The Show Must Go On

“Stop the music and pull up the stage lights! God, this scene isn’t working!”

The stage fills with light but the seating is still in total darkness

“What are you finding so challenging about it?” asks a soft voice from the blackness.

“I have no idea how to play this part, the character changes every few scenes, there’s no consistency.”

“That’s the character Chris, that’s how it was written.”

“I don’t get it, he’s happy one second, he’s miserable the next, one second things are going great and the next thing you know it's a train wreck, It’s impossible how fast those switches occur!”

“What’s so impossible about it?”

“It’s unnerving. Why would you write this character like this?”

“...Are you questioning my writing?” the voice said with a hint of annoyance.

“No.. I just don’t get the angle.”

“The only way this play is going to work is if everyone plays their parts correctly.”

“What about the love interest in this play? What about the friends? Everyone in this play gets re writes as often as they want and they get to improv half of their lines and re work their characters and I’m stuck playing to every literal word!” yells the man on stage as he throws down his script

There is silence in the black audience. A moment passes without a whisper.

“God?”

No one answers.

The man on stage paces back and forth, angrily kicking his script around the stage.

“Chris.”

“Where were you?” The man on stage demands

“Worry about your part, this issue is not my problem, it is yours.”

“You always do this! You're on me, then you zone out, and the blame always gets put back on me. What kind of a director do you think you are!?"

“You seem to be forgetting who you are speaking to!” The voice from the crowd bellows. “ I hired you for this part, and I have every ability to cut you from this play!”

“What if I just quit! What if I just pack my shit and leave?” The man on stage demands as he casts an icy glare into the darkness beyond the stage. " I didn't even want this part, you chose me for it! I had no say in any of this!"

“I have heard that argument a million times before and it's bogus every time I hear it. You chose the part just as much as it chose you. As for quitting, you know what happens to someone who quits my plays. You will not find work if you quit this Chris, I promise you that, I won't allow it."

The voice takes a break and softens.

"Besides, this role is made for you; you just don’t want to accept that. You are spending all of your time focusing on the aspects of the part you don’t want to play, that you are missing the parts that make this role so unique and compelling. You are so hung up on the dynamic between you and the love interest that you are losing sight of the struggle your character faces in his own plot-line. You worry about the friends, but they are playing their roles perfectly, with little complaints may I add. You need to look at this character as a hurdle, not as a wall."

The voice begins to get louder and more stern.

"Relish the challenge, lose your fucking attitude, and play the part the way It is meant to be played! There is wiggle room for improv but so far everything you have tried has sucked. Figure it out Chris and make it work. Until you do, I’m not helping anymore, and If you quit, I will make sure you never get work in this town again!”

The man on the stage stands silent, frozen in his position. After a moment he speaks.

“Should I start from where I left off?”  He asks meekly.

He gets no answer as the stage lights dim and the music begins to play.