Report from week one of the Lab
A dear friend in London once told me “Directing is like dying. You do it alone.” However, as I was reminded today by Jay Stern, the same friend has been a valuable, effective co-director in the past.
Why do we want to experiment with codirecting? Perhaps to experiment with what we are all afraid of. Directing, we are told, is having your vision, communicating it to the actors. What happens when your vision is our vision, what happens when we both have to communicate it to the actors? Well, I guess we have to communicate between us first. To trust. To trust that the actors will not get confused when having two people in charge, that even if they are constantly searching for one lead, one authority figure, we can both manage to follow our impulses while giving space and time to each other. It takes time, I’m sure. But we are thinking through it, we see what works and what not, and this is important.
What has worked this week? Observing other directors’ rehearsals has worked (so far, Annie Levy and Jay Stern-twice, Evan Tsitsias, Evan Ts and Chang Nai Wen; I will be visiting more rehearsals next week). It has provided me with the freedom to observe without worrying about results. To see what is effective in their communication -with their co-directors and with the actors. The moments of agreeing have definitely been effective, when codirecting. But there’s more to agreeing than saying yes. It’s the moments when one approaches her/his codirector because s/he wants to “touch base”, or because s/he is genuinely unsure of what is best to do next, while trying to be in the moment in the rehearsal, and while co-planning observe what the actors do.
This week I’ve ‘stolen’ things. The demonstration of respect I sensed in Nai Wen’s and Evan Tsitsias’s rehearsal. They do not only respect but they show their respect. I know I respect my co-director, but observing this pair of directors made me realise it’s important that I communicate this to the actors too. Annie Levy and Jay Stern were dividing responsibilities. It seems like an effective way of going about things. It seems this is not too confusing for the actors. And what I learnt from my codirector is that generosity is also helpful. And practical. He invited Evan, Annie and Nai Wen to work with our actors, on our project. These three times enabled us to sit back and relax, to see how our actors take direction from others. It also enabled me observe different techniques and different ways of being present in the rehearsal room. How clarity, confidence, openness, do help. I stop here. This is valuable, I know. I also know I need more time to figure out exactly how and why.
— Ioli Andreadi (Athens/London)