We had a get-together last night as a cast that started out at Basti’s and ended at the Schwarzes Schaf (a dance club whose name translates, appropriately enough for our plays, to the Black Sheep). Halfway to the club Christina and I realized that it was 2:30am and wondered aloud why we were going out.
“What do you mean? What time do you go out in Pittsburgh?” Even in a relatively quiet-seeming city like Augsburg, it turns out that going out at 2:30 in the morning is pretty standard.
We substituted dancing for sleeping and left sometime before 7am with Basti, who’s become the unofficial chauffeur (and unsung hero) of the group, to pick Mary and Parag up at the Munich airport. Our last two American actors to arrive, they are also the two with the least German, which throws one more challenge at us. In rehearsal tonight (yes they are champions and rehearsed with copious jetlag), working on scene 2 of Wer hat Angst, which is already a monster of a scene, we had our first real case of a non-German speaker responding to lots and lots of German. This was not easy last year for Christina in Unfall, and she only had 10 minutes to worry about, with one actor — at least she always knew that her line was next; Parag has an even harder job, working with six other characters, only one of whom (Christina as Amy) speaks all English.
Nora is very used to directing her own work. I am not at all used to directing mine. I never thought I would like it, but while I still don’t want to make a habit of it, I really enjoy working with the cast of my show.
We write with quite different expectations of our directors. I tend to leave a lot up to the director, never intending to direct it myself. Nora asks me how a certain piece of stage business is supposed to work. “I don’t know,” I say. I don’t think like a director when I write. I don’t write from a visual place.
Nora writes like a director, with specific images in mind. And because she so often directs her own work, it’s as if she writes in a kind of shorthand to herself, knowing that she knows what she meant. This becomes complicated for me to work out sometimes if I’m running a rehearsal on my own for her play.
Co-directing is actually a lot of fun and is working pretty smoothly at the moment. We need to even out the amount of time each of us spends with each play, but when we run rehearsals together, it works well: we are usually on the same page, and can feed off of one another’s ideas.