Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Sense of Direction

My actor friend Bruce Barton recently informed me that when it comes to theatre, and writing, producing and directing, I am weakest at directing. But the only critique I could get out of him on my directing was that I don't always use rehearsal time efficiently because I spend too much time feeding the cast and crew. Although when we mentioned it to actor Nat Cassidy, he offered that he's always thrilled to get free food.

I think there's more to my directing issue than feeding actors - but wow wouldn't that be nice, if all I had to do was spend less money.

Interestingly, several audience members from JANE EYRE told me they loved my direction. And mind you, this was in the face of many technical difficulties, including a stage crew that made the scene changes far slower than they should have been - although over the course of the 3-week run I did what I could to improve that situation.

I've had so many bad experiences with directors that I will probably always direct my own work. So of course I'm always looking to improve - I don't have the luxury of going to college to study it. But it isn't brain surgery either, although so many self-important directors would have you think so.

One aspect of directing that I will have to improve on is presenting myself as more of an authority figure. Being a woman automatically means that will be an uphill battle. But it's necessary to be an authority and a bit bossy - too many actors are liable to view you in contempt if you are too nice and accomodating, I have found. And it isn't just male actors - three of the most obnoxious, disrespectful actors I've ever had to deal with have been women.

My favorite text on the subject of directing for theatre is William Ball's "A Sense of Direction" - more on that soon.