Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dearly Beloved


I just directed a show. Not just any show, but the funniest show known to man. At least that's how audiences responded to it. Rioutous laughter. And I owe it all to my cast and crew.
That's the cast above. The show was an over-the-top comedy about a Gone with the Wind themed wedding gone awry, which explains why they're all dressed so funny. I have to hand it to my costume designer, Christy: She really took my ideas and ran with them. The cast looks phenomenal.
Each one of them brought something unique and different to the show. Not only were they all immensely talented, but they each understood comedic timing. We had fun shaping their performances during rehearsals. As is usual during any rehearsal process, everyone bonds and becomes a family. Unfortunately, some of those families turn out to be extremely dysfunctional. This cast was not. Everyone enjoyed each other's company and lots of laughs were to be found offstage as well as on.
Since I didn't update at all during the rehearsals, there's no point in going back now and telling funny stories. That would bore everyone. Nor do I want to boast about how successful we...alright, I'll boast. The show was a hit. Four sell-outs. One Sunday matinee at 60% capacity. Lots of positive comments. And one bat who decided he wanted to see the show, too. That little guy spent a portion of last Friday's performance swooping around the theatre. Our word-of-mouth was so good that even the wildlife of Zionsville wanted to see it. (Although that bat still owes me $10.)
Directing was fun, but man was it a huge challenge. I think I got about 85% of it right. Even watching the final performance there were things I wanted to change. I definitely needed to move them more. There were portions of the show where people just stood there and delivered lines. And while that worked the majority of the time - thank you, God, once again for my cast - it didn't work all of the time. It needed some polish. But that's just me, overanalyzing. I don't think people cared, for the most part.
Also, the show was comprised of several smaller scenes set in distinct places. (Psychic shop, beauty parlor, etc.) Since the stage is small and I needed to let the audience know where they were at any given time, I used a rear projection screen and provided backgrounds behind my actors. I thought it worked brilliantly, but everyone else hated it. Fuck 'em, I liked the screen and I thought it was fine. That's why I'm the director.
Opening night was easily one of the best experiences of my life. Hearing an audience bellow with laughter at the show as well as seeing their reactions really made all the hard work worth it. I don't think I've ever been prouder. Each theatrical production is like a jigsaw puzzle: A bunch of small pieces need to fit together to create a larger whole. If some of those pieces don't fit, then you get an awfully odd looking jigsaw puzzle. Our puzzle was one of those 1,000 piecers that was all the same color. Awfully difficult to put together, but a wonder to behold when it was done.
And, yes, I would love to direct again. There's a sequel to Dearly Beloved. Hmmm....