It’s Sunday afternoon and I have no rehearsal, but I work nevertheless. The rain drops at my window and the light of my computer let my eyes feel itchy. I was always sure that understanding and forbearance are the two most important abilities of an director or even more of a dramaturg. In the meantime I’m not sure anymore.
Like always I have to organize the rehearsal schedule and other appointments. And like always I reorganize the appointments because of new very, very, very important dates some of the team members can’t move. Until now I had to cancel a whole week of rehearsals, a date of a performance and this afternoon I seem to lose another three days of rehearsals.
But what can I say if there is a casting appointment in Finland or Berlin or anywhere else in the world? Everyone of us has to organize a career after this production. Off-theater cannot guarantee a kind of safety in that job. It’s not for some years (like the institutional theaters offer); it’s only for a few weeks – and really badly paid. But otherwise I do have a responsibility for the quality of the production and nonetheless for the chance of the other actors and singers to rehearse. If one of us is missing it worsens the working conditions for all of us.
So what’s more important: being responsible and reliable or being sympathetic and lenient? But the crux of the matter is that there is no contradiction. There is no decision. Being a responsible director also means that I create the best working conditions for all team members, including mental and physical conditions. So if there’s a real existential fear circling in someone’s head I have to handle it. Because no one can act properly if he or she is mentally blocked.
That means if I am kind and let the actor or singer go to a casting, the person will feel more liberated and ready to work after that. But the others may feel stressed because of the loss of time – like I do. But if I even try to forbid leaving rehearsal (they would go anyway) there’s a discussion, anger, and stress, and these will block the person and again no one can act.
It feels like being Ulysses between scylla and charybdis. The decision can only be wrong. Hopefully there will be a deus ex machina helping me out of all that.
Goldstaub team during the Brennender Schnee/Burning Snow production:
Jeffrey Döring – artistic director
Mariam Haas – set designer
Johana Gomez – set designer
Felix Nagl – sound designer
Iris Schwarz – motion designer
Simon Greiner – motion designer
Elmar Mellert – designer of the art book
Lisa Ströckens – soprano/ actress
Laila Richter – actress
Johannes May – actor
Pascal Zurek – bass baritone/ actor