The Act of Watching Others Act
The cast of “The Whole Shebang” having fun at a dress rehearsal.
I love theatre. I love the thrill of being on stage, the camaraderie, the vulnerability, every single quality that makes an appearance in the presence of theatre. In my spare time, I’m constantly reading plays and memorizing lines. But this semester, I decided to take advantage of Arcadia’s incredible student-run theatre group, Under Siege, and direct a show. The last time I directed a production was back in high school, when my best friend and I co-directed a play about a mustache that tried to take over the world. We had a blast learning and experimenting with our cast, and ever since I had always wanted to give it another try.
As soon as I began my production, I realized directing in college is vastly different than directing in high school. I had prepared myself for the trials and tribulations to come, though you can never truly be prepared for all that life throws at you. My friend, Carri, approached me in the middle of the fall semester with the idea of directing the one-act play, The Whole Shebang. As part of the Under Siege policy, directors are required to direct a one-act play before having the opportunity to direct a full-length production. Without reading the script or giving the opportunity a second thought, I agreed. I knew this decision was bold; I was taking a chance for the first time in a while. After spending every moment of my free time on this production, I can safely say the choice was well worth it.
At the beginning of the journey, I was terrified. I had to assemble a production team of designers for subjects I barely understood myself. Looking back at the start of February, I remember frantically sending e-mail after e-mail to pick the best production team possible; pondering whether we needed a set designer or lighting designer when I had no ideas what those positions really did. I quickly learned how difficult it is to search for someone when you’re not even sure what that someone does. For some reason, I had always seen the tech world as a mysterious, magical place that you needed a VIP invitation to be a part of. My Preview instructor, Professor Siskind, once told us, “You don’t really know how little you know until you start to learn.” Truer words were never said.
Hanging out with the cast and assistant director of “The Whole Shebang.”
This being said, I did my best to prepare for the struggle of the technical aspects of theatre. It was the actual “directing” part that really threw me for a loop. I remember planning the agenda for my first rehearsal and having no idea what we were supposed to do. My assistant director and I would discuss some options and all I could think was, “I guess we could maybe start blocking. Wow, what on earth am I doing? Did I actually sign up for this?” Despite my vast uncertainties and several periods of self-doubt, I was able to turn to some of the wonderful members of our theatre department for advice. I turned to my liaison, Chrissy, who acted as a bridge from Under Siege to our production. After many e-mails, informative conversations, and MANY questions, my mindset began to shift. I was no longer terrified of stepping into a rehearsal space and doing everything wrong. Instead, I began to explore.
Our production for The Whole Shebang, will be performed on Wednesday, March 8 and Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Castle Mirror Room. Admission is free and we would love to have everyone share in the final product of this incredible journey!