I had another great week on my Drama League assignment. I am a Drama League assistant director on the musical Pippin being directed by Drama League alum Diane Paulus. I’m having exactly the kind of experience I would hope to have on this assignment. I feel so fortunate that as a director/choreographer, I get to be in a room with a great director and two fantastic choreographers, Gypsy Snider and Chet Walker. Being in the room during the workshop is invaluable exposure to the process of crafting a major musical with all of it’s crucial parts; music, choreography, design, spectacle, storytelling and text.
Early on in the workshop I had the chance to have lunch with Nancy Harrington, the Associate Director and Production Stage Manager (and one of my most favorite theatre people.) Over a Thai chicken salad, I think I was contemplating the process of the transition from the life of a performer to my life as a theatre director. She was so quick to offer advice on marrying my past life as an actor with my aspirations as a director/choreographer. Hearing her words of wisdom I felt instantaneous relief. She helped to contextualize my life in theatre in that way gives my artistic journey a continuous through line. It’s okay for me to be a novel instead of a bunch of short stories. Thank you Nancy!
What did I learn: I learned that nothing goes to waste. Instead of trying to compartmentalize what was and what is, I have an opportunity to envelope all of those past experiences into my artistry today. I used to think I needed to forget what it was like to be a performer in order to make room for this growing director/choreographer. Now, instead of giving in to the idea that I need to shed parts of myself, I’m learning that those past experiences are earned experiences and are vital to what I am able to bring into the room.