From files of a member who wishes to remain anonymous comes this great new Student Challenge!
(Standard disclaimer: Student SM Challenges are aimed at our members who are newer to the craft of stage management. Experts, feel free to kibitz and contemplate but leave the bulk of the conversation for those who haven't been through this kind of thing before.)
A small theater company (producer, production designer and director are all friends from college) have hired you to be their stage manager. This is the first time you are working with this group and they have high ambitions for their current production. They have hired one actress (who in fact was cast in this role over a year ago) they have worked with often and knew in school, and have hired three actors to fill out the company that they've never worked with before. But a problem has arisen.
The actress has a process contrary to the rest of the cast. She seemingly does no work outside of rehearsal and comes into rehearsals unprepared. The other cast members are getting frustrated because there is no flow to the rehearsal because it will stop for 30 minutes at a time while she tries to work through the character's motivations on the spot. You've noticed the frustration of the cast but no one has approached you yet. But every time this actress stops rehearsal to ask a question, all three of her cast mates roll their eyes, and sigh settling in for another long conversation about her process.
Instead of trying what the director suggests, she talks about it and contradicts the director at every turn, then ultimately tries what the director suggested after a lengthy conversation and the suggestion worked. The show is now within a week of opening and there are still major portions of the show that have yet to receive detail work because the actress keeps forcing the schedule to change because of her lack of preparedness.
Perhaps coincidentally (or perhaps not), the other three cast members are starting to joke in rehearsal about their ability to leave the project at any given time. Both the director and producer are happy with this actress and have stated on multiple occasions that this actress has a bear of a role to tackle and they love her very much and the work she is doing.
How do you handle this while still allowing the show to move forward in a positive manner and get the most out of your rehearsal period before you enter Tech Week?