Shakespeare,  Theatre,  Wildflower

The Joyful Director

I know – if you done much work in the theatre, you have most likely worked with a director or two or more who is never joyful, let alone happy. That can make the rehearsal process a chore rather than a pleasure or learning experience. There are many reasons why this can happen but I want to talk about things actors do that make a director rejoice. I have been away from directing for a few years and it is such a treat to rediscover why I love it. First of all, it is Shakespeare so right away I am in a happy place. Sometimes, however, that is not enough. Measure for Measure is not one of the easier plays but I still got lucky. Here are some of the things that make me joyful: First, I have a cast of 14 extremely talented women. Their experience levels are varied but each of them is excited, committed and truly want to be part of the play and Wildflower Ensemble. Second, they are on time and ready to work. Our rehearsal period is truncated and they dive right in. Third, they ask questions & make thoughtful suggestions. I love that. Theatre should be a collaborative art. Fourth, they anticipate & follow their instincts so that often they do things before I have the chance to ask them to do it. Fifth (and this may be my favorite), they are already making choices. The choices may not always work but the fact that they try is wonderful. Finally, they are fun. We snicker and chuckle and belly laugh. Yes, when we guffaw at lines such as What, ho or but, boy we are reverting to our 12 year old selves but it is worth it. Besides, I cannot deny the pleasure I get from their asking me to teach them to swear in Gaelic. Really. Another thing that makes me happy is our stage manager. He is the lone male in this ensemble and he has earned the absolute trust of every member of the company. So…..bottom line – actors who are responsible, enthused, committed and not afraid to dive in and give it their all from day one is the stuff of this director’s dreams. I am not overstating it when I say it makes me joyful.

AA, BA, MFA in Theatre. Retired Adjunct Professor in Theatre & Film, Sacramento City College. Currently Acting Instructor/Coach for Sacramento Vocal Music. Proud member of Wildflower Ensemble Company, a female acting ensemble proudly presenting free Shakespeare utilizing Original Practices. Married, two sons, three grandsons.

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