Underwater cave
Underwater cave
Underwater cave


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Adventures in Directing

Adventures in Directing

Two months in and three weeks away from opening night, I’m still unsure why people volunteer to become directors. It’s a bit like parenting—without the biological rush of endorphins.

Also, directing doesn’t take: a commitment of time, money, energy, and…self, totaling the rest of your natural life.

So I guess, not like parenting.

But it is a bit.

For one thing: everyone is screaming. People are falling off boxes. You have to dress them all. You’re suddenly acutely aware of several people’s physical and mental well-being.

And the questions!

They don’t stop.

The stage manager wants to know where that prop will be. The actors want you to source an obscure sound effect for the sole purpose of highlighting ONE LINE—that the audience will honestly, not even understand.

The lighting guy says that the crucial thing you want done: is impossible.

The jazz music you thought would be easy to find: is beyond the legal limits of the theatre.

And you don’t get to act!

You have to sit off-stage and watch other people act. So while they’re sword-fighting/throwing spears at one another/dancing and forgetting their cues…you’re following the script and wishing the fuckers would learn their lines.

I don’t have a point to any of this by the way.

I’m simply complaining about my poor life choices. Don’t become a director. There are easier ways to have fun. Also, I’m not certain I’m having fun. I might be.

There is a joy to watching everyone’s characters develop and the play emerges from a halting mess—into something with rhythm and pace.

There is that.

There are those moments when it all starts to look like a production and not a room full of four-year-olds on a sugar rush.

At present, one cast member is at home with a cold and I told her if she came to the theatre and got anyone else sick, I’d set her on fire.

Because I’m a people person.

Fundamentally, directing a play is about organising people.

Let’s replay that line: “organising people”.

Organising is as natural to me as cycling is to an albatross. And I find people—well they’re not books are they? Which is a massive problem straight off the bat.

Luckily, it’s creative.

You have to pull words off the page and make them real—while being mindful of: the theatre’s budget, the legal rights to music and images, the physical limitations of your cast, the attention span of the audience, and a bunch of other crucial details I’ll no doubt realise I’ve forgotten on the 24th of September when the curtains sweep aside and my haphazard planning comes unstuck.

So there’s that to look forward to.

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

© 2023, Joss Cannon