Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Show Turns the Corner

Whenever I'm directing a show...which, lately, is constantly...there's always a moment when the show 'turns the corner'. It's then that you know it's going to be okay, all the hard work, the worrying, the time that you've put in, it's all going to be worth it. It's the 'we've got a show' moment. For the CrazyLake Acting Company's production of "The Odd Couple", last night was that night. The show turned the corner.

We sent the poker guys home early--we've worked and worked with them; strangely, it's Oscar and Felix, who live right here in town, who have been neglected. So last night belonged to them.

Directing is a search for truth: truth in movement, truth in voice, in reaction, in facial expression, body position, physical location, and juxtaposition to others near you, etc., etc. When I’m watching, I’m watching for what rings true and what appears false. So when we say, “Does this work?”, we’re really saying, “Is this true?” The difference between what is true and what is false can be as slight as two steps this way, looking down instead of up, tone of voice or inflection. And sometimes it’s true one time; and it’s not true the next, because everything is always moving...

We worked on Act III. We stopped and started, backed up, discussed scenes and motivations (always humorously harking back to "Why am I carrying this box of groceries into the study, Lloyd?"). We tried it again in different ways, trying to find 'what works'.

And in the end, it was good. The collaboration between the three of us is good--it's more than good. I don't know what other directors do, but I like to listen to my actors. I think, for the most part, they ultimately have a much deeper understanding of their characters than I do. What I understand is the big picture of the scene, but THEY understand their characters. So we work together on what feels honest to the character and what feels right to the scene, the constantly moving painting we're creating. And when we get it right, we look at each other and nod and smile--and we keep working. Always looking for truth. I smile now just thinking about it. It's good; it's all good.

The CrazyLake Acting Company: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

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