Get outta the way ye director!

I was thinking about Jill Scott’s song, “Gettin’ in the Way

Gettin’ in the way of what I’m feelin’

(Ya gettin’ in my waaayy)

Gettin’ in the way of what I’m feelin’

(You betta’ back doownn)

This song came to mind while I was thinking about a director’s involvement in the theater. I posed the question some time ago as to what is a director? I still haven’t gotten any responses but I thought about something in a conversation I had with a friend of mine named Blake. Blake said that a director’s job is to shape the play in a way that allows them to “get out of the way” to give the actors the opportunity to discover their characters openly.

Sounds simple enough right? Do all directors really get out of the way? I’ve worked with all types of directors, those that stack the cast with great actors that one doesn’t need to really “direct” anything, to those directors that are so hands on that it doesn’t allow the play to breathe.

Some directors talk to much, or not enough, some yell and some are really quiet. But all in all, at the end of the day, you have to answer to the director. If the show is flawless, the director receives no praise for it. If the production has problems, it all falls on the shoulders of the director. I can see why some directors are so hands on…but sometimes it can be too extreme.

So I pose the question to you…do directors “get in the way” of an actors process or the plays progression? How does one combat that situation? How can a director be both a collaborator and a director?

I found a blog about this same subject in the Guardian called: Sound and fury, too often signifying no thing. Are we really commenting on the world around us and the play if we tug, pull, prod, manipulate the piece without allowing the actors to participate? Should an actor (designers, playwrights) tell the director to step back?

The stage boss has spoken…leave a thought!

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2 Comments

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  1. I think that the “final product” of a play is the end result of a complex of negotiation between actors, directors, playwrights, etc. Although certain directors or actors may have more power to make decisions about how a play is to be staged, organized, and performed, I think that “creating a play” is above all an interactive process.

  2. thetofuchitlincircuit September 2, 2008 — 9:16 pm

    A play should be a “collaborative process.” However, it’s not always the case. Thanks for posting a response!

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