There are lots of things I consider as I look at potential cast members, not always consciously, but they come into play as I think about who I want on my team. Aside from a talented group, here’s my wish list for the kind of people I’d like to have around.
I want people who play well with others, who are pleasant to be around and whose demeanor improves cast cohesiveness. I’d rather have a peacemaker than a gossip. Those who can handle the inevitable stress and help defuse it are highly valued.
I love responsible people, who arrive on time and arrive prepared. They are the ones who pay attention to the rehearsal schedule, even the changes! They let me know as early as they can what their conflicts are and yet do their best to make themselves available. I actually had someone ask me once if she had a chance of a small part in a simple show if she could only rarely come to rehearsals. Uh, no.
I appreciate people who are helpful, who are willing to assist with other tasks at the theater. Sometimes there is a whole separate crew to handle costuming, set construction, wigs, makeup, props, etc. Often there is not. People who are willing to pitch in are golden.
In a perfect world, all cast members would be mature and independent. I can dream, right? They’d pick up after themselves, remember to bring their scripts, realize the dressing room needs to be shared and that props don’t put themselves away. Little things become big things when stress mounts.
I would love everyone to be a diva in terms of talent and general awesomeness, but not a diva in terms of being high maintenance and emotionally demanding. I want to work with people who know the appropriate time and place to voice concerns, which is usually not at 90 Db in front of the whole cast. I admire people who can have patience with themselves and encourage others when the going gets tough (or when the costume doesn’t fit or the song is hard to learn). A positive attitude goes a long way in a situation that is, by nature, emotional and demanding.
Oh, the drama!