I've always been a lover of theater. I started performing when I was six, and, before that, I would run around the house with a wig on pretending I was Britney Spears. I think I was a natural born performer! Over the years, I have acted in countless productions, but I never expected to become a director. Life is funny like that I suppose.
Last fall, I decided I would join my university's theater club. At the time, I was applying for production internships and needed more experience to put on my resume (acting in theater productions is, allegedly, not substantial enough for a film production. Whatever). So, I joined the club looking to gain some behind-the-scenes experience, since I am always in-front-of-the-scene.
I joined the club pretty late into the semester, so the play was already chosen and casted. The club was putting on a three one-act plays from David Ives' play, All in the Timing. The production included the one-acts "Sure Thing," "Universal Language," and "The Philadelphia." There was no director for "The Philadelphia" at the time, so I took a leap and said I would do it.
I never thought I would ever become a director. A director's job, to me, is so daunting. You have to be so confident in your vision and your creativity; it's your job to inspire and motivate your actors into great performances, plus you're in charge of every aspect of the production. As an actor, I normally only had to worry about myself and my performance, but, as a director, I was responsible for everything. I never thought I was creative enough or had a clear enough vision to be a director. But life is about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things, right?
Because I have acted in so many productions, I had some idea of what to do, but, generally speaking, I was clueless! I really didn't give too much thought to the theme or the look of the production. I was just concerned with getting my actors on stage and it looking... okay. One aspect I did make sure to do was work on character development with my actors. Character is extremely important to me. Most of the directors I've had throughout the years never took the time to work on characters. I find that disheartening and disappointing because then the actors just end up reading their lines with different intonations. I want my actors to become completely submerged in their characters, known the motivation for every line, and understand their character inside and out.
In the end, our act went incredibly well. With only 5 weeks to rehearse, we put on a pretty good show. And I discovered, that I am not a horrible director. I'm actually kinda good at it.
Everybody has to be some place...
Director's Note: "The Philadelphia"
Marcus has found himself hopeless trapped in a 'Philadelphia,' a paranormal state where he can't seem to get what he wants. While Al is enjoying his care-free eternal paradise in a 'Los Angeles.' Both men are exploring their new metaphysical homes, and trying to figure out how to cope.
"The Philadelphia" explores the concept of self perceived mentality. Your mind can be a prison with no escape or an indulgent paradise where nothing can harm you. We are all in different places, but how do we end up in these states? Are we somewhere happy, sad, confusing, frustrating? Do we take ourselves there, or are the forces of the universe steering us towards our mental locations?
So, where are you?
Photos Courtesy of Barabra Dennis, Coordinator of Publications and Promotion at Penn State York University