Directing

I sat listening; my chin in my cupped hands, my fingers curled, my cuticles in my mouth. I watched their movements: their choices, and listened to their voices, watched their body languages. I analyzed what they were saying to each other, the three women in front of me, and I sat in my corner with my legs crossed, the one foot I had on the floor jiggling to relieve the urge to jump up out of my seat.

It was the third time we were going through the play, and it was the second time they had gotten up to put this piece on its feet.

I felt the “wobble” as the actresses worded their lines. Each pause seemed like a step as each word was read off the page and each physical movement was noticed and recorded in my memory for the first time. “There!” I said, suddenly. “Keep that! I love what you’re doing!” The play stopped: all 6 eyes on me. I felt like a piece of clay had dropped in front of me and I was trying to delicately mold it into a recognizable figure. “Let’s explore that. I challenge you to make that bigger…” I said over and over, each time feeling my chest swell with excitement. The women took my words and folded them into their own batter, mixing their thoughts and feelings with what I was directing them with. I watched in awe as my words changed their behaviors and choices.

In my life, I’m an older sister. I’m an opinionated, frank, judgmental actress. I’m an improviser. And today: I was a director. Holy crap does it feel good to be on the other side of the room telling others what I think and feel and helping them see what I want an audience to see! What are the levels? The contrasts? Where is the climax? The breaking point? Where do the powers shift? Where does the hubris lie? Where is the vulnerability? How do we get to that point? Where does the tension exist? And on and on…

I jumped up several times and gesticulated a couple times feeling my body tingle like it does when I meet someone I find really attractive. More. More!

I thought of the bad shows I’ve seen and I thought of the good. I thought of the work involved in what I was trying to do which is create a canvas using a 3D world and human bodies that are thinking and doing from entirely different perspectives than my own. This is a collaborative effort, but I am in charge of collecting the ideas, like rainwater, and mixing the concoction to form a work of theatre that an audience must drink (and hopefully like!).

I was a director today, but I have been one my whole life.

I can’t wait to see this show finished.

February 7, 2013 at 3:36 am by Natalie Allen