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When Casting Crushes Your Soul...

You prepare. You practice. You’ve paid your dues in the ensemble. Maybe you’re a student about to age out of the program. Maybe you’re an adult and you’ve paid your dues in the ensemble. You feel like it’s your turn. Maybe the stakes are higher because you have responsibilities – bills, kids, or both. Maybe you nailed your audition and you know in your bones that you were made to play this role.

The offer comes. The cast list goes up. You’re in the show. Ensemble again. Or maybe this time you didn’t make the cut. Sometimes it's hard to know which is worse. 

We do our best to temper expectations and leave it all in the audition room, but there is something soul crushing about not getting the part you want. On the logical level we know that small parts matter. As professionals we can be grateful for the job, the line on our resume, the experience with this director or theatre company or {fill in the blank}. But when moments get quiet and we take a second to be honest with ourselves, we can’t help but wonder, why wasn’t I good enough? 

The problem comes when we look for validation of our worth from the jobs we get (or don’t get!). Being good enough for the part is not the same as being right for the part. Not getting the part doesn’t mean you are not capable of playing the role well. There are SO MANY factors that go into the casting process!!! We know this in our heads, but in our hearts it still stings.  

In a post I wrote for (read it here)  I shared the story of Punchinello, a wooden Weemick, who learns that he is loved by his maker (You Are Special by Max Lucado). It’s a sweet story with beautiful illustrations that I would love to someday adapt into a play or musical!! But I digress.

In the story, Weemicks award one another gray dots for things they don’t like and gold stars for the things they do like. They are totally arbitrary, much like the very subjective process of casting! One Weemick attracts Punchinillo’s notice because she doesn’t have any gray dots OR gold stars. The judgements of the other Weemicks simply don’t stick to her because she chooses to listen to the only opinion that actually matters – her maker.

When the cast list goes up we have to remember that the role  - good, bad, big, small, wanted, or not – is not a reflection of our worth or talent as an actor. It is an opportunity to learn, serve, and bring glory to our Father in Heaven. Nothing more.
If you look for validation in the cast list or the contract or even the accolades from the people around you, you will ultimately be disappointed. Like the man who builds his house on the sand. Someone will always be more talented, more available, younger, more right for the part. But if you find your worth in Jesus and who HE says you are, then even this role can be used for his glory, to tell his story.


“I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do.” – Corrie, ten Boom, The Hiding Place.

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