The ripples of the ‘No Response’ Response
It starts with the ‘No Response’ response.
It’s like a ‘No Comment’ comment. But much worse.
No, not the ‘relationship’ scenario here.
It happens when you are involved in a group project when everyone is the potential leader.
We have this inner monologue —
Who will take the lead?
Don’t look at me. I ain’t gonna lead.
It then becomes a game of patience, which I lose every time.
Usually I don’t really mind.
In the scene practices at the acting class, we had a four-people group — two actors, one director and one writer. This time, I got to be the director. I took charge.
But it’s been this way whenever I am in a group project were there no alpha male/female who naturally wants to take charge.
For me, the motive is simple. I hate wasting time. I lunge into the task. I never wait for others to take the lead. I grab it. I hate testing the water. I hate chit-chat during the serious bit of the work. I hate being polite just for the sake of it. Cut to the chase, will ya? I hate being late and hate waiting for the late-comers at work. In my head, I would drive a tank running the late-comers over. Then back my tank, run the tardy bastards over again. Pretty violent, huh?
What did happen with our group was this —
I set up the email train, and a text message group in case people don’t check their emails often. I posted the meeting date, time and place. I then suggested the relationship of the two actors and gave a specific scenario. Then I opened up the floor. I wanted us to settle on the direction and then started coming up with ideas and thoughts during the week. So it would be so much richer than what we could come up with on the set. It was Monday.
On Tuesday, the writer who shared another class with me asked if the rehearsal was on Friday at that time. I nodded. She then scribbled on her notebook like some stenographer hearing the piece of information for the first time. I was incensed.
Are you a retard or dyslexia?
Yesterday I sent you a text and an email.
Then we had a one-on-one conversation.
You asked about then the rehearsal time which I was already surprised? Did you not get my text and email? Oh, I did. I just want to make sure.
I was not your babysitter, capisce?
Our Friday rehearsal finally arrived. One actor arrived on time. I was too. Isn’t it the norm? The other actor was late, as always. The writer was late too. The two ladies have a track record of being late — but never at the writing workshop where the instructor made it clear that ‘if you are late, your stuff got read last’. I couldn’t believe I was already keeping scores in my head.
Tardiness, the new norm.
Stop it. I talked to myself.
Now everybody is here. Let’s focus on the work.
What do you think of my suggestion? So far we hadn’t seen Mother/Son relationship scenes being presented at the class.
But I have done it before. The tardy actor rebutted.
You mean at this instructor’s class? I was growing impatient. Temper. I reminded myself.
No. But I’ve done it before. How about siblings?
Twins? The punctural actor got excited.
Sounds interesting. But why (the fuck) didn’t you say it when I asked you four days ago in an email plus the group text?
I know I probably should bite my tongue and keep the venom to myself. But I was also sick of this ‘No response’ situation. Then this oh-now-I-do-have-precious-opinions Aha Moment struck them when the time was for rehearsing. I would have called it “Brainstorming” if that’s what you wanted.
True, there was a split second of awkwardness hanging in the air.
We can do several versions of the scenes and see what we lean toward. The punctural actor suggested.
In truth, we did the twins version and it was the only version we did. I green-lighted it. What else could you do when you were outnumbered 1–3?
Of course it is not a zero-sum game. I like the final product. I heard them out. I am willing to change if the stuff is good.
Still, I don’t get it why people don’t respond when it’s their job to respond.
It’s work that we’re talkin’ here, folks. Not some dating tips that ask you not to respond so you get to upstage your love interest.
When it’s work, it’s your responsibility to reply and voice your opinion. If you are too shy to speak up (type) in the email/text message, why bother take acting?
I sometimes interpret this ‘No Response’ as passive-aggressive. You’ve got something to say? Say it in my face.
My much calmer flatmate then said,
Everybody is different. You have to focus on why you do what you do and what would happen what if you didn’t. The ship will sink. Nobody lives. Nobody looks good. Is that what you want?
Then breathe in and breathe out, and acknowledge that you are not the rule, and everyone is not you.
If you happen to be one of those people (aka. bastards) who don’t respond to the person who initiate the project, you might want to think twice. He already sacrifices his own time doing the heavy-lifting for everyone’s sake. All he needs is a simple ‘Yes, I will be there.’ Or this — ‘Thank you.’ even though it’s not Thanksgiving today. But, just a thought. It won’t hurt. Or would it?
You don’t have to reply. And you know what, he doesn’t have to lead, either.