The Paradox of a Director [Cont’d]
Directing a play can be an exciting thing once you’ve overcome your fear there’s only one way forward. Here I outline my process and how I achieve success with my actors.
The second thing in the paradox – success
The success of directing a play comes in the satisfaction of a job well done. Bringing the best out of my actors and seeing the fruits of our joint labour. This is where my fears lead me.
- Getting the best out of your actors: A wise person once told me that I make a good director because I am good with people. Part of the director’s job is to manage his cast (and crew) and draw the best out of them. This I know, for a certain fact, I am good at [*struggles to get big head through the door*].
- The casting process: I’m not gonna lie, the first time I ever cast a show, I emerged with a new found respect for casting directors! The process is stressful and long. The initial trawling through headshots and CVs is no joke and needs to be taken with a clear head and focus, especially when you have hundreds of applicants. Having gone through this several times now, this task will be outsourced for the next project, I’m done! My advice to anyone in this position is to outsource casting where possible, there are experts out there who love this job.
- The audition process: I love the auditions because it gives me great pleasure to see actors at work. Another wise person told me to cast the actor not the role. This is why I prefer the workshop audition format; I can see how actors perform with other actors. You quickly get to see their strengths, weaknesses, character, and personality. With this in mind there are a number of things I look for in an actor:
- Openness: You see this in their eyes and how they connect with you and the other actors.
- Willingness to play: there is a reason why a play is called a play. The most beautiful performances are born out of actors (and directors) who are able to let go of their baggage and allow themselves to play.
- Willingness to fail: I’m interested in seeing what an actor does when they mess up their audition speech, for example. Their recovery when they get things wrong tells me more about them than a flawless speech. I like to play games in my auditions because they reveal a lot if you watch closely.
- Rehearsals and performances: “Learn, Play, Craft” This is my motto in the rehearsal room and on stage.
- Learn: we learn about the script, characters, lines, each other.
- Play: we fail, fall down, get back up, have fun, feel free.
- Craft: we become and we create – a world the audience can relate to; a performance people will enjoy.
Feedback is important for growth and development. My job is to provide feedback during the rehearsal process as we learn what works and what doesn’t. I give notes upon notes at every stage of rehearsals up until we get on stage in front of a live audience. I give notes on the opening night’s performance only. From then on I have to trust that I have prepared my actors adequately to take the show into their own hands. The stage is an actor’s medium. I trust the process and let them do their job so I can enjoy their performances. It is important to remember this when directing a play.
LISTINGS INFORMATION – SILENT SCREAMS
The Broadway, Broadway, Barking, IG11 7LS
24th – 29th October 2017 7.30pm
Tickets: £12 (£10 Concession)
Box office: 020 8507 5607 / Book tickets online