Friday, January 28, 2011

Thoughts on Being an A.D.

I mentioned that I would share a few stray thoughts here and there about how my adventures as an AD would be going. A week from opening night I thought would be a good time to offer a few thoughts.

It has gone well, for the most part. I have had to run two rehearsals and part of a third myself. When not doing so I am paying particular attention to the needs and questions of actors as best as I can.

And I think that is the big thing here. There are those who would conclude that the actor and the director are two different beasts, and never the twain shall meet. But I have never agreed with this, and I still don't. I am on stage far more often than I am off for a show, but every time I step into a directorial type of situation I learn more about myself as an actor. I observe how actors respond to notes or instruction. I think about what I would like to hear in their situation and how I would like to hear it. And it causes me to ask myself what it is about the nature of my acting that would make me more responsive to that type of approach.

And I would certainly hope that my experience as an actor informs me as to how to better approach the situations and difficulties the actors in this, and any cast I oversee are going through. I believe honestly that it has. It is not as easy to asses one's effectiveness as a director as it is as an actor. But if I had to guess, my instinct tells me that I have been able to offer thoughts and approaches that otherwise not be able to offer, had it not been for my on stage experience.

Directing also requires one to delve into a scene from a different angle. A broader, more thematic conception of a scene or a play is necessary than it would be in cases wherein I am responsible for just one character. Yet every time I direct I become, I dare say, better at that sort of broader conception. And while that sort of conception is too broad to be utilized when I act, there is no doubt in my mind that being able to do so assists me in script analysis as an actor.

In other words, when directing, there is a great deal of observation. Observation, observation, observation. And if you read this blog regularly you know that it is observation, paying attention, that remains my number one piece of advice for the performer.

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