My bogging has been a little blogged down of late, but my excuse is a good one: I’m back in the director’s chair workin’ on a new piece that I wrote for the company as my contribution to this summer’s Write Club. The work my lovely cohorts turned up with was breathtaking (it turns out actors, when pushed, have a natural bent for writing great dialogue), and duly inspired a new and ongoing LSP series of short play productions we’ve titled Riffs. The first series runs November 30 to December 2, details to follow. So, in preparation and inspiration I’ve been seeing tons of theatre around town and re-reading William Ball’s A Sense of Direction, as good a focuser of nervous energy as any book out there, some would agree. It’s too good not to pass on, so, inspired by Ian’s ongoing series of talking points over at Praxis, allow me to share some of the sentences that I’ve been running my turquoise Staedtler Textsurfer Classic over:
Theatre…is expected to reveal Universe.
The most important characteristic of a work of art is unity.
When it is not art, it lacks a sense of the beauty of humankind.
The experience of drama is one of those moments in which a human being sits in awe, wonder, and admiration of something outside of self.
[The actor] is revealer of the universe.
The director is entrusted with the care of these very special creatures. They are unique in society, and most of society does not understand them.
The artist is the conduit by which Universe expresses itself.
It’s important for a director to know when to keep his mouth shut.
Failure is a necessary and important part of the creative process. A director must encourage it and reward it.
A thing becomes beautiful because of the possibility of its absence.
To complain merely gives evidence of amateur status.
A wise director touches.
To interrupt someone who is trying to express himself is unforgivable.
For directors, line readings are forbidden.
…never permit an actor to tell another actor how to do something.
All directors, in my opinion, should have to act.
The best relationship between a pair of onstage lovers is a remote and professional relationship offstage.
If the director does nothing more than continuously ask the actor for his objective, he will have a successful production.
…most actors tend to resist acting.
The first off-book rehearsal is always a disaster.
Very few people can improvise in iambic pentameter.
The purpose of the improvisation is to awaken the actor’s imagination to the total life, the total experience, of the character.
One puts a pebble in an actor’s shoe by asking him to memorize before he understands.
“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”