By Lezley Havard
Directed by Miranda Glen
Starring so-and-so as Paula and whatshisface as Jeff.
I can already see it. The play is officially a go, and I am officially the director! I telephone Andrea right away and tell her that I will indeed not be drowning my sorrows in gin or Friends.
The next day, Monday, I am all set for the director's meeting. It's suffice to say that I am ecstatic, considering what a great play this is, what can be done with it, and the fact that I am actually a director in Theatre Activ.
Skipping merrily to the meeting, I run into Anna, who, with a huge smile on her face, congratulates me. Saying she heard from Andrea of my good fortune, she tells me that she is also auditioning for Theatre Activ, so I will definitely see her around. We exchange hugs, and then I run to the Green Room for the meeting.
I arrive to the meeting at four thirty on the dot. As soon as the last director arrives, we start our meeting. I look around the room, acknowledging and saying hi to the directors that I know. The room is buzzing; I can tell everyone is excited and eager about being a director.
Brent and Niall, our two co-ordinators, start the meeting in a very official manner, stating that they too are excited to co-ordinate Theatre Activ. They tell us that they want the festival to be very group oriented this year. They stressed that, in order to ensure a successful festival, we must all work together. Thinking back on past festivals where directors were getting into fights as to who would get what rehearsal room and such things like that, I was happy that Brent and Niall were into the idea of everyone working together for a strong festival. Even though you want your play to be the best, you also want everyone else's play to shine because, after all, you are all in the festival together. Although things obviously can change and negative feelings can arise, I think we are all starting off on a very enthusiastic and productive foot.
Out of the nine directors, there are three second years including me, whilst the other ones are older. I was also excited, albeit a little nervous, to see that I was the only non-drama major directing.
Everyone had the chance to tell the rest of us what their play is about. Everyone seemed really keen about their scripts. Almost all of the plays sounded really interesting to me, and I was happy to hear that the plays were mostly with small casts (2-5 characters). A smaller cast is always easier to work with, especially in such an intense festival. The only play which exceeded five characters was the French play.
Ah yes, the French play.
Now, as you all know by now, I have absolutely nothing against anything French. In fact, I am a big supporter of French plays. However, the real problem with this play in particular lies with the director. The previous year, she had directed another French play which turned out to be quasi-decent. The only problem was -- she casted herself as the lead. Now, not only is this an extremely vain thing to do, but it is also impractical. It is extremely difficult to properly direct a play when you are playing the lead character.
Considering the flack that the said director received last year, we were all taken aback when she said that she planned to cast herself as the lead again, claiming, basically, that no one else would be good enough or fluent enough in French. Frankly, everyone can see that this is a load of malarkey, as there are plenty of exceptional actors and actresses that have an excellent knowledge of French and some who are francophones themselves.
So, when the French director was explaining her play, she summed it up very briefly, telling us that the title of the play really told you everything. Oh. Then, she went on to say that this play wasn't nearly as good as last year's. She said nothing would ever top it. What?!
Whilst everyone else was raving about their plays and their vision, she was saying that this play wouldn't be as good as last year's. Good God, what a hopeless and unambitious thing to say! Why would you direct a play if you didn't feel passionate about it? Needless to say, I developped a small aversion against her. If there hadn't been eight other excited and enthusiastic directors, she would have drained some of the energy. Luckily, everyone else just sort of shrugged their shoulders and continued chatting excitedly about the festival. I know what they were all thinking (including me): they wanted to work together with all of the directors to make this a fantastic festival... excluding the French director. Although I care if Gordon's or Batman's play is a success, I have already washed my hands of the French play. I'm sorry Madame Director, but attitude like that can end up slaughtering a festival anyway.
After the meeting, I bounced out of the room, practically running up the hill. As soon as I got home, I made a few excerpts of my script that were going to be used for the auditions. The auditions were scheduled to take place the following day, Tuesday, at 11 am.
Oh boy, was I ever excited!
... to be continued...