“now this is going to irrirate the hell out of you.”
—michael peaking round for an aside as he moves his rehearsal into the room next to me
“SHOUTING AT HIM LIKE THIS!”
—michael’s direction to an actor, the only part i heard, from the next room ;)
. . . .
ah, the grandness of the mime troupe
there was another collective meeting in progress, again with only michael and velina, bruce, and ellen. i went to check my email when michael came in to use peggy’s computer. he asked what i thought so far, if they were boring me with their political rants, if i was emailing everyone saying, “these guys don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about!” i said it was all good, but that it was still early. “yes, plenty of time to disillusion you.”
i joined them. it was just toward the end, and similar as before- some talk of the play with constant disgressions to the ridiculousness of today’s political world. my kinda people.
sir michael the fantastic- tips on directing
afterward, i spent more extraneous time on the computer (catching up on the news) while michael held a rehearsal of a side project in the kitchen. he came in often to make a few solitaire moves on the computer and he talked to me a lot.
much of it wasn’t so much a discussion as a monologue, one of those monologues that’s got a few lines- mostly a few words of affirmation or inquiry- by another character but which can usually be omitted and the monologue stays in tact. this was, of course, fine by me. i didn’t feel so much as he was dominating, taking away time from something i might say, because i’m not one to make small talk. it seemed to me that he recognized that, as an intern (and one interested in directing, if he read my resume/application), there were certain things i wanted to know. and he told me such things without my asking.
the first time he came in, he had this incredibly stressed out, wide-eyed, almost depraved look on his face. i asked him what was up, after the obligatory “oh my god. you look happy.” he told me about the show he was doing. and then the hassles of directing this particular show.
it’s a cast of 3 people, and i said that i always thought that directing fewer people would be easier. not for him, he said, he prefers bigger casts because he feels he can manipulate the show better. that he aims to make the storyline absolutely clear based just on the visuals, that even if there were no lines the audience would have no problem understanding it. he said that with a big cast, it’s easier to make it absolutely clear who the energy’s on, who’s the most important character in a scene, who the character is as soon as they enter the stage, etc. and that with a smaller cast, those things are almost impossible. energy isn’t as easily dispersed, thus as clear to the audience.
transcending the tunnel vision of esteemed theatre people
it was nice, again he was just so aware of my presence, which is unfortunately rare in such an environment (at least in my experience, which is, actually, decent). heirarchy and one being so new- especially in an intern role- allows the seasoned veteran if you will a considerable amount of tunnel vision- a tunnel in which i exist only for convenience during “work” time.
this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind you. it’s a result of a business which is so demanding, when one’s complete attention and brain power needs to constantly focus on a number of things, often all at once. which is why it’s exceptional when that is transcended. of course it’s different when things are slow, when it’s one-on-one. but michael interacts with me as though it were one-on-one when there’s a roomful of people, an important meeting, a rehearsal which he’s directing.
and even the one-on-one’s with many others are different. i’m always unsure which questions to ask. (i’ve mentioned before, somewhere, that it’s hard to go from small talk to “tell me your life story and your paradigm and perspective and how you think. teach me your ways, o wise one!”) and they always do. it’s often, in initial meetings, them asking about me. me talking about me. them talking about me. with a few asides about something else, perhaps even them. (i had one of these conversations with bruce today, it was our first actual talk.) eventually, i get more comfortable and our dialogue becomes more of just that- dialogue- of what i want it to be, but it always seems like such an effort to get it there. lawdy, i really need to get some better social grace. practice, practice… awkward all the way through, but practice!
and again- with michael i don’t feel the need to do any of that- he either read my mind or assumed i wanted to know certain things at that moment. i didn’t for a second read it as his need to “share his wisdom,” or to get things off his chest, or simply being egocentric. i saw it as his being in tune with me, and vice versa. (for the things i did say, the questions i did ask, were all right-on.)
and that’s how i aspire to be, when i become a ridiculously famous and busy director!