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. :)
Monday, January 14, 2013
2:32 PM: crossing the divide
i'm directing a staged reading for fertile ground! it's a play at the intersection of art and science, one of my favorite places. it's a complex script with a strong female protagonist created by a female playwright.
i agreed to direct on NYE, making it a new year's resolution of sorts. i was tapped at the last minute after another director flaked out. since my pdx theatre connections are so tenuous, i agreed on the condition that the playwright do most of the setup: cast the actors, set the rehearsal schedule, find rehearsal space, etc. even so, i'll end up spending close to 40 hours on preparation for this play by the time it's over and done. january is one of my busiest months for SP work, but i decided i would regret not doing it.
fortunately, it's been really fun! after almost 2 weeks of hard prep it was a relief to meet the cast at the first rehearsal and find they are generally top-notch actors. it was a delight to hear the script, which has primarily been in my head, be transformed by their interactions and movements. we only have one more rehearsal but i'll be spending some time in between coaching for diction and projection.
MARCH by Kate Belden
Sunday, January 27, 2013 1-3 p.m.
Hipbone Studio: 1847 E. Burnside Street #104
Margery Dawson is a neuroanatomist, a PhD in how the brain works. But hers isn't. Hers is having a stroke. And though she's too busy to have one, and certainly too busy for history, family, or a relationship, all of them are happening. Right here, right now.
Described as fugue for three voices, MARCH is a play that looks at an experience as the brain does. Seemingly disjointed, but perhaps the most accurate description of what truly happened.
this is the video that inspired the play: