It had been seven years since I attempted directing theatre. The last time was a lovely experience at Pacific Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia via their emerging artist arm called Stone’s Throw Productions. I directed an abriged one-act adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. We called it Less Ado. It was three nights only and it was a blast. The show was sold out each night and the audiences were great.
But it had been a while and I was a little nervous, but looking for something to do, when Sharifa Williams emailed me about potentially directing the play she’d written, submitted, and got accepted into the Players Theatre’s Short Play & Music Festival. I loved the script (it was a topic that I’ve been working on a screenplay about). I loved the size of the project – a short play. I loved the opportunity. Ryan was on board as well.
Rehearsals were so rewarding. I love working with actors. I’ve directed two short films since directing theatre and the thing I think I’ve missed is the lovely luscious rehearsal process. And this one was no exception. I had five brilliant, kind, patient, hard-working, and reliable actors who were a joy to play with.
Of all the plays in Week 2 of the festival, Sharifa’s was the most production-heavy. We had costumes with blood, costumes with spikes, six full garbage bags, Tupperware with broccoli, and sound cues from the MTA. But as a theatre producer turned film producer, I was totally up for it. However, it meant a little less time at each rehearsal working on the acting. More time spent on tech. But it was worth it. It’s important to be able to find the balance of time necessary. This was good practice.
Tech rehearsal ran smoothly. Even though they’d requested five cues or less, they didn’t balk at my seven cue prompt book. And the actors were so on task I nearly drooled. They killed it. Sharifa had a few suggestions after the first show; but it only took a few adjustments for the actors to fix that.
And now, it’s just been announced that our play, the play Sharifa William’s wrote, has won the Audience Award for the Best of the Fest from Week 2!