Directing from Afar

Through the many posts, pictures and emails flying around I feel a little bereft that I am experiencing this lab from the outside. I have been skyping into rehearsals from Toronto, however, and what a joy it has been letting myself go into the hands of other directors. Skype is a modern wonder, but it has its limitations. You are at the mercy of modern technology; Wifi is never a 100% guarantee, quality of equipment on either end (size of screen, grade of camera) can cause problems, and of course a video feed is never the same as actually being in the room. That’s why we work in live theatre, to experience life in the moment, right in front of us, not squeezed through the ether of time & space, reassembled into millions of pixels, thousands of miles away.  Having another director at the other end with your flesh and blood actor, to ask hard questions, keep you thinking and most importantly tell you how it “feels” in the room is invaluable. This requires trust and that trust requires giving up “power,” or control of the situation.  It is an absolutely freeing sensation and can only opens artistic doors within your psyche. I never wondered (well, not nearly as much) is this stupid? Am I stupid? Does this make sense? Will everyone hate it, and all the other nagging self-doubt that hits a director, because I felt at least 3 other directors had my back- fellow directors who care about my vision, my actors and me. I am humbled and full of gratitude for their generosity, now even more so, as we head into tech and the drawbacks of Skype are most evident. Unless someone brings in a robot complete with high quality microphone, speakers, an HD camera, and infallible wifi, I must now fully rely on others to make what I consider our shared vision come to life.

The sharing of knowledge, ideas and responsibilities has allowed me to let go of my own ego. This has been a most liberating experience for me. I came with only a sliver of an idea and am amazed how that tiny seed reverberated throughout the others’ pieces. Fertilized by all  the thoughts and processes that different directors discussed directly and indirectly in rehearsals and restaurants, the seed grew into an actual piece of art that I am still in awe exists. It grew only through the collective creative thoughts and hearts, not to mention sheer will that is essential in any great director. With 12 great directors working together, I feel a little invincible and definitely supported in a way that I have not felt on any other project. How can we go wrong? (Just don’t ask us to screw in any light bulbs…)

– Esther Jun, Toronto, Canada



This entry was posted on August 15, 2012 by .
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