What Else Can I Do?
Have you ever felt that no matter how much you rehearse or prepare for a production, you could still use a few extra weeks...or months? Have you ever felt that even though you’ve spent countless hours preparing for your dress rehearsal, the entire evening ends up as a total disaster...only for you to continue repeating to yourself "A bad dress rehearsal means a great production?" I have! So what better way to create a production than to actually live out true-to-life moments on the rehearsal stage?
Delayed entrances to no entrances at all; broken props to missing props; costumes that don't fit that you're just finding out about on the night of the performance; actors who have just taken ill and won't be coming to the performance; actors who completely forgot they were in a production. We have all, at one time or another, experienced these things.
So what are we as directors supposed to do with life's theatrical journeys? We could run out of the theatre screaming at everyone (which helps sometimes), or we could find another profession altogether (and be really unhappy), or we can make the best of them...and go on!
Once I put together a work solely from moments of sheer craziness at rehearsals, moments of ‘I just can't remember what I'm supposed to do," to moments of "What are you thinking, have you even read the script?”
I took all of our mishaps and placed them into one production, a story about a small dysfunctional community theatre which, in the end, discovered the real meaning of Christmas. Not only did it make me feel, when everything kept going wrong, as though I was right on track, I felt as though I was actually making progress with the cast. By the time the actual performance evening rolled around, everyone knew exactly what he or she was supposed to be doing, or did they? The audience was not able to tell what was actually part of the production and what was ad lib. A complete success: People laughed the entire evening, and I watched my life as a director acted out on the stage before me. Things I have actually yelled at cast members made the audience double over in their seats. Yet at the performance's ending, everyone felt the presence of God.
There are many times, especially during the holiday seasons, when we might feel as though our job as a director is so mundane..."yet another production of the Crucifixion or the Nativity." But these events are not to be taken lightly, for if it wasn't for the Nativity or the Crucifixion, we would all be lost. Think out of the box. What happened around those two events that could be expounded upon? Who was there? What can be developed further from the little we do know? Why do we have to compress the entire Nativity events into one 45-minute production?
When you feel as though you have done all you can do, take a few moments to rest, breathe a prayer, and ask God to give you a new idea, something that has never been done before. And he will. Most of all, don't throw in the towel, and don't painstakingly try to figure out what else you can do for Christmas. Take the moments of the season that are real to you, capture them in a production, and allow your most cherished moments of the holidays to speak to your audience.