To me, being a director is all about creating relationships and paying enough attention to ask the right questions. When I read a play for the first time, it feels like the world opens up to me, and in a magical way I feel like I can visualize it in a fluid form that solidifies as parts are cast and designers are hired. I latch on to a theme and explore the ins and outs, which helps me nail down the essence of the play. To me, the process of building characters and rehearsal is as important as the finished product. What we cultivate in our process is what allows us to cultivate our audiences. I’m drawn to scripts that I think will stretch my abilities; I like casting actors who also have unrealized potential. Recharging the humanity that gets drained little by little through day-to-day life takes work, and I’m willing to put in the time and wait for the right circumstances.
Dracula by Steven Dietz
Dracula – December 2017 – Director’s Note
I came across this play in 2014. The challenge drew me to it, and I planned to produce it that fall. It didn’t work out. Auditions were grossly under-attended, finding a space was challenging, and I knew that piecing it together would be a mistake; my desire to direct it was overwhelmed by a larger need: to serve the play, and do it right when time allowed. A lot happened in the few years following, and I have to admit that I lost sight of my goals. Nova (producer of this production) needed a script for his thesis production in design, and I felt that the time could be right. I found a cast that made me feel like directing was my calling again. We inspired each other, and were able to find the magic and horror in the world of the play. My favorite element was the existence of the moments where I was able to illustrate that the fates were sealed; that if events had happened seconds earlier or later then the story would not have been: it had to be this way. The technical elements of the play, the sets, props, lights, costumes, truly worked to supplement what the actors gave, and not the other way around. I also had a new-found appreciation for my education and the environment I was given to work in at my undergrad – working at Oswego was a different experience, and a new set of hurdles reminded me of the realities of self- producing. Coming out the other side, I feel that I grew as a director, and did serve the play; in that way I found success.
Crooked by Catherine Trieschmann
Crooked – January 2015 – Director’s Note
It wasn’t all that long ago that I was 14. Working on this production brought back a lot of memories. I think it is the age that we go through the most change. It’s when you think you know a lot – when you actually have no idea what your life has in store for you.
It is also the age where you can’t wait to grow up. You want to drive, or have your own house, or have people treat you like a grown up. When you get to adulthood you realize that you should have enjoyed the youth while you had the chance… but that’s just human nature.
This show is about growing up. But it’s also about so much more. It is about what we do when life “happens” to us. It is so easy set a straight road into your future. But much more often, the road twists and turns, and all you can do is hold on – Preferably to the ones you love.
reasons to be pretty by Neil Labute
RTBP – July 2014 – Director’s Note
How Much is Pretty Worth?
It is amazing to think about how much heartache and misery can come out of a person being “pretty.” Think about how many people died because of Helen of Troy.
The face that launched a thousand ships. I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot happens in this play because of one pretty face. When Meredith and I first discussed putting on this production, I had a lot of preconceived notions about the play. I had only read it once before, and most of my experience with Neil LaBute are with his other plays. To me, his plays don’t read well. They have to be acted and spoken aloud for the reality to sink in. The reality I have found in this play caught me off guard. I was never expecting to feel the way it has made me feel. There is humor in the play, but underneath everything that happens there is a larger sense of tragedy. I would never say that fairy tale endings don’t exist (I’m a bit of a romantic) but I would say the circumstances needed for them are incredibly rare. Reality is filled with something much more harsh and painful: Almost.
The Flies by Jean-Paul Sartre
The Flies – April 2013 – Director’s Note
Jean-Paul Sartre wrote The Flies during the occupation of France by the Nazis in 1943. It is a modern adaptation of The Libation Bearers, by Aeschylus, with some key changes. It is said that the censors missed the message of the play, deeming it apolitical and non-threatening. However, the audience caught on rather quickly, placing Aegistheus as the German occupation, and Clytemnestra as the Vichy government. This leaves Orestes as the voice of Sartre’s philosophy, invoking French people to rise up against their oppressors. This metaphor is highly political and highly provocative, not at all what the censors found in the work.
When I first read this play, it affected me more personally. I didn’t think of it as a call to arms for the French people; I read it as an individual call to identity. The word freedom has a lot of connotations now – many of them are political. I decided to take a step back from that, and consider what freedom really is. I think it is easy to forget what it means to be free. Not only in day-to-day action, like whether or not I want to eat healthy food or join a gym, but also in identifying who I am and why. I can be whoever I want to be. Ultimately, the obstacles found in life can be overcome if they are pressed against for long enough. I hope that seeing this play will remind you of the immensity of your freedom, and inspire you to think about who you are in a new way. If you take away something else… that is perfectly fine with me; it is one of the many things I love about theatre.