I've been struggling how to put this into words, as I have a lot of feelings about what happened. Perhaps I'll be able to come back another time and look at this again, but I did want to share my recent experience with you.
Just over a month ago, we were in rehearsals for Maple and Vine, and then the rights were pulled. I can't go into the details about why, because it's still unclear to me. Our producer was hoping the rights would become available again, and when it came down to the wire, at 3 weeks before opening, we were asked to shift gears and rehearse a completely new play--Perfect Arrangement (The irony of the title and our situation is not lost on me).
You may remember my blog on rejection, and how I was rejected 5 times in December but was cast in something I was super excited about? When I got cast as Katha in Maple and Vine I was in love. She is a leading lady, who also is a bit goofy and weird, emotionally complex, flawed, loving, selfish...I felt like I could have the complexity of a leading lady AND the joy and craziness of a character role all in one. Parts like that don't come along all that often and I BOOKED it.
I had been worried about what performing a role of this size would be like after having a baby, so as soon as I was cast, I started working on memorizing lines, thinking about my character, and working with my acting coach to make sure that I was presenting the part to the best of my ability. At the time the rights were pulled, I was completely off-book, and really enjoying the process of allowing the character relationships to develop deeper and finding the most specific choices possible. It's that golden time in rehearsal, where the gritty work of learning your part is done, and you can just...play!
So then the cast were faced with the challenge of switching gears. Most of the cast transferred over to the new show, and we added two lovely additional cast members. During the Perfect Arrangement process, I kept beating myself up for not finding the character fast enough, I couldn't connect viscerally to Norma the way I could to Katha. I knew that it was unreasonable to have that expectation with so quick a process, but it was hard not to draw comparisons.
I have to mention that my husband had split his paternity leave (a very generous 12 weeks) into two parts, and we had decided to have him take leave in the final weeks before our daughter's first birthday. This allowed me the time and mental space to dive into learning another role. Had he not taken on the role of the primary parent, I wouldn't not have had the time nor mental space to learn a new show so quickly.
While I am proud of the work on Perfect Arrangement, I mourn the loss of Katha. I'm sad about putting that much time and energy into a character who will never be seen. Goodbye, Katha.