My big project for the spring has kicked into full gear.
Rehearsals start next week for ImprovBoston’s Comedy Lab show for April 2010: Discount Shakespeare: As You Like It In Forty-Five Minutes. I held auditions the Sunday and Monday after New Year’s, watching 30 people try out for 10 roles. Rachel V. and I whittled the cast down that Monday evening, over a bottle of red wine and a sea of headshots.
This is my first full directing project since Dial [Ankh] For Murder in college. I think I’ve learned a lot since then – most importantly, how to unclench a little and not make people cry – but I’m still a little nervous. Fortunately, I’ve prepared a checklist of crucial steps to directing a good show, and I think I’m hitting most of them.
- Secure Rehearsal Space Early. Boston’s a theater-heavy town, so if you don’t have a studio that can accommodate a dozen people early on, you’re not going to find one. Fortunately, IB and other locals have been generous.
- Use The Internet. How did people produce shows before Google Calendar, Google Groups and Google Docs? Did they use Sharepoint? Microsoft Outlook? Lotus Notes? I can’t imagine those working nearly as well.
- Do Your Own Publicity. ImprovBoston’s a great venue, and part of a thriving artistic community, but their budget’s limited. Fortunately I have access to a lot of different soapboxes. And I’m pretty shameless about promoting shows, like the one I’m directing, Discount Shakespeare: As You Like It In Forty-Five Minutes, premiering on Wednesdays this April at ImprovBoston.
- Relax. Better shows have come together on smaller budgets at the last minute. You don’t need absolute control over every detail. Especially when you’re working with grown-ups instead of college kids; that helps tremendously.
- Pick an Assistant Director Who’s Your Opposite in Key Aspects. Rachel gets calm when I get fidgety, inquisitive when I get naive, probing when I get blase, and enthusiastic when I get tired. She’s not all of those things all the time, mind, but she seems to live on a cycle opposite me. Which will help.
- Have Fun. It’s a community theater adaptation of a Shakespeare comedy, not Operation Overlord. Enjoy yourself, Professor.
I think that covers it. If I missed something, let me know so I can start panicking.