Should effort equal outcome? Sometimes I wonder about that. It’s not like I want anything easy, and really anything worth anything shouldn’t be easy. The harder we work, the more we value something. And if that’s the case, then October was a gold mine.
It all started with a mad dash to produce and direct a show. I went from having almost nothing on my plate to possibly too much, although truthfully when “the day-job is getting in the way” I am usually rather happy with the state of affairs at that moment. I gathered a talented cast, found a space, arranged for costumes, set pieces, rehearsed and ran from sun up to sun down and then some.
If you’ve read my creed or know me or have worked with me it would come as no surprise that I would never want to put out bad or weak or lackluster work. (Perhaps this blog aside.) I’d cancel a production (if possible) before showing crap. I guess plan B would be what a friend told me today—direct under a pseudonym.
“Me? No, that wasn’t me! I was out of town during that show. Never even heard of it. Was it really that bad?…..”
This, however, did not occur in October.
Despite the haphazard puzzle of rehearsals, working around five actors with busy schedules (not to mention my own conflicts,) hoping actors would memorize (much less embody) the dense and long material, somehow it all came together, and in the end was more than satisfying.
Here we were doing a show about…well, mostly madness, I’d say. In one portion of the show, an adaptation of “The Yellow Wallpaper”, we watch as a charming, smart woman slowly loses her marbles. I loved how the audience laughed, and then laughed a little less, and then watched in silence, fascinated by both the story and the actress’s delicate and detailed performance.
Nothing’s more satisfying as a director than sitting in the back of the theater and watching the audience watch the play.
Afterwards, one person told me, “You have a really good cast.”
“I know.”, I said.
“No. I mean your direction was good, but…..you have a really good cast.”
Didn’t see all my direction? All my adaptation? That’s ok. I wanted you to listen to and experience the stories, well told. If I’m invisible as the director then that’s fine by me.
A lot of work went in to perhaps too few performances, but that’s the nature of the form, and all that work was worth it.