Hard working director of a failing cast up for drama exam next week. what should i do?

We're five girls performing a diminutive adaptation of Spring Awakening for our semester exam on Feb 23. We're college juniors (3rd yr univ) for Performing Arts major. If this sounds familiar, I did ask this question last week but now there are new developments. The exam is next week. I'm doing all... show more We're five girls performing a diminutive adaptation of Spring Awakening for our semester exam on Feb 23. We're college juniors (3rd yr univ) for Performing Arts major. If this sounds familiar, I did ask this question last week but now there are new developments.

The exam is next week. I'm doing all the work like writing and rewriting scripts, training, editing music, and gathering the props. I'm playing Wendla (the lead character) and directing. The girl playing Anna is the only one who shows up at practice, but she doesn't work well when the cast isn't complete. The girl playing Martha went home interstate for Chinese New Year because it's the only time of the year she gets to see her parents. The girl playing Ilse has IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and often misses practices due to sickness; but she never misses work teaching ballet classes. The girl playing Frau Bergmann is working for her mother in law's business, has marriage and financial problems, and is simply not in shape for performing the exam.

Recently I dismissed Frau Bergmann from the team for her uncooperative behaviour and rewrote the script. She protested, said that I wasn't being fair for firing her instead of Martha, who is away. I told Frau that's because Martha had permission and we have planned to work around that; whereas Frau wasn't picking up nor returning phone calls, doesn't text unless she needs to vent out her personal problems, and she doesn't practice in her own time.

I was supposed to talk to Frau privately today to make sure that we're kicking her out not grudgingly but to lift some weight off her and free her to deal with her personal problems first. To avoid misunderstanding, I didn't want to do it by phone or email so the earliest I could see her in person was today. However, Ilse already told Frau over the weekend that I no longer like her and want her out, so Frau wouldn't listen to any explanations from me and called Anna in front of me to ask her what I had told her. Frau also managed to talk to the lecturer before I did, so the lecturer ordered me to not kick her out.

Now I want to kick out Ilse for not respecting my prerogative for communicating decisions, and this has messed up what little harmony was left in the group. Ilse has been missing practice as much as Frau has, but the only reason why I saved her was because she turned up last Friday when I issued her the final warning. Frau did not come but sent me 10 text messages with all her excuses, so she's dismissed, no questions asked. I gave Ilse another chance and she blew it.

I need to communicate this to Ilse now because time is running out, but she is not picking up the phone. Today the doctor ordered total bed rest for her.

Martha and Anna are waiting for the new, 4 actor version of the script to be e-mailed. However, since Ilse is no longer part of the team (none of these girls know yet), I think I should be modifying the script again to a 3 actor version. Should I email the 4 actor version anyway and apologise for additional modifications once we get to 3 actors? Or should I just email the 3 actor version and explain everything later?

How do I make sure there's no hard feelings? All four girls, including Ilse and Frau are very good friends of mine, but I have to be fair with the teamwork. We're very tight knit; I just don't want this decision to create a rift in our friendship because this is like me pushing them off the cliff to fail the semester and re-enroll next year. Also, I don't want Martha and Anna to be intimidated by me and hate me for doing this to two of our best friends. Sure, I can explain to Anna in person tomorrow, but I won't be able to explain to Martha until she comes back on D-Day!

And finally, how do I convince the lecturer to accept my decision? She's insisting that I should keep Ilse and Frau because in the real world I will work with difficult people, and the unity of the team is part of the tests will have to pass. This exam is no exception. But I disagree, because if actors in Broadway treat rehearsals the way Ilse or Frau do, I'm sure they'd be fired right away and the director would either replace them with new actors or write out their characters altogether; because it is the director's job to ensure that the show goes on no matter what.

Please help. Thanks in advance.
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