I remember standing outside the Hen & Chickens after Foreseen, trying to screw up the courage to tell the writer of one of the plays I had directed for it, that I was now, (and not in a weird and creepy way), obsessed with it, and her writing. I wanted to work on it, take it further, and more importantly, I wanted to work with her. Why I am I telling you this story? Because it is the heart of the matter.
Art is collaboration, in the broadest most encompassing sense. At least, that is what I firmly believe. It is always about creating an exchange, a dialogue. So when you find fellow artists whose vision or words speak to you in a profound way, you don’t let them disappear from your life without fulfilling some sort of journey with them.
I first came into directing in high school, fellow theatre students and I wrote a play for our end of Civic Studies class project. I co-directed it. And loved it. However, acting was the thing I adored. So that is what I would focus on. (The notion I could practice several different things was foreign to me then.) In university, the Bachelor’s I undertook, though focused on performance, introduced me again to directing, (and so many other wonderful things!), and I realized how much I truly enjoyed it, and well, I wasn’t too shabby either. A few short plays later, I was hooked.
The only downfall was: I was more terrified, shaking nervously in the audience, while watching the plays I had directed, than I ever had been on stage. What if my vision was wrong? If things were lost? If it wasn’t good? A good director is supposed to be able to fix anything, from bad acting to a script so full of holes it could be Swiss cheese. So what if, when given fantastic actors, (I am lucky to never have had less than extraordinary actors to work with), great scripts, and a kick-ass technical and design team, I produced something terrible?
That is me as a director. Full of self-doubt and a sense of impending failure and doom. However, that is who we all are as artists, when we really care. I am also a perfectionist, an explorer, a risk-taker and the director that will spend an hour talking about one specific word. That is also me as a director. I get excited and elated when something comes to life, forms in front of my eyes, a meeting of the minds, a collaboration between writer, actor, designer and director. That is me as a director.
So, about this project. That writer I told you about, we’ve been working together on several different musings and projects since then. A couple months ago she came to me with the pitch for In Souliloquy. And I knew straight-away this was something special. Yes, it would be outside of my comfort zone. My directing skills are honed for the stage, not for film. This project would involve me self-shooting, one of the most terrifying concepts out there. Still, I said yes.
It has been a challenging process so far. We are working with little to no rehearsal time, a very small team, and with the pressure of knowing this needs to be good. Damn good. In Souliloquy is an homage, a celebration of the Bard and his works, and a project very dear to us. We have something to say, and it needs to be said right. So lately, being a director has been more about trust than ever before. I trust that the words speak for themselves. That the actors are talented individuals that will bring their very best and surprise me in ways I never could have imagined. I trust that when it comes to it, it will all come together, somehow. That, is who I am as a director.