I am blown away by the progress these young people have made in a short time this week. This is a relief because I was starting to get nervous about the production. I wasn't worried that the students were going to let me down. I was nervous that I was going to let them down. They're depending on me to facilitate a process that will lead them to a successful show. Plus a third of them were away at a theatre conference this week!
Have I taken up too much time on discussion and terminology? No, I don't think so because we've been sharing stories since the start, and we had to build a safe zone as well as an ensemble before we could develop a new work.
Their stories are amazing, but can I provide them with the right feedback? I've always felt like I wasn't a deep enough thinker. Thank goodness this ensemble has the emotional depth to make up for where I lack. Maybe I should share this insecurity with the cast at the next rehearsal because they've been so brave and open with me. (Or now they could just read it in this blog.) I love that we've created a space where we can be honest. I wish I could give you more of an inside look at what happens between us, but once the therapeutic threshold is closed, what's Learned here Leaves here and what's Shared here Stays here. But in the same sense, I don't want to give you any more than what you're going to see in the show because I cherish my sacred time with these young people. Those moments are for us to hold onto.
The students have been asking me from the beginning what this show was going to be. You can read about their confusion in their blogs. But I didn't know exactly what it was going to be myself. I had an idea but nothing has ever been set in stone. For the longest time I was convinced it was going to be a staged reading, but now I'm seeing how uninhibited they are without journals and notes in their hands. We may end up having more of a workshopped piece with sketch and improv elements. I tell the students all the time that I am no expert at improv, but my industry knowledge, education from this university and passion for the art make me more than qualified to stand up there and guide them. This experience has really allowed us all to stretch ourselves. Not only do I have to think as an educator but as a director as well. It's a challenge that excites me and keeps me up late at night rambling in this blog.
How much input do I allow the students to have versus my own input? In the end, it's up to me to make the final and "best" call. But so much of the work we do depends on the ensemble. Tonight was the first night where we truly started to see the shape of something that made sense to us all. The amount of excitement we have for opening night has just sky-rocketed. Now we just have to focus that energy into the new work before the clock runs out.