i am an unrequited astronomer, pretend patient, gentle adventurer, pedal enthusiast, recovering calligrapher, occasional thespian and unfinished poet living in portland, oregon. contacting me via email is usually a good idea.
4:04 PM: marching on
so: march! i was really happy with the work i did for this show. i haven't directed in over 10 years, but i felt prepared and polished. about 70 people came, which is more than i had hoped.
for a staged reading it had fairly involved blocking and characterization. it was a delightfully complex script that required three very long meetings w/ the playwright and two different timelines. my current work with the medical community & former work inside academia gives me some unique perspectives into the script. most of the actors were wonderfully responsive and a delight to watch. i was especially pleased with a decision i made to make the person who reads stage directions more of a narrator than a bland background voice: i asked her to add poetry and characterization and commentary to the lines.
one of the most interesting discoveries for me during this process was that i am a different director than i was in college. i used to approach directing as a way to move actors on the stage and get them to say things the way i thought they should be said. but now my primary goal is to communicate the story to the audience, rather than reproducing what i see in my head. that gives actors more flexibility and ownership. my job is to step in when things are unclear or to adjust pacing and other details to communicate more clearly. i prepare a LOT beforehand to get clear in my own head, but i prefer to ask questions to lead actors to their own insights rather than instructing them. i think that change is almost certainly due to my work with Backline and my evolution as an SP. it feels like a very respectful, valuable way to work. (and i brought snacks: hungry actors are unhappy actors!)
there's always more i could have done, of course. for instance, i would have loved some more rehearsals! also, we didn't tape it. the script includes some shadow play w/ projectors and some projector visualizations i think would have been great, but i couldn't manage to include it in the amount of time i had. i made some excellent preshow music, mixing selections from on "einstein on the beach" to express the pattern of March's life pre and post stroke. i loved the way it combines counting and singing. that turned out to be a colossal waste of time because by the time the doors opened, there were already so many people and the atmosphere was buzzing so much that it was impossible to hear. lesson learned. :)