I am here to learn and the only way to learn is to make mistakes, it’s hard not to wonder just what you have learned when you come to the end of University, no more so, when your goals are centred around directing. I mean, I’ve run rehearsals in the past, for small projects; I’ve observed, assisted and been assisted by directors of theatre and film, yet sitting in a rehearsal room full of adults is terrifying when it hits that you’re an inexperienced director about to lead rehearsals for your third year final major project.
There were times in the rehearsal room where we would find ourselves at a point where there was uncertainty about how we should be approaching the scene. The challenge I found was instilling confidence in my suggestions when it is clear I am unsure and still undergoing a learning process. To assist with these moments, I took advice from director and university professor David Thacker. As side from our regular tutorials, he was always an email away to resolve challenges we encountered.
Lean Delroy is an intriguing character, full of wit and integrity, yet I found the play text written in a way that almost portrays him as a suspicious person. I toyed with the notion that he may actually be guilty of something and sought advice about cutting parts of the text that contradicted this vision. In fact, it was during this process of cutting the length of the play and our discussion that I came to realise the importance of playing the text free of subjective interpretation.
Mike Alfred’s in his book Different Every Night: Freeing the Actor he outlines his directing coda. Alfred’s states that the ‘The theatre is not a forum for the interpretation of plays. Its aim is to bring them alive – a surprisingly different concept.’ By bringing the exploration with our actors back to this in the trickier moments meant that they could then reconsider the role of their character in this scene and their delivery of the dialogue.A standout moment for me in our rehearsals of SUS was the opening conversation between D.S Karn and D.C Wilby. This scene was one of the far more difficult scenes encountered during the process, requiring our actors to establish the tone and exposition of the play. Discovering these moments is what the rehearsal room is all about, however the reality is quite different. Actors and directors are both human beings, we have fears and anxieties, a s well as, lives we are living, away from ambitions and studies. Once in the rehearsal room, I found that often people were distracted or unprepared. Fortunately, I had planned my rehearsals well and was able to identify the cause of these issues and build a strategy to limit the effect of, actors who are not paid having other priorities and not being able to dedicate the time needed to rehearse, either at home or subsequently over spilling in to their concentration during the rehearsal, resulting in, less of the focus and energy needed in a rehearsal room. This causes problems and adds to anxieties however, there is a common goal shared by everyone in rehearsal room: to create a piece of theatre.