It’s Showtime Folks!
I have the great privilege of seeing the dental equivalent of front of house, back stage and, most importantly, the on-stage production. I enjoy being able to bring a sense of perspective to the theatre of dental practice. Having been through my own productions many times, I now see myself in the role of the benevolent theatre critic.
The analogy with theatre is not chosen lightly. The smallest player can easily ruin every production. How often have we all watched as a vital scene is ruined because someone forgot their lines? Or worse still turned up unprepared or unwilling because their last company didn’t have time for rehearsals or believed that their spontaneous ad-libs were better than the agreed scripts?
The practice owner has the role of actor-manager, producer and director yet how often do they neglect the last one? Frequently they are more concerned with their rendition of the dental equivalent of doing Hamlet in Danish or obsessed by the wonderful props and stage effects that can only be seen by the people in the front stalls. How often do they take the time to consider how well they project to those folks in the cheaper seats in the upper circle? Do they do enough to make them come back and bring their friends to the next performance?
It’s hard wearing the many hats of the actor-manager.
It’s not easy to accept that just because you have been treading the boards for many years and know Alan Ayckbourn’s work off by heart, your team need the time to understand the nuances of the language, the messages beneath the words and the finer points of stagecraft. In order to perform well they have to be rehearsed, to comprehend the meanings and to have practiced, practiced, practiced until they are word perfect – only then can they extemporise.
Your company will be at their best when they realise that the best way for them to perform is to take the words of the greats from outside and then turn them into their own, for that way the messages will come from the heart.
It’s true that you are limited by the size of the cast and that some people (yourself especially) have to play several roles, that’s one of the challenges and frustrations. But it can be one of the joys too, following the performance when you exchange feedback at your early morning feedback sessions or your weekly rehearsals.
Don’t be afraid to accept the fact that you may have appointed Arnold Schwarzenegger to play Miss Jean Brodie because that was the only one the agent sent for the job; but you don’t have to persist with them if they aren’t up to the role.
If you are aiming to be the Royal Shakespeare Company but you have ended up recruiting the Stratford East Pantomime Players then change the people and keep changing them until you get it right, don’t tolerate turkeys.
Dr Alun Rees BDS runs Dental Business Partners to help dentists build their perfect practice. An experienced dental practice owner who changed career he now works as a consultant, coach, analyst, speaker and writer. He brings the wisdom gained from his and others successes to help his clients achieve the rewards their work and dedication deserve.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07778 148583