Captain’s Log 6,100
I really want to direct theatre again. Time is the issue right now. The best thing I ever directed was a version of Peter Pan that I turned into a musical based on the books – not the sanitized Disney movie.
Peter Pan and Tinker Bell. I took the liberty of calling her Tinker Bell as opposed to Tinkerbell. It created some fun moments. The actor playing Peter Pan was very experienced. Tinker Bell, not so much. But both were totally brilliant onstage. Tinker Bell has a voice that is a combo of Celine Dion and Adele. She is absolutely amazing! Peter Pan has the energy and the physicality to handle a role like that.
I also enjoy working with large casts. This show had about 30 people. At least 10 of them were pirates! Ahoy! About 12 of them were under the age of 20.
I have directed small casts and large ones, and I must say the larger casts work better for me. There is something about the sense of community that develops with larger groups of people. The energy runs higher. It’s easier for the actors to navigate problems onstage (and there are always problems). With more people to carry the load, the actors are more relaxed. And a relaxed actor gives a far better performance than someone who is tied up in knots.
Larger casts also afford the luxury of “blending” the weaker players into the mix. In a small cast, a clinker cast member stands out like a sore thumb. I cut my teeth playing “blended” roles. Many times, my character didn’t even have a name. I was either “ensemble,” “angel chorus,” or “neighbor’s children.” Had I been doing Shakespeare, I probably would have been cast as a lady’s maid.
As I got better and more confident, the roles improved……..slowly. I was not offered much, but I kept trying. I never looked at missing a part as a failure. I learned from it every single time. Eventually, the tide turned and I ended up getting more significant roles. Directors started to remember me. That’s how it works.
My musical skills created interesting opportunities for stage work as well. I appeared as a lounge singer, a Victorian lady, a madame, a hippie, a WAC, a hillbilly, a gardener, a prisoner, and…..(my favorite)….a broken record. In that performance, I sat in the bleachers (wearing dramatic black clothing) and made hissing noises. And I was paid quite handsomely for doing it.
Theatre is magic. I enjoy both stage and off-stage work. They both have their own challenges and rewards. Being an actor is FAR easier than directing. A director has everything spinning at once…..schedules, all the actors, budgets, musicians, the tech crew, costumes and make up, the management team from the theatre, etc. When given professional freedom, directing is fun.
I would love to do a big show again. A really nice big show. Thinking about how to make that happen.