Doing theatre is wonderful. It is fun, and creative, and among the most amazing experiences I have ever had. But it is not easy.
The hard parts of theatre are well known to anyone who has ever done a play; the beginning when no one is quite comfortable yet, the days where everyone hates everyone else, the rehearsals where someone (or several someones) end up on the stage floor in tears. Towards the end, the exhaustion begins to take its toll, tempers run short and emotions hover just under the barely composed surface, and there is the inevitable day when you realize you have no clean clothes and you haven't seen your friends in three months, and you wonder why you ever voluntarily chose to do such an insane thing.
The most heartbreaking part though, is casting day. That's the day that every person whose hopes had been pinned on a particular part learns if those hopes have been realized or crushed. The seniors find out if they get to do one last play, or if they will have to settle for being a spectator or crew member. The new kids see whether the risk they took in trying out has paid off.
And the director has to watch it all and know that there are going to be some people who love her forever, some that are going to take the rejection too personally, and some that are considering going home and putting a voodoo curse on her.
The hardest ones are the criers. Usually these are the kids who did their very best but could not quite make the cut, or the seniors who realize that this was their last shot. I wish there were a way to cast them all, or at least a way for them to understand that all the hurt they are feeling, I feel it too, multiplied by the knowledge that I am the reason they are hurt. No matter how many times I tell myself that everyone has to learn to deal with disappointment, and rejection is an inherent part of theatre, it still kills me to see it in action.
Next year I am taking a sick day.