“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.” Of course those players wouldn’t know what their entrances and exits were if they didn’t have a director.
A number of directors have made names for themselves on the stage (and some on the screen): Joe Mantello, Bob Fosse, James Lapine, Julie Taymor… Matt Kridel?
For the first time ever, instead of acting or even doing tech, I’m directing a show; and compared to most theatre, this show is pretty unusual. “Calling All Dawns” is a choral piece– 12 songs in 12 different languages (you can read more about it here). While it would have been easy to just have singers and a piano in the Schuster Theatre, I wanted to go for more. So the play is in Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel with a small orchestra, some minor staging and simple costumes.
As I say in my director’s notes for the show, “It’s been a journey.”
Being an actor or a technician is completely different than being a director. The actors must learn their lines and develop physical and emotional expression to convey to the audience the meaning of the piece. The technicians set the stage, literally, and provide the environment for the actors to work. But without the director, neither actors nor technicians would be able to do their jobs.
The director sets out the creative vision. He or she decides how to interpret the piece and how to convey that interpretation to the audience. He or she must give technicians and actors sufficient information and direction in order to help them convey that vision.
As with any other leadership role, directors must be able to do a lot of things at once. They must give respect and be respected. They have to know what the end goal is and how to guide everyone toward that goal. They must be able to take times of crisis and achievement alike and use them to push those they lead.
Like many other leadership positions I’ve had, being a director has been both frustrating and incredibly rewarding. There are many times when I’ve doubted whether the show would go on– indeed, at some points it was tempting to just cancel it.
But when those first four notes are sung, and I can watch the actors and musicians tell the story that we have created together and watch the audience react, that will be most rewarding of all.