Directorfest was a dream- an intense burst of creativity with a stellar team of artists. After Max, Birgit, Paul and I had put away an appropriate number of drinks at Opening Night, I gathered them and said, “I’ve been a part of some hit shows in my life, and this is what a hit show feels like. We did good.”
I lucked out. I enlisted a young writer who I trust implicitly to create a new play for two of my favorite actors. Max tailored the script to their unique skills and charms. With only a week’s rehearsal, you have to choose your challenges, and I knew for my Directorfest, I wanted the challenge of unpacking super-charged language with two brilliant minds, both athletes at pairing text with thoughts. The designers and I created a steam-lined “non-black” box to contain the action. I was very pleased with the work overall: It was a dynamite representation of my Drama League experience and my artistic point-of-view.
I’m sad my fellowship is over. If they’d have me back, I’d gladly do the whole thing over again. My 2012 was ridiculously action packed, much to the credit of the Drama League. I’m still mystified as to how I managed to squeeze it all in! Without time to mourn the end of any one project, I saved up a year’s worth of post-show slump to come crashing down on body and soul as soon as Directorfest ended. As I ate my way through the holidays, a scary question- an annoying Christmas companion- echoed through my thoughts: “What next?”
2013 promises some exciting projects of its own. But I’m also enjoying the time to reflect on my Drama League fellowship. I learned so much:
I learned that directing doesn’t have to be lonely.
I learned that blogging is hard and sucky, but formulating your experiences into coherent sentences is an unreplicable teaching exercise.
I learned that casting is indeed 90% of the work, if you include negotiating scheduling conflicts.
I learned that you need to trust pros to their own processes.
I learned that you can be persistent and relentless and kind and appreciative at the same time.
I learned that producers are allies. And creative allies at that.
I learned that you can do it all, but you can’t do it all at the same time.
I learned that every director thinks of their work as being immediate, spontaneous, and visual, and that we need more precise terms to describe what we do.
I learned that- due to psychological mechanisms I would prefer not to unpack- I like assisting tough directors.
I learned that I am intrinsically a tough director, so I can stop acting like one.
I learned that the best way to get what you want is to tell people what you want.
I learned that people have faith in me.
And I learned that I really needed to hear that.
And I learned that I don’t need to hear that.