Panic! in the BlackBox


It was a little more than a week ago ( a week and a day to be precise) when I sat on the floor of my dorm room and read the syllabus from my first Directing class aloud to a couple of fellow students who were also taking the class. A little over a week ago that I sent out a mass text message to my cast of students announcing my rehearsal (I should really start utilizing my e-mail, shouldn't I? ) and went to bed worrying a bit about the difficulty of the coursework ahead of me.
It was exactly a week ago today that I headed to my first ever directing class along with seven of my fellow directors. Upon arriving, we all huddled into our professor's office and began to discuss rehearsals and when we planned to have them, when she, Dr. Haidee Heaton, the teacher of the class, could come in and see them to make sure we weren't completely floundering, and also set the dates upon which they would run. Needless to say, as it often is in the three week portion of the curriculum, there was going little time to process what was going on before it actually happened and that evening after our first discussion, I was holding my first rehearsal.
I'd like to tell you that I was in complete and total control of the situation, that I knew exactly what I wanted from my three actresses and that I had a picture in my head of how I wanted it to run but as I'm sure you can probably predict, I didn't. I set up an ugly couch (really... 70's fashion and floral patterns never should have existed) and a rickety old convertable chair and told my cast to do what felt natural to them and they went from there.
I've experienced a few hiccups along the way- Friday I realized that my blocking (how and where the actors move on the set) wasn't working and had to fix it the following rehearsal, along with how the furniture was configured. I had to basically have my cast start from scratch after four days of rehearsal (which is equivalent to weeks considering our schedule) and began to panic to myself because of the error I had made.
It wasn't until yesterday, the 6th of December, that everything came together within my rehearsal- the blocking was decent, the lines seemed to gel, and the story and the characters came to life. It was the first time that I became genuinely excited about the process, that I didn't just see the flaws within my directing style but also the promise and potential within the story and my cast.
The play that I'm directing is not quite a comedy and not quite a drama- it lies somewhere inbetween. It revolves around three people- or teenagers- Diane (played by soph. Erin Carmody), 15, Jackie (played by freshman Hollyann Lillie), 13, who are sisters and Jessica (played by freshman Meghan Townley), 17, their cousin, who all come from broken homes. Diane was invited out to meet her sister's fiance and feins sickness when confronted with the dinner. From there comes an exploration of the family's crisies and Diane's desperation to keep from repeating their many mistakes.
The actresses that I have cast have gone above and beyond what I expected and I can honestly say that I'm excited about the next few days of rehearsal- I can't wait for everything to come full circle with the lights, sounds, and costumes. I know in the end that the stress that I felt at the beginning (and still do but whatever- it'll happen how it needs to happen) will all be worth it because of the pay off at the end. So, here's to the my first directing experience and my minor panic attack at the beginning- and to hoping that everything goes off without a hitch.

Posted at 11:53 PM by Whitney Colston