September 4, 2008
Today was the opening night of The Fantasticks, the show that I applied to direct. I went see it last night at the free preview. Now what to say about that? If I hadn’t been involved with it I’d probably say it was a great production. The cast was excellent. The girl who played Louisa is a go to belter (with a lovely voice) who I found surprisingly good with the operatic notes that she was required to sing. She was also really charming in a role that can easily be annoyingly fake. So all star cast to her. The rest of the show was populated by talents as well.
My problem was that the show was largely a rip off of the original production. I sent so much time thinking about how to make it inovative (particuarly the production design) that I found the choices (or anti-choices) to be pretty lazy. I’m struggling to come up with anything that was not found in the stage directions that didn’t deal with addressing the larger space and taking out the need for a trap door. I guess the only thing was the actors came through the audience about 4 times (not bad because it was used to represent a journey …most of the time. Other wise pretty verbatim from the script and the costuming as well was a copy of the NY production. That’s just boring to me. If it was me I’d want more of my touch on the piece. I doesn’t matter really to the audience who likely is not familiar with the original production, so its a good production that likely will not be criticized. But the committee who selected the directors picked her over me. My proposal was like 12 pages long describing my plan… but hers could be summed up as “I’ll do just what it says in the script.” Whatever. I don’t have enough experience.
I sent another terse email last week asking about how they were going to be providing me with experience that was promised. I wasn’t answered (surprise, surprise.) The ED came up to me and said “we were so busy with Guys and Dolls” (the show that’s been over for about a month) “and we’re still looking for a director for Crimes of the Heart “… blah blah blah, “I promise I’m not ignoring you” (right!)
I don’t know what to think really. They are happy to take my help to stuff envelopes and build set and house manage and run crew but they stone wall me on the things that I really want to do. I guess that’s why some people start their own theater companies. Three more weeks and then I think I’ll go to the board and see what they have to say. It makes me want to hit someone.