Imagine if you will, you're in a show and it's about two weeks from opening night. You and your castmates are off-book, the set is almost finished and you're ready for tech week, then disaster strikes, one of your castmates drops out of the show.
Not because of an injury or serious illness. Not because of a death in the family or emergency forcing them to leave the state. No, your fellow cast member dropped out because their fragile ego was hurt and rather than stick it out, they quit. Quit the production and more importantly, quit on you.
I was recently told of a situation just like this a couple of weeks ago when an actor dropped out of the show because he got into an argument with the director about line brush-up rehearsals....
So because this actor didn't want to do brush-up rehearsals, he quit and left his castmates scrambling two weeks before opening night.
I cannot think of anything worse one can do to their fellow cast members.
If there was ever a Ten Commandments of Acting in a Show, "Thou Shall Not Quit on Your Castmates" would be one of them. There is something special about being in a show with other people and earning their trust. It's strong and lasting and when it's betrayed, it's almost never repairable. So it shocks me when actors are so selfish that they forget that when they quit shows to save their own egos.
It shocks me that someone would stoop to that level and it also shocks me that they would put their future casting at risk.
I don't know about you, but for myself as a director, if someone quit my show for selfish reasons, I would never cast again. I've spoken with plenty of directors who feel the same.
Now the good news is that there is another type of actor. The ones that step in at the last minute, who get off book and are ready by opening night. Those are the actors who are my first call next time. For instance, like the one who kindly stepped in for the local production I was talking about, who helped them get through a magnificant run.