Cory, Christina and I are trying to catch up on all the organizational things that need to be done. There’s still loads to do and it’s frustrating, because it feels as though all my experience, when it comes to advertisment and publicity, is of no use here, given that I don’t know the town and the people. Still, it’s good to be here and give advice and suggestions, even when you’re not really helping.
Rehearsals for You Can’t get Lost are going really well and my cast seems to have a lot of fun and there’s a lot of creative energy floating around, which is wonderful.
It’s harder for the cast of my play, because, firstly, they have different work schedules, which makes it harder to find time to rehearse. Secondly, my play has changed and they are having a hard time understanding what is going with the characters and the action in the play. It takes some getting used to. Cory, Christina, Parag and I met earlier today and talked about the play, and I sincerely hope that it has helped and will help the others in future rehearsals.
When I think about how different the rehearsal process and the time in Augsburg has been, I can’t help but smile and shrug and say: It’s good that it’s different. It makes everything even more exciting and interesting. There are some things that worked better in Augsburg, others work much better here in Pittsburgh, and, so far, I have learnt a lot from the rehearsals here in Pittsburgh:
Before, I didn’t know about stage managers and after all the productions in Augsburg, where I had been in charge of everything, and I had been producer, organizer and director (and often actor), I felt that it worked best if one person shaped the rehearsal process and was in charge of everything. However, I didn’t realize that it was never like that. On the contrary: everyone participating in Panoptikum productions has always been very involved in the process, and, even though I had never had professional training before I met Melanie last year, I’ve somehow managed to create an atmosphere during rehearsals, where everyone felt comfortable enough to be creative and innovative. I haven’t been conscious of this until rehearsals started in Pittsburgh. Everything is so professional with stagemanagers, set-, light-, costumedesigners, technicians…there’s someone responsible for props – a real person!!! And this makes everything easier. Still, the rehearsals are not so different from rehearsals at home, and, when I’m asked what makes the rehearsals most effective, I feel that it comes down to the creative energy of the whole group. That means, that, only if everyone is equally involved and on the same page concerning the play and what the group wants to transport to the audience, the whole rehearsal process will end in a successful show. No matter how professional and experienced a director is, if he/she isn’t able to create an atmosphere of creativity and joy, the actors won’t succeed.
At the same time, I know that there have to be frustrating times, where everyone reconsiders their work. We had that time in Germany, and I’m sure everyone remembers well. These times are just as important for the progress, and they make you appreciate the other times even more.
We work with a group of individuals, who all bring their own background to rehearsals, who have personal lives and who are influenced by a variety of experiences in their lives. And you can’t just forget about that during rehearsals. That’s why theater work is closely connected to pedagogy and psychology. And you can never fully control what’s going to happen. That’s what makes it so exciting for me as a director. And that’s why I want to be a director for the rest of my life. As a director I can control the direction of the rehearsals. I can have a vision of what I want to do with the play. I can tell my actors how I see their characters and I can explain why I want what on stage, but I can’t control their thoughts, their feelings and their motives when they act. I can set the tone, I can create an atmosphere that makes them want to experiment on stage, but when opening night aproaches, all I can do is watch. I like being in control. However, being in control, when you never know if you really are, and when you can always lose control, that’s what I love.