Uh oh... It happened. That unavoidable conflict that no director ever wants to hear, "I can't do the show". Yes, I had an actor drop out 2 weeks before opening. Now I will say this: They did not want to. They felt bad and like they were letting the cast down but, after hearing the situation, it was a conflict that was bigger than this show. Since it is a personal reason, I will not go in to it- in fact, no one but the stage manager and I should have to know why. I do hope he is able to deal with this conflict and that, outside of the show, it can be resolved. He agreed to stay for rehearsal that day, knowing that it would be his last as part of out cast, for the sake of his cast mates.
Now I was left with a quarter of my play missing, and some favors to ask. I got 8 "no"'s before I got a yes. And that yes wasn't even a yes at first. He said "Only if I'm your last option". 24 hours later, after hassling every actor I had in my contacts, I told him that he was my last option.
This actor is experienced and memorizes quickly. The only problem being that he is also a main character in another one act. Mr. Reginald Baldwin from The Two Minds of Mister Coffan! I really owe this guy. He took on two back to back roles right before opening and, so far, the cast has taken to him. Though he is a different style than my previous actor, they are all adapting and supporting eachother.
I have impressed upon the others how important it is for them to know their lines, blocking, and characters so that we can support our newest addition as he plays catch up. It is better to learn if you have a sturdy foundation. While it has been slow going, they have made notable improvements every time.
I think my problems are over, as long as this actor has the energy to keep going. His other director and I will be keeping a close eye on him. He may say he's alright but as soon as I see signs of him slowing down I will make him take a break. I overwork myself constantly to the point of illness and I will not be responsible for doing that to another.