Monthly Archive for: ‘September, 2012’

David Hirzel

Second Time Director

I would not by any stretch consider myself a “director” of theatre, no matter how small.  My own experience is very small, but I must confess I have felt it grow this afternoon in ways I would not have anticipated.  The call came from a friend, an amateur playwright who had penned a two-acter some years ago, based on true events in her own life.  This was to be “readers’ theatre” by non-actors in a community centers, with three rehearsals (and I would have to miss the first) one week apart before curtain.  As I was the only one among her circle of friends who had any directorial experience (see above), I was tapped and with a few misgivings and prequalifications, accepted.

As noted, I missed the first rehearsal.  At the second, two of the eight actors arrived without their scripts.  All but one had NO acting experience.  Neither a good sign.  But things improved by the third.  As “director” I must make do with what I had in hand, and hope for the best.  By the end of the dress rehearsal—lost scripts, missed cues, a general dearth of relevant emotion given the incipient deaths of three of the characters and the actual deaths of two, a different actor each time for the role of  “the stranger,” all compounded by the complete ineptitude of the “director”—it seemed clear that only the most modest of aspirations were likely to be met.

The audience would be shanghaied from among those departing community center lunch in the early afternoon.  Not likely to be terribly critical, if they were at least mildly entertained.

And here is what happened:  All of the “readers” became by miraculous osmosis “actors,” and assumed that wonderful generosity arises when cues are missed, props fail, actors don’t show up, pages are missing from the script.  We had a full house who caught all the humor in the playwright’s lines and the cast’s delivery and laughed all the way through it.  By any measure except box office, the show was a huge success.

And here is what else happened:  One of the cast came up to the director, and thanked me for all that she had learned from me.  I found out it was the other way around.

[Special thanks to Anna Boothe, playwright (Six Months to Live) and stage manager, and to: Tom Sullivan, Lydia Benetiz, Gus Tjgaard, Joyce Sorce, Jeanne Angle, Karim Kiram, Manuel Sequeria, Dick Moody, and Camincha, and Janice at the Pacifica Community Center]

by David Hirzel


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