Tony Award Winning Directors Answered My Questions!

Yesterday I posted that I want to find techniques on how to articulate what I want from an actor without giving them all of the answers.  How do I give them the foundation to allow them to get out of their own way [while they are acting] and essentially do nothing? Ironically, my cousin is studying at a performing arts high school in Gary, Indiana and she had this to say:

Well as you know cuzo I’m a theatre major at Emerson.As a actress, I feel you,the director really can’t get an actor “to being real”.The actor has to do that on their own. They must build their emotions and give up everything that makes them who they are to express the characters true being. All you can do is guide them throughout the process.

I had to go back to The TCC’s mission statement.  Our mission is to create a synergy between the audience and artist by including the audience in the creative process of theater; we want the audience to invest in the essential narrative of who we are as a conservatory. At the root of any theatrical performance is connection to the audience.  How does one gain an audience and keep them coming back to see your work?  This question lies in the relationship between the director and the actor.

Tony Award winning director, Doug Hughes suggests that a director is the voice of the audience.

George C. Wolfe suggests that the director is the “ideal audience.”

Here both men point to their technique as a director; as to the audience.  The Greek root of audience is audi which is to hear.  One of the definitions I found of audience is

a regular public that manifests interest, support, enthusiasm, or the like; [create] a following…

Suggesting that the directors job is likened to an audience, someone who hears the actor and reacts,  gave me a new sense of clarity.  If the actor doesn’t feel connected through the rehearsal process the directors reactions to their process won’t produce the reactions one is looking for.  I must support the actor by listening enthusiastically.  This realization is a kick in the ass for me.  I thought I was a thoughtful director; but really being in tune with the actors is simply supporting them as we both discover the text and ,within that support, garner “realistic” emotions.


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