Sometimes the schedule of the actors makes it difficult to do good work - and you have to RE-CAST. Many student directors fret over that, but it's all about how you do it and definitely doesn't have to mean insulting anyone - or ruining the chances of working with them again.

Here is an example of some re-casting we did in my directing class and how I worded things so that everyone felt empowered, respected & appreciated.


ORIGINAL ACTRESS to DIRECTOR


[To DIRECTOR],
I understand you have a rigid schedule at school and w/ this class, but I have to ask if there is any way we could switch our time slot w/ another director/actors because I just started a brand new teaching job this week as drama teacher at 32nd st. School performing arts magnet.  I have a middle school play production class to teach that ends at 3pm.  I'm nervous to ask my principal for coverage only my 2nd week of teaching, therefore I ask this of you 1st- if we could possibly swap w/ another director/group to go later- after 3?
let me know,
[ORIG ACTRESS]



DIRECTOR to STEPH

My actor made this request - I go up Oct 2. from 1 - 3 pm - Scene B -  I go second.  Can this be changed since she'll get out of her job at 3pm?  

if I can't do a switch - are there any female actors I can get as a replacement?  [DIRECTOR]


STEPH to DIRECTOR

Yes. ... No reason to make 5 other people shift times for her.  Tell her I said we’ll keep her in mind for future stuff:

Here you go: [Steph inserted info for New Actress]
She worked with me when I was a guest director at the Classical theatre Lab and had a great experience.  She’d be a doll to work with and fun and would love to do it. She's available for this date and the only reason I didn’t bring her in was her conflict with another date.

I’ll send her an email telling her of the possibility.

Ok?

(in fact, I’m going to shoot emails to both actresses & shift them.  You’ll be happy.)
Steph


STEPH to ORIGINAL ACTRESS

Hi [ORIG ACTRESS],

I understand you've now got a scheduling problem.  While I understand that things do come up, this is the very thing I didn’t want to have to make my directors (and their actors) all have to go through – i.e. 5 other people will have to try to change for this.  

Thus....IF they can – that’s fine, but otherwise, I’m afraid we’re going to have to replace you in the scene this round.  I understand your job situation and I don’t think it would be fair to you – or to my director – to ask you to attempt to get there if a switch cannot be made with all 5 people.  So, please know that if it doesn’t work out, I’ve got your info and you are on my list for future casting (and the directors have already seen you and know who you are – and all are doing 2 more scenes this term, so there are plenty of opportunities.)

Don’t know how it will go down and I’m going to be unavailable for most of the weekend, so I just wanted to send this to you directly to assure you that it’s not personal – simply practical.  Ok?
Maybe it will work out, but I’d rather everyone find a way that feels good and isn’t stressed –as I’m sure you can understand.

In any event, thanks  and I’m ‘cc’ing” this to [DIRECTOR].
Best to all
Steph


STEPH to NEW ACTRESS

Hi [NEW ACTRESS],

One of the actresses who ended up getting cast in a scene that goes up Thursday Oct 2nd from 1-3pm, has had a conflict arise and we’re not sure we’re going to be able to accommodate her, so you were the first person I thought of to replace her – since you were so lovely to work with – and I believe that was the day you were available.

I’m going to be unavailable for most of this weekend, so I’m sending you this email now and I’m “cc’ing” the director of the scene (one of the first scenes with Catherine and the father in “Proof”).
If you ARE available, could you ‘reply all’ - so that I get a copy just to be in the loop – but to [DIRECTOR] and could you guys figure it all out?

(It’s sounding to me like replacement is the best move here, thus I’m just hooking you two up – but I don’t want to presume that’s what will happen.)

In any event, it would always be a treat to see you come in, and maybe it will be soon.
:)
Have a good weekend,
Both of you
Steph


STEPH to DIRECTOR

(she saw my emails to the 2 actresses)

Helpful?

There, I’ve paved the new road and mended the old one for you so that you don’t have to deal with it and can see how I did it for when you have to do it.
Hope it’s helpful.

Now, do what you want.

(And my suggestion is to NOT ask others to switch and just use [NEW ACTRESS] – but do whatever you want.)

Steph


DIRECTOR to STEPH

This is just FANtastic - Steph - I told [FIRST ACTRESS] I'd give her till tomorrow (Saturday) so let me wait and see if she can accommodate me tomorrow by say 12 noon.  - I'm expecting she can't but I want to give her what I already told her.  In the meantime, my other actor - John Ross and I had rehearsals set up for Sunday at 11 a.m. and Wed. at 4 p.m. so it would be nice to hopefully work with that.  

So, I'm just waiting til noon - then I'll contact [FIRST ACTRESS]
she's got great creds.  And she's perfect looking as the daughter of John Ross :) - thanks so much!  [DIRECTOR]


FIRST ACTRESS to STEPH

Stephanie & [director],

Thank you so much for trying!
I apologize for any inconveniences.
Please give my best to John and the other directors. It was lovely meeting and working w/ everyone last thursday, and I wish you the very best on "proof", what a wonderful play! I really admired your take on the scene, [director], and I hope to work w/ you and/or your class another time this year.
Thank you Stephanie for your understanding. I don't want any of us to be stressed either.

Best,
[FIRST ACTRESS


DIRECTOR to FIRST ACTRESS

Yes, [orig actress], it's best that you go into your job and not be stressing - and then be trying to squeeze this in somehow - so it works all around. We hope you'll be available in the future too!   Best to you!  
[Director])

NEW ACTRESS to STEPH
Hi Steph and [director],
Thanks for thinking of me!
I am still available on Oct 2nd.
[director] has emailed me separately and I'll email her back right now and hopefully we can work out the rehearsals....
I will try my hardest :-)
Hope to see you both soon!
[New Actress]

DIRECTOR to STEPH

You were quick and I soooo appreciated it!

All's well that Ends Well.