One of the most-read and most-loved posts I ever wrote back in the old days of these Grumblings was this one entitled Where have all the Cowboys gone?, a reference to the song of the same name by Paula Cole and its ironic depiction of male responsibility. At the time I was quite frustrated with the large number of men that were flaking out on their commitments to my shows, in many cases after rehearsals had already begun. While that summer wasn't the end of Grinder by any means it was perhaps the summer where the "casting curse" as I call it had its coming-of-age party.
I no longer find it surprising, or even particularly upsetting, when someone, male or female, drops out of a show. It's not the crisis that it used to be - I don't lose sleep over it anymore. Another director might see losing a cast member as a unique and unthinkable catastrophe, but I've almost come to expect it. It's not that I'm confident of finding other actors to replace the ones I've lost - trust me, the catastrophe is quite real and the chances of not finding someone are quite real too - but I no longer get depressed about it. I no longer cease to function. I keep going, managing through the crisis, as someone once said, instead of letting the crisis manage me.
I have had slightly more luck finding replacements lately - maybe because I'm not doing quite so many shows the available talent pool is a little bit deeper. And people's excuses for dropping out seem to be improving too - I can't really fault someone who has a legitimate personal, family or work-related issue, especially when it's been brought about by factors that are beyond their control. But the problem still remains, the curse remains alive and strong.
So my wrath isn't as venemous as it used to be. I don't waste my time getting angry anymore, I just sigh to myself and get on with the search for a replacement. I've learned to live with my curse, to succeed in spite of it. This cowboy is back in his saddle, and he's here to stay.
And on that note, if you're looking to do a show this summer or fall, please get in touch with me - I probably have a great role waiting for you!