When setting up and running a theatre company you very quickly have to become a swiss-army-knife of skills! Not only are we Director & Playwright but also producers, van drivers, set constructors, stage managers, morale boosters, itinerary planners… just to name a few!
However in this post we want to chat with you about how we work as a Director/Playwright duo both in and out of the rehearsal room. Below are some snippets from a recent interview where we discuss the challenges, intricacies and benefits of working together:
What’s the most exciting thing about working together?
SUZY: The most interesting thing for me in working so closely with a playwright is that I can be a part of Jenna’s whole process. I love that the play is always evolving throughout rehearsals. It is incredible to see where and how Jenna gets her ideas. The journey from the initial idea to creation seems like magic to me, it’s what inspires me to do my job.
JENNA: Suzy you’re never this nice in person how am I supposed to top that??
SUZY: I wouldn’t get used to it if I were you! We’ll talk about the challenges in a minute and I will let everyone know what a diva you really are!
JENNA: Ok deal. For me I think the best thing is being in the room when Suzy takes the world I made up inside my head and turns it into a reality that’s more wonderful than I could have ever imagined. Handing over your script can be one of the most scary things as a writer, but I trust Suzy completely and always feel lucky to be by her side in rehearsals.
Speaking of rehearsals, how does it work between you once you get into the room with the actors?
JENNA: I think it is really important that there aren’t too many voices clouding the information going to the actors so for the most part Suzy leads the rehearsals.
SUZY: Communication is the key to our relationship. The vision always comes from both of us. Before rehearsals, we try to have a clear understanding of where we want to go with the play and what story we want to tell. Once we are in the room, we are a united front. Like parents, we may have different styles of leadership, but we try to make sure we are trying to get the same thing from the actors. Jen is always pretty patient with trying to let the rest of us figure things out.
JENNA: I try my best but of course I’m not perfect and there are times when I can come in with a conflicting opinion, but this usually only happens if I feel very strongly about something. I also try to put myself in the position of the actors and ask Suzy questions to clarify a direction she is giving or to allow her to elaborate on something further.
SUZY: Yeah, if something doesn’t make sense with my notes, Jenna is really good at understanding my thought process and translating it to the actors. We often ask each other questions within rehearsal in order to provoke a clearer understanding of the direction.
We hope you’ve enjoyed part 1 of our Director/Playwright chat. We’ll be posting more of these as we go but would love to know the kind of questions you might want answers to! Leave us a comment below and we will get you an answer in part 2!