When I first arrived in Washington, D.C. many years ago as fresh-faced lad freshly graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, one of the first places I was able to feed myself was at Arena Stage reading scripts at $10 a pop for Lloyd Rose and Jerry Manning. Arena Stage is one of the best professional regional theatres in the world — they were one of the first theatres to employ an acting core on a full time basis — and Zelda Fichandler created Arena Stage out of nothing and ran it for 40 years from 1950 to 1990 until she moved to New York University in 1987 to run the graduate school acting program.
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I am not a fan of the One Act Play — even though I’ve written many of them — because I now realize just how ubiquitously they have killed the modern theatre by shaving expectation, shortening audience attention spans and by setting a low-budget watermark for producers and a little-to-none time commitment for directors and actors. One Act Plays are a cheat against the human spirit, as the convenience of mindless television plotting replaces the tension of the live stage performance.
When you interpret a musical drama or a live stage event for the Deaf, you have a tremendous responsibility to be clear and precise while honoring the originating spirit of the base text.
The nature of the producer is to provide money for a creative project and manage the schedule for getting things done. The best producers are invisible. The producer’s essence is felt, but their being fades into the background to support the vision of others.
The nature of the director in any form — movies, television, stage, radio — is to serve the spirit of the script.
A director is not the master of the script — the director must be a slave to the written word in order to understand the greater purpose of the writing.
Many directors believe they are co-authors of a work and that is wrong.
Weak authors create strong directors and that wrongful power dyad is always terrible for the script.
A script is not a blueprint or an architectural dream.
A script is the bones, sinew, muscle, heart and being of any project.
For anyone other than the author to change the work in situ or to re-arrange established ideas on the page is to threaten the very core of the project that risks creating the common and the ordinary failure that reeks in the marketplace and is immediately forgotten by those in the audience who writhe and yearn for meaning in their escape into entertainment.
Do you protect your good name and your credit from criminal elements?
The Jena 6 happening brought nooses back to the mainstream mindset and we now seem to be in the midst of a media frenzy where nooses are seen everywhere and people are put on edge just waiting to be insulted by a length of knotted rope so they can express their indignant outrage.