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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Directors Say The Darndest Things!

Directors tend to be a particular bunch.  One of my favorite jokes has been:

Q:  How many directors does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A:  Well.... does it have to be a light bulb?

Not all director chairs have an Hitchcock-Psycho background to it.
90% of the directing game is communicating with the actors about the images and moments that you want to create on-stage.  It's not just knowing what you want; It's about relating the idea so that everyone can understand.  One of the worst things that I've heard a director say, to an exasperated and frustrated cast, after weeks and weeks of rehearsal was "If you could only see what I could see."

Now, like most people, directors can have a little trouble getting across a particular point.  Everyone goes through the struggle to find words.

The most memorable experience I have with this was back in high school.  Senior Year, I was in a school edition production of Les Miserables.  There I was, dead on the barricade, the student revolution failing on cue.  I can't remember how many students there were, maybe ten?  I was among the oldest, with the age spread going from maybe 12 to 18.  Kids can be fidgety and we had rehearsed getting shot in slow-motion for the millionth time because, well... kids can be fidgety.

Not our production, but pretty close...
Our director shouted out from the darkness, with all the power and force that she could muster:

Naturally, this just made things worse.  We all started to laugh, insanely so.  And it's still funny about ten years later.

I remember asking the question several months ago on Facebook:  What's the most ridiculous thing that you've ever had a director say to you?  I still have some of the responses.  I try to put them in as much context as I know.

I was in a production of A Christmas Story at Muse Arts Warehouse (albeit too briefly).  JinHi, one of my favorite people ever said a mildly silly comment:

"So, the way that this department store is set-up... in... this... living room..."

Another production, this one I wasn't involved in:

"C'mon!  This is theatre!  Do what you would do in real life!"

This was a famous one at my alma mater, University of West Georgia:

"Bold choice!  Cut it..."

This last one I have comes from an acting class that a friend of mine was in:

"Okay, you're both Muslims and there's one piece of bean pie left... GO!"

So, if you have a story about something crazy a director has said during a rehearsal (or ever), leave a comment and do share!

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