Directing a Play – Fear

The Paradox of a Director

Directing a play is a task I study the most because of the paradox I experience in that role. It is my least favourite experience yet my most satisfying experience. Every director has their process so no two directors are the same. Here I lay out my process from neurosis to success. These aren’t techniques or tips, but rather thoughts and processes that get me through the job. They may be helpful to anyone starting out in directing a play.

The first thing in the paradox – Fear

My least favourite experience is the overwhelming feelings of dread when I embark on a new project where my principle role is ‘Director’. The feelings of fear and insecurities accompanied by such neurotic thoughts:

“Oh my gosh, what if I’m shit?!”

“What if my cast don’t like me?!”

“Supposing I take someone’s beautiful writing and turn it into a catastrophe!!”

What I do with these feelings determines the outcome of my job. It determines whether I lose as a director or whether I win. I don’t like taking ‘L’s’ so lose is not an option. Here’s how to win:

  1. Acknowledge and own your fears and worries: Allow yourself to feel scared and worried for a minute. This is important because if we don’t acknowledge our feelings they have a way of showing us up when we least expect it. If you don’t acknowledge your fear it will show up in the rehearsal room! No-one needs fear in rehearsals, especially not the director. The actors will pick it up; we don’t want that because a fearful actor is an unproductive actor.
  2. Study and make a plan: I study the hell out of directing. From the script to the casting process, to the rehearsal process, to the performances. Study what makes a good and a bad director. I draw on the good practices of the directors I have worked with in the past (as an actor and as an assistant). Making a note of their bad practices ensures I don’t repeat them. I implement their successes and put their failures in the junk pile.
  3. Feel the fear and do it anyway: I put the results of my study and my plan into action. Every directing job I have done has been a learning experience and future jobs will continue to be learning experiences. This mindset frees me. My insecurities and fears don’t matter. In a learning (growth) mindset there’s only one way you can really go and that is up!

Look out for the next post on directing a play to find out about the second thing in the paradox – success!





The Broadway, Broadway, Barking, IG11 7LS

24th – 29th October 2017 7.30pm

Tickets: £12 (£10 Concession)

Box office: 020 8507 5607 / Book tickets online




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