Letters to Holly

Tuesday, January 27


I walked in the door yesterday, and the phone rang. It was my spring director, preparing me for a great big request. The director of the upcoming play was just ordered by her doctor to avoid stress for two months. The auditions are Thursday. She can't direct. Would I direct the sex farce?

This makes the second time I've been asked to direct since summer. Again, I turned it down. I can't commit to it now. Also, the previous objections remain. No one knows me. I've done three plays. Why would any well-acquainted repertory listen to me? No matter what, this play is going to have issues. It's a wordy script. Lots of back-and-forth and repetition for humor. Whoever directs it has missed out on weeks if not months of preparation. A director shouldn't approach the script as cold as the auditioning actors. They need guidance.

Let me be the diva for a second: They really need me in this play, and I can't do it. I don't know who they can corral into it, and I bet they don't know either. The possibility exists that they will bump this play back to the summer, and use this new downtime to renovate the theatre further. This is probably best for all involved. They could also start the next show's rehearsals earlier and get that play nailed down tight.

I got more details about the Sunday play screw-up. The two onstage actors jumped ahead to the next act and didn't realize it. Two other actors walked onstage -- without cues -- to right the ship. The original actors not only didn't recognize what was happening, but they managed to get the new actors offstage. Somehow they later realized what was happening and returned to the Act One material. The replacement director for this play was brought in to rehearsals with only three weeks til curtain, and she discovered the original director -- wracked by leukemia -- was too distracted to have blocked anything. He was removed from the play after two rehearsals where he passed out multiple times. Like you, I'm much more curious to see a train wreck, and I might go on Sunday.

I did agree to join the spring director's artistic committee to act as a secondary theatre board. It sounds like a small commitment that can build the momentum the theatre needs to get its head together.

Picture of the Day
The secret to House.

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