will not allow this show to suffer for the sake of egos any longer. Do your job, and I will do mine.