The Play's the Thing

I planned to do two short plays together, both of them based on short stories that have been part of the canon for ten thousand years (approximately).

Because of the imminent arrival of the Beignet, I asked some of my more reliable kids to be co-directors, in case I can't be at a rehearsal on account of I am football-tackling my mother, or something.

It seemed to be going well. For a week or two.

One thing that's become clear to me is that I am a better director than I thought. Because, watching my students direct, I am aware that they have no idea of the subtext of a scene, and that they haven't spent half as much time as I have obsessing over the script, and that maybe they aren't ready for this kind of responsibility. I want to allow them to find their way as directors in a sort of organic way, I guess, but I also want to have a performance that is something slightly more than a crap heap.

I've also become aware of one person in particular, who says s/he wants to be an actress, who is ... just not great. S/He's been in all the plays I've directed, because s/he's reliable and sometimes that is more important than acting talent, if you ask me. I mean, I can pull some emotion out of a kid, but I can't force them to show up for every rehearsal, so I take what I can get and work with it or work around it or just (to quote Tim Gunn) MAKE IT WORK. As many times as I try to explain that the CHARACTERS make the choices and that the ACTORS should not insert themselves into the action (usually to play for laughs, oh and also it is a VERY DRAMATIC PIECE NOT A COMEDY), s/he just does not seem to get it. Or s/he doesn't care, one.

I am just so frustrated with people who tell me with their mouths that they are committed to a project, and then show me with their actions that they frankly couldn't care less. It makes me wonder why I'm spending MY FREE TIME working my own tail off, when I am not even going to be ON THE STAGE, for pete's sake.

In the end, I have to decide where my allegiance lies. Is it more important to respect my students' wishes and present a substandard play? Or do I just cut it so that I don't show something that is sure to be an insult to the author, in particular, and literature itself, in general?

sigh I just don't know.

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