Ways of Collaborating

It has been interesting to watch rehearsals and see how different directors work together.

I’ve been working on a project with Ioli Andreadi, a director from Greece who currently lives in London, who has a wildly different background and directing style than me.  Whereas I’m very loud and improvisatory in rehearsals, Ioli is very soft-spoken and operates from a position of control.  I’m naturally good with text, and Ioli is very comfortable with non-verbal movement work.  Whereas that may make us poorly-matched, this kind of pairing is exactly what many of us are looking for in the WorldWideLab experience.  We want to learn from each other, and try techniques and directing methods which are foreign to us.

Because Ioli and I work so differently, we’ve had to plan our rehearsals in great detail and make sure to share responsibilities as we go.  The problem with this is that for our first several rehearsals we planned in a way that didn’t leave a lot of room for play.  A few rehearsals in we observed a rehearsal run by directors Nai Wen Chang and Evan Tsitsias, and were really impressed with how closely they were working together.  They were always discussing, checking in with each other, and taking moments for whispered conferences between each other.  Ioli and I realized that it was OK for us not to always to have to “perform” the role of director, and that checking in with each other on a regular basis and working out answers to questions in the moment was not only acceptable, but preferable to a healthy and full collaboration.  So watching other directors’ methods helped us better develop our own.

I’ve also been working with fellow New Yorker Annie Levy.  We have similar temperaments and energy levels, but have a very different relationship to the project we’re working on.  Whereas the project Ioli and I are doing (an excerpt from Agamemnon) came from a mutual interest in exploring the Greek Chorus, the project I’m working on with Annie is the next stage of a piece she has been working on for quite some time.  In this case I’m sitting back more in rehearsals and consulting with Annie afterwards.  I’m also helping out with specific needs Annie has and looking out for specific concerns she has with the piece.  So in this case, it’s more a specific sharing of responsibility rather than fully directing together all of the time.

And another way of working is the everybody-contribute method.  Laura Caparrotti invited any interested director to attend her rehearsal, and then handed them two pages of text they had never seen before and had them improvise a rehearsal method around it with her actor.  I found this particularly horrifying to go through, but it was exhilarating in the end, and enabled Laura and her star to see what common impulses we each brought to this challenging text.  Also, many of us have dropped in to help with other rehearsals.  Ioli and I for example, invited Evan Tsitsias, Annie Levy, and Nai Wen Chang to run parts of our rehearsals over the first week.  Ioli also ran a short session of the project I’m doing with Annie Levy.  And our dramaturg M. Sweeney Lawless has been occasionally hijacked by other directors the evenings she’s joined us at rehearsal.  This is perhaps the most exciting type of collaboration; relying on other directors’ strengths as we need them, being open to chance encounters, and generally sharing ideas and methods as we go.  In the end we’re each experiencing different ways of working with different people and seeing what kind of work that allows us to produce.

— Jay Stern, New York City



This entry was posted on August 9, 2012 by .
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