PUBLISHED: 13 / July 2018
Over the years there has been one issue that pops up after our shows have been cast. Despite our best efforts through training, education and strong leadership we still see students and parents fall victim to what we call “lead role-itis” . It’s that horrible disease that comes with a nasty case of envy and resentment towards those that cast a show and sometime worse, those that are given a lead role.
How does lead role-itis manifest? Generally we see this surface soon after auditions have been held for an upcoming production. When students or adults have had a close affiliation with a theatre company for many years, and are familiar with a particular creative team, a strong personal bond is made between students and tutors. These tutors then become the core creative team members for our productions and plays. A close collaborative creative process means that students and sometimes grown adults feel safe enough to let their guard down. This is a wonderful bond that in my experience is unique to the performing arts.
A downside to this is that often an individual can often feel personally betrayed when they do not get a lead role. They are left feeling hurt, sad and embarrassed. We hear things like, “it’s just favoritism”, or “I’ve been attending classes longer than that person” and sometimes even “I’m a far better person for that role”.
Hunter Drama is proud to stand for solid principals and valuable learning opportunities. We strive to educate everyone we come in contact with through our training by instilling principals of humility, gratefulness, appreciation and respect. When a patient is struck down with Lead Role-itis their emotional intelligence immune system weakens and these qualities we strive to instill are sadly eroded. As tutors and directors at HD it leaves us feeling like Obi Wan Kenobi in that famous scene from Star Wars when Anakin Skywalker, despite many years of training in the ways of the force, turns to the dark side. Obi Wan says “I have failed you Anakin!”
It is our job to teach our students about how the industry works and to develop their skills. It is, in our view, the job of the students parents to teach them how to deal with disappointment.
How can parents and carers support their children when they are struck down with Lead Role-itis? This is a great article with some suggestions you will find useful: