Discount Shakespeare: “As You Like It” In Forty-Five Minutes opens tonight. I’ll have some inspiring words for the cast tonight, I hope: a lot of talk about sticking to fundamentals, keeping their eye on the prize and winning one for Everett’s dad, who’s in the hospital detoxing after coaching the team to State pushed him over the edge. But those words are for my cast. On this site, I get to talk about me. And directing this show has meant a lot to me because it proves that I don’t have to be a son of a bitch.
This isn’t my first time directing a theater production. My senior year of college, I directed a production of my troupe’s fall interactive murder mystery show, set in O’Connell House on BC’s Upper Campus. The script was one of the tightest the troupe ever produced; the cast was excellent and primarily my friends. And I was an absolute basket case. I was a control freak, not over the important details but over trivial things. I yelled at people if they showed up five minutes late. I kicked people out of rehearsal for playing warm-up games wrong. Nothing my cast did was ever good enough. I ran them into the ground until they hated me. At the end of the run, they got me either a set of pencils or playing cards as a gift, I forget which.
For years I was scared to take charge of any sort of group – actors, coworkers, what have you – for fear of repeating my behavior. Fortunately, when the time to direct Discount Shakespeare came around, a lot had changed. I’d learned more about how to lead people by becoming a certified instructor in jiu-jitsu. I had more experience with a wider range of directors, giving me better grounds to base off of. Most importantly, though, I was out of college. No one should have what they do in college held against them. We’re unformed people in an artificial environment subjected to tremendous pressure and lax supervision. It’s a wonder meningitis and the occasional overdose are the worst we deal with.
Anyhow, I’m saying this on my weblog because that’s what this show has meant for me, in a very personal way. But this show’s not just about me. You’ll see why I say that tonight, if you’re coming.