Our Fearless Leader

(Part of a series about creating a new production of “Metamorphoses” by Mary Zimmerman at Georgia Shakespeare, summer, 2013.)

So far I’ve written about our rehearsal process entirely from the actor’s viewpoint.  But you know that’s not the whole story.  There are many people in the rehearsal room helping to make the play happen, and many others in the scene shop, costume shop, and theater.  And there’s one person in charge of it all:  the director.

Richard and Dr. C at the director's table

Richard and Dr. C at the director’s table

Like many actors, I’ve been a director, and I know it’s the hardest job in the room.  Juggling the needs and talents of everyone who works on a show is exhausting.  Our director, Richard Garner, is also artistic director of the company, so he’s almost never off the clock.  He frequently spends the lunch hour at his office desk, taking care of the business of running a theater, and heads out after rehearsal to meetings or shows. 

Talking through a scene

Talking through a scene

Directors start working on a play months in advance, reading through the script, meeting with designers, auditioning actors, and planning the production.  By the time rehearsals begin, they have a pretty good idea what they want, but there is still much to discover with the actors.  Whether seated at a table, consulting with the dramaturg and the stage manager, or out in the room showing us what he has in mind, the director is constantly shaping the play based on his own ideas and everything we have to offer.

Figuring out a moment with actress Kristin Butler

Figuring out a moment with actress Kristin Butler

For several weeks, Richard has led, cajoled, listened to, and experimented with us to create a collection of characters, relationships, movements and sounds designed to breathe life into the words of the script.   

Now we are ready to enter a new phase of the rehearsal process.  We are moving downstairs to the theater to begin technical rehearsals, or “tech”, a whole new adventure with lots of moving parts, led by the director and coordinated by yet another theatrical miracle worker:  the stage manager.  Stay tuned.

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