THERE’S always one. Actually, that’s not true. It’s just that when there is one, they ruin everything, dominating any scene they are in and consequently ruining the production. I’m talking the art of casting or rather miscasting.
Recently I watched a quite brilliant production. Everyone was on the top of their game... but for one. Wrong energy, poor delivery and strange choices. He stole the show for all the wrong reasons.
Getting the casting right is the secret of any good production, whether on TV or stage. Unfortunately both mediums remain cliquey worlds. Get a foot in the door and, well... just look at the ridiculously small pool of actors who turn up in series after series on ITV and the BBC, or on stage.
It’s ridiculously small when you consider that the average unemployment rate for actors hovers around 90 per cent. That’s what makes it so hard to understand why so many of the same old faces recur time and time again, despite simply not being up to the job.
So many great productions are let down by this. It’s as if we embrace the mediocre - just look at the popularity of many soap ‘actors’.
Sadly there has to be a financial element. Funding has never been tighter. Many productions are turned around at great speed and on a shoestring, so the need for actors who have a proven record of working quickly are preferable to those who might actually be brilliant but would take a bit more work.
Safe hands then. That’s what producers and directors seem to look for, at the expense of talent - not that they’d ever admit it.
So, next time you’re sitting watching a show and that one performer jars, ask yourself, surely one of the 90 per cent unemployed out there could do a better job. And they could. Shouldn’t they be getting a chance too?