Well the first week of rehearsals is over. We worked through almost half the play on our feet and by 6pm on Sunday evening my brain was mush. I felt like I had been hit by a freight train. And, I couldn’t quite figure out why I felt so wrecked. Usually if I feel that way after a rehearsal I can pin-point the exact reason why. Maybe it was particularly difficult working on one section or some conflict arose that I needed to deflate. Yesterday, however, there wasn’t one reason that really stuck out. Then I realized, oh, right, I am working on a Brad Fraser play.
Most of the plays I have directed so far have been pretty “naturalistic” or “realistic”. Yes, they have had their challenges but not like this one. In this play the scenes between characters are very much “naturalistic/realistic” but the framework within which these scenes reside is completely stylized. All characters are on stage at all times. The characters who are not immediately involved in the current scene/action are often throwing in lines here and there. These lines represent commentary or inner thoughts or background on events. It is brilliant writing but a mind-boggling problem to solve.
And, I often look at my job as a director as the problem-solver to the play. Like a puzzle. How am I going to fit all the pieces together to create the final product? Some plays are like a 10 piece puzzle where all the pieces easily fit together nicely to create a nice little picture; whereas, some plays are like a 1000 piece puzzle. You throw all the tiny little pieces onto the table and just stare at the gigantic pile. Part of you wants to throw your hands up in the air and say “What the F---?! I am never going to put this all together!” but the other part, the part of you that loves a challenge, digs in and begins to piece it together bit by bit. It may take a lot longer before it actually starts to resemble anything recognizable but in the end you’ll have this magnificent photograph or painting that you can mount and put on your wall. (If you are someone who is so inclined to do so. I tend to think of it like putting needlepoint on my wall. I’ll leave it to my grandmother.)
This play is a 1000 piece puzzle. It’s going to be rough going for awhile putting all the pieces together but once it is finished it is going to be amazing.
Director, “Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love"