I just finished a six-week stint directing a play at Crystal Sea Drama Company. This is a youth theater company, so it's supposed to be an educational experience for the young people involved. However, I find that it's just as much an educational experience for me.
What I Learned Directing This Play:
My costumer asked me what period the costumes should be. Period? I dunno. It's the Clue game characters . . . they're in a castle . . .
My set designer asked what kind of castle. I dunno. German? Siekfurst is a German name . . . sure, it's German. I don't have a clue what a German castle looks like. What kind of kitchen table in the kitchen? I have no idea -- what can you give me?
He also asked if I wanted to keep the round proscenium platforms or take them out. I don't know -- what do you want to do? I'm not used to dictating what my stage looks like; I'm used to being given a stage and having to work with what I have.
My stage manager asked to use my script with the cues written in it. Cues? Umm . . . how exactly would you like those cues written? (She ended up writing cues in her own script.)
I think I should take the tech class at CSDC.
2. How little attention I pay to detail. Did I like the earrings Fillie was wearing in Act 2? Was she wearing earrings in Act 2?
Do I want the rafters painted to match the trim? Uh . . . rafters? Oh, those. Sure. Maybe. I can't even picture that in my head.
I work with people here who are the type who would notice that this suitcase is a completely different style than all the other suitcases and cringe at that through the whole show -- where I'm happy that we found a purple suitcase at all. I'm grateful to have people who pay attention to those things because I know there are audience members that pay attention to those things, and I just don't see any of it.
3. How little control I have over anything. Actually, this was not news to me -- I'm reminded of this every time I direct a play. I'm convinced this is why God has me doing this.
I have NO control over who auditions for my play. (And I didn't have enough people audition, but God brought us the people we needed.)
I have NO control over how hard my actors and crew work. (But my people worked very hard for me this time around -- even got their lines memorized in a week and two days.)
I have NO control over the health of my actors and crew, or their well-being and safety outside of my rehearsal time with them -- and sometimes not much DURING my rehearsal time with them. (And this was my first play where those things really became issues.)
I have NO control, once the symbolic curtain rises on opening night, over what ends up happening on that stage. There's a point where it's all out of my hands.
4. I love these kids. I can't tell you what a great group of actors and techies I had for this play. I enjoyed them thoroughly. They put on a great show. They reminded me why I do this . . . and made me want to do it again.
Sometime. After I get the house cleaned and get caught up on my sleep.