I'm going to have to rank the rehearsal process, for this particular show, as one of the top 2 stress-filled experiences I have ever endured, in my long career as an actress. The other was several years ago, when I was briefly involved, as a company member, with a theatre headed by a crazy 'foreign' director.
Opening a show is stressful enough without having to deal with the personalities of what I call "Crazies": those people who thrive on 'drama', and not of the theatrical kind. Those controlling types who have a hard time delegating, and yet resent having to do everything themselves. Those who feel the need to scream and shout to be understood. Those who feel their lives will be too boring unless they are constantly faced with some form of catastrophe. Those who would rather live by the seat of their pants, and relish the havoc of disorganization. I'm convinced those kinds of people actually attract negativity into their lives because they need it to feel alive. Having been a "Crazy", in the past, I know this to be true. I was the one who always had some kind of terrible mishap to share with my friends, and the more outlandish the better. I had some pretty strange things happen, over the years. It made me, somehow, feel more interesting. But, I finally reached a point, in my life, when I realized that I neither wanted nor needed that any longer, and as soon as I made a conscious effort to choose peace and calm over chaos, my life changed, quite dramatically. It's not to say that things don't happen to cause me grief, but I know that they don't happen as often as they did in the past.
This director, although he has a good heart and means well, is a "Crazy". Our tech, last weekend, was insanity. Each show has one tech day called a 10/12 (or in our case 8/10) where you work 10 hours in a 12 hour day. Normally, the technical crew will do what we call, in theatre, a "dry tech". It's a rehearsal of all the technical elements, without the actors. Then the actors are brought in and the show is run "Cue to Cue". In other words, we go from one technical cue to the next. This saves time. We did neither of those things. Decisions with lighting and sound are usually made during "production meetings" prior to tech. This didn't happen either, so those decisions were being made during tech. Then we lost our technical director, the day after tech, with opening just days away. Personality conflict, so it seems. There was also some major upset over a piece of equipment that broke and had to be replaced.
And, usually before the week of opening you've had, at least, several runs of the show, without stopping. The director will take notes and give them to the actors after the run, so the actor can get a feel for the continuity of the show, and to see if there might be problems with quick costume changes. This didn't happen until Thursday! We cancelled our Thursday preview and ran the show twice. The Director promised not to say a word, and thankfully, he kept his promise but, up until then, he was stopping the show every few minutes, for one reason or another. 'Scenus interruptus' has to be one of the most frustrating things ever. We then had a run Friday before our Preview, and a run before Opening Night, but it was still highly stressful and fraught with outbursts for various reasons. However, we did manage to get through opening weekend relatively unscathed, and with only some minor problems, although who knows what the critics are going to say.
All I know is that the director is going to blow a gasket one day, and I told him as much, though I don't think he 'heard'. "Crazies" usually don't. I also know, that I would have to be very desperate to work at that theatre again. It's just all too crazy for me.