Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Notes from the Director - On the Shore of the Wide World

Heading into Tech

We moved into the space today. After imagining the room and how it will all fit together, its thrilling to walk into the South Theater at the Theater Building and start putting paint on the walls. We began at 8:30am and when I left at 8pm, Mariana and Sarah (Set and lighting) were still at it, focusing lights and getting texture on the floor. (A mixture of wood mulch and paint that we desperately hope will be dried by tomorrow morning.) The folks who put their heads in seem impressed - its a lot of space, and when you paint it all green, it seems even bigger.) While the painting was happening, lights were hung and circuited, and we began dirtying up the chairs that weren't dirty enough and wiring crystals to a borrowed chandelier that will go up in the air tomorrow. Also tomorrow, we build a wall of windows and doors, and we start stacking chairs in hopes that we have enough to build our massive piles in the corners.

I'm so excited to see it and to start putting music and Brett's (our sound designer's) original music and city soundscape to the acting work. This week, with the actors, its been all about getting them to start burying their deep emotional connections under humor and resistance. (Actors are some of the only people who really feel better when they are feeling worse - but it turns out, the human beings, generally, try to fight against that kind of emotion - and interestingly enough, its far more interesting and emotionally affecting to watch someone try NOT to cry, then to watch them cry.) We are still getting the humor back into the play, and finding moments of lightness - which is right where we need to be. That's the easy stuff - its the emotional wiring underneath that's the really hard thing to get at.

From here - I have to start getting out of the actors emotional work and begin seeing the play as a whole. (Which will be easier now that we're in a space where I can actually see everyone - I've been having to jump up and look around a wall, or cross onto the stage and watch a scene from the back in order to actually SEE everything, crammed into the Griffin rehearsal space -) A mentor of mine calls it seeing things from the parking lot - stepping outside the room and looking at the play with a bit of distance - seeing it how an audience will see it, as opposed to seeing it as your precious piece of art. Its gaining perspective on the whole, and turning the play over to the actors and the stage manager and the designers and trusting their work.

Sadly - the actors, who have had my 100% focus for the last 5 weeks, will now have to share me with the designers - seeing how the lights and sound and set all work together and getting the technical flow of the play right - I'll keep a bit of an eye on them - but they won't really get me back fully until the dress rehearsal when I can focus back on their work, rather than the designers.

Its an exciting time. In 5 days, we will have an audience for the first time - It will feel like too soon and we'll cringe a bit and keep working - but I think we're ready and I can't wait to see an audience of strangers experience this play for the first time.
For now - I'm collapsing into bed, paint still on my hands and arms, and hoping that my back will feel up to lifting a couple more things tomorrow. (I swear - this was easier two years ago...)

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