Last month I directed a two hander musical for a local theatre company. I had worked with them before as an actor but this was my first time directing anything and I thought I would share with you what I learnt and what I will take forward as a performer.
The main thing is it’s so bloody hard to take a piece forward and really see how it is shaping up when lines aren’t learnt and you don’t put 100% into the rehearsals. My God that was by far the most frustrating part of the entire process, I could see the skeleton of the show but the juicy bits couldn’t be worked on properly as scripts were still being clutched! Please, please, please have your lines learnt as soon as possible. Please. I am going to work harder on my lines now because it made me realise how irritating for the director it is when you have a plan to work on these parts but can’t because someone else hasn’t done their half of the bargain. URGH!
A little note for actors, sometimes when a director questions you it isn’t to put you on the spot or belittle you, it is simply to either make you clarify a choice or try to broaden your view. When I questioned my performers a lot of the time I just wanted to see either a bold choice in characterisation or see if they were aware of a different view point. I wanted the show to be as good as they did but sometimes you need to question before you know what is best.
I also learnt that whilst I enjoyed directing and would love to do it again, my main love is performing. I like to be doing it not orchestrating it. I would recommend directing to actors though as it does let you understand that side of the show much better. I now sympathise so much more with directors because I remember being in that position and wanting to cry/tear my hair out/punch people when it goes badly and grin manically will doing an embarrassing dance when it goes right.
P.S. in case you are wondering the show went brilliantly in the end. The performers, the venue, lighting and everything all went smoothly except for my health and I managed to lose my voice the day after and I wasn’t even a shouty director! I put it down to stress and the change of seasons but heyho all better now and I was back on my singing lessons after a weeks rest.