Joe Cocker Had Help From His Friends So Why Can't I?

I seem to be developing a habit of comparing past experiences to more recent revelations. I'd like to say this post was headed in a different direction, but saying that would create a "pants on fire" situation.

When I was in fourth grade I learned about poetry. For some reason, something inside me ached to write like this. I would lie in bed at night trying to put pen to paper. 

Four years later I had the great fortune of being blessed both with a scheduling mishap which caused an English class with only 7 students and an amazing teacher. She was able to really spend time on everything we did - and we spent a fair amount of time on poetry. All she needed to do was to point out that sometimes poetry rhymed, and sometimes not. Soon I was filling up entire journals with verses, learning to love the texture of words.

Three years ago I found a script I felt had some potential for us to produce. When I presented it the board asked if I would be interested in directing. I wasn't even ready to think about that. I'd taken a couple directing classes in college - sure I'd received a couple very nice compliments from professors on my work during the final, but still - what did I know? I was certain it couldn't be enough to take on a full length. 

In some ways I was right. I loved working on that show and I will always be glad both that we produced it and that I did allow myself to venture into the unknown. Since that time I have taken on three shorts for our most recent three flex productions. They have all been great experiences and each has taught me something about myself and about directing. Most recently I directed S.W. Senek's Milk Cartons. I knew I would have fun, but I was so worried the audience wouldn't see the humor as I did. There were other scripts I could have fought to do, but I really thought they wouldn't be the same challenge - and before I attempted the enormity of tackling my next full length production I needed to believe in myself - and in my ability to see insane, relate-able  humor. 

Tonight was the first real rehearsal for Whales, Save Us! I have been looking forward to directing this show since the first time I read it. However, about 85 minutes before rehearsal started I suddenly because so nervous I was nauseous. Crazy! This was something I knew how to do. Maybe it wasn't nerves... maybe it was the fact I needed my asthma medication - or the fact I hadn't eaten lunch. All I know is when my actors walked in I knew what pages we were rehearsing and in what order, but did I need more? I really didn't know. It took faith in a dear friend who had told me days prior to trust myself, that sometimes it's better to know what you know and what you don't. 

Just like poetry, I needed someone I believed in to tell me that it was okay to walk in with a plan which wasn't entirely fleshed out and to trust where my instincts took me. So my plan was to treat this like one much longer short play. I wasn't stressing and I was going to be honest and just lay out the facts for my actors and trust that if there was an issue they would tell me. And you know what? We had a great rehearsal - much better than we would have had if I'd walked in with blocking and exercises and a minute-by-minute schedule.

This is gonna be one hell of a show - get excited.

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, I've directed a gazillion or more plays, still hate blocking, still get nervous before early rehearsals.

    Could be worse. Could be an actor.