SOME COMMON MISPERCEPTIONS ABOUT THEATRE DIRECTORS
Thanks for the suggestion @vp !
- •Actors make the best directorsThey might understand how to talk to actors, but it doesn't mean they know how to talk to designers or handle transitions which can minimize the scope/depth of the production.
- •Directors are SociopathsThis isn't completely true... Though I have seen how spending a lot of time honing a power of suggestion can seriously warp a person.
- •The best theatre directors are in New YorkUntrue. There is way more potential money and exposure in NYC which is very attractive. And while it's easy to see some snoozy stalwarts in many regional houses, there are exciting theatre directors who exist far away from a Duane Reade.
- •All directors know how to develop new workNew Play showcases involving emerging directors are all the rage, but development is a skill. Companies think it's a cheap way to make a show of supporting young artists, but it's not necessarily good for either party. A director in new work helps the writer make their message more vibrant/dynamic without necessarily pulling forward with their own interests/ideas. They have to ask questions, not say statements. That's hard. It's a harmony that not everyone is suited to. More 13P models please!
- •Directors are white menFalse: Anna Shapiro, Libby Appel, Mary Zimmerman, Desdemona Chiang, Jessica Thebus, Juliette Carillo, Garry Hynes, Jessica Kubzansky... It's just not true!
- •Ask the black director to direct the black playI have a colleague who is black and he imagines his future will be nothing but August Wilson with no chance at Arthur Miller. I hate that he thinks that and I hate that he may have reason to believe that.
- •David MametWhile his book THEATRE has a metaphor about how actors are pilots and scripts are planes that together can right themselves the worst is "Will success attract directors, producers...? Of course. California in 1849 attracted goldbugs. But we should note that those who came were looking for the gold; they did not...pretend to be alchemists." (30) Ouch. I believe GOOD directors can make visual storytelling more impactful, encourage actors to go deeper, and make the seed of the story shine.
- •Beckett: All I need is a stage managerFriel may have said this actually. Either way: ouch. Never underestimate the power of a badass stage manager, but directors serve a purpose regardless of the specificity of the italics even if it's just picking out the boots and the lone tree. ***Note: I like to point out how easy it is to think of Irish playwrights and how hard it is to think of Irish directors. In Ireland, the playwright is king.
- •You need an MFA to be a directorI just got mine and will be forever changed and grateful for the experience. But I'll never claim that one is necessary. It's not for everyone, it's not a guarantee, but the right program CAN expand your everything.
- •Every director wants to direct musicalsThe profit potential is VERY attractive, but the genre doesn't speak to everyone (and a musical directed by someone who didn't like is terrible). Directing a musical demands an ability to communicate with many different groups of artists/support staff and understanding the unique vocabulary of an MT show and its performers. It's a very different beast to a straight play.
- •Every director wants to direct ShakespeareAgain, it doesn't speak to everyone and when Shakespeare is directed by a person who thinks its just a resume builder IT SUCKSSSSSSSSS!
- •(Look of confused disgust) "I once worked with a director who...."Not all directors are created equal. If you worked with a person who once identified as the "director" in the credit listing and he asked you "to be the stereotypical Latino faggy boy" uh yeah: that was a terrible idea from a terrible person who listed themselves as a director. Start seeing the person not the position. It can save some potential grief, but this just comes with experience.
- •Directors now rely on DramaturgsARGH! Directors don't necessarily know how to use a dramaturg & a dramaturg's research doesn't necessarily amount to a great show. Also, a play developed by a dramaturg doesn't mean it'll fly in stage regardless of its structure. And not all actors need a packet. Its a position thats rising in prominence and I don't always see its significance other than the person could argue her way into the budget. Maybe the Dramaturg will be the new Director as the most loathed position in Theatre?
- •Directors like the sound of their own voiceYeah... That's probably true because my lists are crazy long. I'm trying to work on that ;)