What are your assumptions about actors and playwrights? Mine included the following:
- Actors audition for their parts & the best one gets the part
- Actors have some experience or training before they audition
- Actors know to read the play before they show up for meetings
- People who write plays are theatre people
Now imagine how I felt when I learned that none of these were true, and that I was to be the “director” of the ODLG Players’ production of Barry Oshry
's play "What A Way To Make A Living” at our December 12 program meeting. "Deer in the headlights” might capture my first reaction. But that reaction lasted only a moment.
I am after all an accomplished OD practitioner and, if nothing else, I am fast on my feet! My innate curiosity and my enthusiasm for all things related to the theatre really helped me coach the actor out of each of the OD players. The facilitator in me helped build the teamwork needed to pull off a staged reading. And, of course, it helped that I believe in stealing ideas shamelessly --- I have a cousin who directs all the theatre productions at a local high school and loves to brainstorm.
To my delight, I found terrific talent and gusto in each player. I was thrilled to see our normally low-key, level headed OD practitioners discover and project sarcastic, loud, angry, pompous, depressed, robotic, and fearful voices they would never use in their jobs.
And I was not surprised at the casts’ creative ideas for handling tough situations such as missed cues even though they had no training in how to handle them. After all, they are OD professionals!Barbara Bates