The Official WL Studio Theatre blog

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My ass was officially kicked...

So, as you might know, "Welcome to the Monkey House" opens on Wednesday night. Last rehearsal -- the dress rehearsal -- was tonight.

I confess, I went into it a little nervous. There still seemed to be so much that needed to be done. There were still people hanging onto the script at Sunday's rehearsal. Lights and sound were still clunky. I looked at the show and, as close as it was to being exactly what I wanted -- and don't get me wrong, it was very, very close -- it still wasn't quite close enough.

And then, tonight, everything changed.

Tonight my cast and crew kicked my ass all over the theatre. Tonight we had a show. And it was a fucking good one.

I said to Keith Jantz (who plays Newt) tonight, when talking about directing, this: All of the stress; all of the ulcers and the sleepless nights and the torn out hair and nausea and the wanting to lock yourself in the bathroom and cry for hours, all of that is worth it for the moment I had tonight. For the moment that you look at the stage and realize that your vision has come to life, exactly the way that you imagined it when you first read the script so many months ago.

This final phase of a production is simultaneously the most terrifying and the most rewarding for a director. Rewarding, because you can see all the different facets working together, you can see your production turning from something mechanical into something organic, a life form, that exists all on its own. The actors know their lines, they have costumes, sound and lights are done, and the makeup and hair people know what they have to do. It's a tiny but fully functional community. Watching it is like watching a city you've never lived in before -- watching the people walk down the street, walk into and out of stores, pass each other by. Everything just flows. Everything just works. Naturally. Organically.

But at the same time, amongst all of this working, there is the very real sense that you, as the director, are no longer needed. Your job here is done. You've become kind of a prop. It's like the story of Frankenstein -- you're the one who breathed life into this thing, but now it's functioning as if it has a mind of its own.

Having to remove yourself from the show, and simply let the show be...that's hard.

But when you have a show that looks as good as it did tonight, well, it makes it a little bit easier.

Should any of my cast or crew stumble upon this message between now and Wednesday night, let me simply say this: You rock. All of you. Every single goddamn one of you. I love you all, and I could never thank you enough for helping me bring this thing to life.


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