Tag Archives: directing

stealing a mantra

from Will & Me: How Shakespeare Took Over My Life by Dominic Dromgoole

If actors can get their voice in the right place, and if the play is good, and if the director hasn’t fucked it up with too much collapsing scenery, then the words they speak in that strong clear voice will look after them.

And the resulting mantra as provided by his “director friend:”

Find out who you are. Learn your lines. Get out of the way of the play.

‘Nuf said.

Artist’s Statement: Director

And…here it is.  The result of a lot of research, brain-storming and re-working.  Not bad.

When working on a production as a director, I find myself infinitely excited by the potential of the artists around me. Together, we will create visual and visceral aesthetic, but first comes a working aesthetic: a pulsing, floating, flexible, beautiful collaboration. This, in turn, breeds creativity, excitement, enthusiasm and trust, steadily becoming a process not just to create a play, but to reveal a new truth within each collaborator. If I do my job well, every artist will have a moment of truth, myself included. I will never know when and I am not always privy to each, nor should I be, but I know I am heading in the right direction when epiphanies start happening.

At the heart of every dramatic piece are the words. Theatre is telling a story. Were I to strip away the lights, the fancy costumes, and the scenes, and stand before you with the script in my hand, the words should hold you captive and play out a scene in your minds eye. The rest is just icing on the cake. Needed, wanted, loved, and revered icing, but without the foundation of poetry and prose, I find little to work with that has meaning for me.

Once I find the words, I move beyond simple story telling, looking for silence, stillness and negative space. Used with aplomb, these hidden gems create the energy-filled tension that pulses, unwinds, or explodes. Silence, stillness and negative space create the fourth dimension that we all crave in a story. Theatre is not real life. Bodies can move as we see them in our dreams, in other dimensions, and non-linearly. By using bodies the way we use them in our dreams, they become something more, and the story becomes something more.

Because I believe theatre can use the unreal to more deftly explore the real, I love to mix times and mediums into a new kind of world. Our thoughts are not projected on a screen; we do not freeze in time with our neighbors; Ancient Grecians did not wear biker jackets, but by placing the unreal into the real, I can highlight moments, exaggerate ideas, pluck out multifaceted truths, place them before an audience, and make them listen.

Oddly enough, my favorite moment in a production is not the play itself. At the end of the first performance, I love to squeeze into a corner in the lobby and watch the artists greet their families, friends, and fans. Their pride is my pride. In the end, they made the audience take note, listen, and think. They provided the bricks; I just lovingly slapped in the mortar to bind it all together.