Friday, September 20, 2019

CURMUDGUCATION: Why Directing Community Theater Is Like Teaching

CURMUDGUCATION: Why Directing Community Theater Is Like Teaching

Why Directing Community Theater Is Like Teaching

Readers of this blog generally get a dose of whatever is on my mind, and what's on my mind at the moment is theater. I'm coming down to the wire on one more community theater production; The Music Man opens one week from tomorrow (by all means, feel free to stop by). I've been doing this and school theater for thirty-some years, and yes, it's an awful lot like teaching. Let me count the ways.

You Work With What You Get

Big time Broadway directors have it easy. If you decide you want to cast someone who's  5'3" with blue eyes and blond hair with a cleft chin and a baritone voice, plus juggling and tap skills-- for the  chorus--  you can have your pick of twenty such guys. In the community theater world, you tend to get what you get, and your challenge is to figure out how you  make a show out of that. Not that I don't get plenty of great performers, and not that I haven't had the opportunity to pick and choose from several prospects for a part. But there's a tricky line to tread; on the one hand, you have to have a vision going into auditions, but on the other hand, you cant hold so tightly to it that you can't get the show cast at all.

It's like a classroom. You can curse your fate every day that you don't have a room full of enthusiastic readers with a good grasp of writing basics, or you can just accept that your students are who they are. You may have your favorite Ron Swanson quote, and at my house, we do, too. There's an episode  in which Ron is telling a story about a getting shot in the foot with a nail gun. Leslie's exclaims, "You only have nine toes?!" And Ron replies, "I have the toes I have." That's pretty much it.

Adaptability Is Not Only Necessary But Rewarding

Broadways shows are mostly written for lots of men. Community (and high school) theater tends to CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Why Directing Community Theater Is Like Teaching