View single post by Doug B
 Posted: Sun May 20th, 2012 04:26 pm
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Doug B

Joined: Thu May 20th, 2010
Location: Eastsound, Washington USA
Posts: 94
QG: You are exactly right. I've never connected it before but writers of dramatic works are far more difficult to work with.

A week ago today we closed our seventh annual Festival of Locally Written Ten Minute Plays. This year I decided to sit out the playfest. I was one of the two founders and always had a major role in producing and directing the plays in the festival.

This year my role was to to mentor two first time directors to make sure things were going right (our usual practice).

Two weeks before tech I was asked to take over directing a play when the original director got sick.

I got to direct a wonderful play by one of out very best playwrights about a young woman confronting her step-mother twenty years after she was removed from the home due to having been sexually abused by her father when she was 8 to 10 years old.

This particular playwright had a great reputation of giving her play to the director then sitting back and enjoying watching it come to life.

She drove me absolutely crazy micro managing the process. Specific words in sentences had to be said a certain way, Actors had to look, or not look, in a certain direction and so on.

As it developed, her play we autobiographical and it was REALLY important to her that the play unfold the way it had in her life. That put me in a very difficult position. The play came out very well but I think it might have been better if I didn't have to serve two masters: The play itself (or, at least, my vision of it) and the playwright.

I also find that playwrights are not as emotionally involved with comedies which makes it easier to work with them on needed changes.

To respond to Edd's post: I am an amateur director in the sense that I don't direct in professional theater. I am not at all insecure about my directing skills and I find it helpful to have the playwright around during the initial rehearsals when most of the questions are raised and addressed.

I have worked with a few professional playwrights (playwrights who have had their work performed in LORT theaters) and have not had significant issues working with them.

Unfortunately, the example above seems to be the rule and not the exception in dealing with first or second time playwrights. That is one of the reasons I wanted to back away from an active directing role in our playfest.

I have said this elsewhere (see post #25): I am also a playwright and I attend the first few rehearsals then keep away because it drives me crazy to watch what the director is doing to my play.