Friday, April 27, 2007

Directing and Writing

Michael Criscuolo interviews Isaac Butler about the process of directing over writing and how, for good or for bad, the script is what's noticed much more than the direction. Very good stuff.

Click here for Part One.

Click here for Part Two.

Matt Johnston also writes about his job as a director here.

Mac Rogers actually describes his observations on how Pete and I work over at Nosedive over here. (Thanks, Mac! Wow, that was really nice of you. We promise not to write on you this time if you pass out at the cast party. Okay, no promises. But we'll really, really, try.)

Mac's description pretty much explains why I don't have a whole lot to contribute. With very rare, very singular exceptions, I write my play (and Pete offers one, maybe two, suggestions on the rough draft) and Pete directs the show (and I offer one, maybe two, suggestions on a scene here and there). I've never had any horror-story experiences like the ones Joshua James has had. It's apparently a bizarre relationship (and one that's not very common in the theatre world, I guess).

In looking at the reviews for Peepshow (and reviews for other shows Nosedive's done) I personally feel a twinge of pride and embarrassment at the numerous references to my name over the names of the cast, crew members and directors. Now, I'm not even remotely complaining that I'm getting praise (and even with bad reviews, I like the sense of accountability, i.e., if someone didn't like the show, it's me that screwed up) but at the same time, I didn't - and don't - want Nosedive Productions and/or Suburban Peepshow to be considered "The Jimmy Comtois Show."

Isaac suggests that reviewers can/should read the scripts in addition to seeing the production, to compare and contrast what's written versus what's seen. For Peepshow, we offered copies of the scripts to "Trailers" and Peepshow to reviewers for this reason.

(Tangentially, now that I think of it, I do wonder if that can be a cause for emphasizing the script. Ah, to hell with it. I won't worry about that. What good is abstract worrying?)

I think that one of the main reasons why directors sometimes only get one-word adjectives attributed to them in reviews (which I think is unfortunate) is because in some cases, if a director does his or her job well, they're invisible (yes, there are exceptions to this): the actors don't look like they've memorized blocking, they look like they're making their own moves. The transitions seem organic. There are choices being made but not "Choices" (i.e., it doesn't look tacked on). The overall look to and style of the show appears as if it was the only way that show could be done.

A really good director will make you see their production and think that that was the only way it could have been staged. This is not unlike film editors: if they're doing their job well, you often don't notice their work.

Or hell, not unlike some writers: if they're doing their job well, you forget that the actors are reciting lines they memorized from a script and think that they're saying their own words.

Anyway, I'm really just rambling and thinking out loud on a rainy Friday afternoon a few hours before my company has its second-to-last show for Suburban Peepshow. Give the above links a read, have a good weekend and I hope to see some of you tonight and tomorrow at the Red Room.

Physically beating Pete Boisvert every time he
dares make a suggestion about changing my work,

James "Evil Tyrant" Comtois

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Cat* said...

oh come ON.... you know we're totally gonna write on him if he passes out...

4:08 PM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

I'm just saying we wait at least 10, 15 minutes after he passes out before doing so.

4:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.