Hello, dear reader! How’s the world with you today? I hope you’ve remembered your umbrella.
So I am now ankle-deep in rehearsals for the Edinburgh Fringe, and already I have started to rediscover some of the things that inevitably happen in the run up to a show, including issues with rehearsal schedules, quandaries about the best place to buy lunch and realising that the script I’ve printed isn’t the most recent version (“Um, Vicki…didn’t we change that line?” “Oh shit, yeah we did…ok, cross that out.” “It’s ok Vicks, don’t worry.” “I DO worry! This is UNACCEPTABLE!”)
It’s almost impossible to avoid hitting a few clichés when you work in the performing arts, but as a director there are a few traditional tendencies that I’m very keen to avoid. Basically, I’m desperately trying not to turn into this guy from Friends:
“You are BAD ACTORS! This is a TERRIBLE play!!”
Here are a few directing dramas which I sincerely hope don’t make an appearance in the run up to Chris is Dead:
Sleeping with the Star
The “casting couch” cliché is well-known in the film and theatre industries, but I think we can safely avoid this one for three reasons: firstly, I cast this show over a year ago, and there was absolutely no funny business involved at that point. Secondly, everyone involved with this show is technically taken, so we won’t be looking for anything romantic inside the rehearsal room, and thirdly these people are all good friends who know each other far too well (and have seen each other in far too many compromising situations) to find each other attractive.
Being a Diva
We have a running joke in rehearsals that I refer to the actors as “my talking props”, which I have never and will never do with any serious intent. Having said that, directors are under a lot of pressure to bring a show together and make all of the elements work, so it’s understandable that sometimes there’s a bit of egotism or drama queenishness involved. I am very lucky because I know for certain that my cast and operations manager will tell me in no uncertain terms if they think I am heading that way.
Being a Tyrant
As a fairly maternal and “scary-eyed” (not my words) director, the few strict rules I have laid down tend to be followed to the letter. These are, I hope, all fairly straightforward and reasonable: no alcohol before rehearsals, let us know in advance if you know you’re going to be late, don’t turn up unprepared. Some directors (myself included) have a natural propensity to take control of situations, but I think that it’s important to keep the balance between laying down sensible laws and throwing your weight around for the sake of it.
Dressing Like an Eejit
It makes sense for directors as well as actors to wear sensible, practical rehearsal clothing. Today, for instance, I will be rocking the “trainers and ancient jumper” look. If you ever see me wearing a poncho and beret, you have my permission to shoot.
Have an incredibly amusing Thursday.