Are you directing from your ego?
Directors Are Leaders.
With each show I direct, I learn more and more about the beauty of collaboration. It's dependent on a number of things and each experience is different. Here's what I've learned so far.
To allow your cast to have a voice you must know exactly what you want from the project. What is the framework everyone must work in? You must understand the characters, story, production, blocking, design - you can't make it up as you go along.
Choices, challenges and compromises are inevitable. In order to make choices that do not compromise the integrity of your vision, you must know what you want. See how it works?
I go into a project with the show blocked. I know what the show looks like in my head before we begin but once I begin rehearsing with the actors, I have to be fluid and open to any changes that the development of their characters bring.⠀
The quality and quantity of collaboration, depends on the actors' levels of technique and skill, making each project unique. You spend the first few weeks figuring out each actor's process and developing the culture of the team. Experienced actors may be open to high levels of collaboration whilst new actors will rely on you for everything from stage technique to encouragement that they're not going to walk on stage and throw up.
Know when to say 'no'. This goes along with my final lesson. Leave your ego at the door. This is why Directors are Leaders. You have to be emotionally mature enough to allow others to have their say without feeling challenged. If you behave as if the project is a reflection of your self worth, you're doing it wrong, my friend. In community theatre, you are working with a variety of skill levels and understandings of theatre.
You won't ever get the best out of people by yelling, belittling and embarrassing them. I have found that community theatre achieves great things when the director can work to the strengths of the cast rather than being inflexible and desperately trying to make the cast fit a profile beyond their skills.
Check out Brene Brown’s book, Dare to Lead. I've got it on repeat on Audible as I challenge myself to be a better director.
Sherryl-Lee Secomb is the creator of An Idiot On Stage.
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