Ever looked back on yourself and thought: “How the heck did I choose to wear my hair like that? I hate those clothes! Why, oh why, did I even go out with that guy? Did I really think this essay was good? Uh, oh my god, look what I did there!” I think we all do. We evolve over time, molt fashion and behavioural choices like so much dead skin. We emerge new and fresh. A brand new version of us.
I keep saying that the artist you are talking to is not the artist you met. And I mean met five minutes ago. I tend to kind of live and breath my environment and that has a real effect on me. You have a real effect on me. I change. This can have rather hilarious repercussions. Just recently I attached myself to a project that was going to take quite a few months to get onstage. Like, I mean five months. Five. I knew that by the time that show opened, stuff I had done five months before was stuff I would hate. And, yeah. I did. Ha!
I am talking about this because, as a director, I am contemplating doing a show I directed about twenty years ago and with great success. To this point, I have simply avoided doing any given show for the second time but, now, it’s in my head. I was worried I would be uninspired. Maybe fall back on the same choices. Ugh.
But after thinking about it, I now think that making the same choices is impossible. The world has changed so much. I am so much different than I was then and when I walk into the rehearsal hall, I really do respond with my gut. Direct what I see right now.
But, you say, that might throw a spanner in the works. Don’t you pre-plan everything. Well, I do prepare and always have a fallback that I have thought out. But sometimes it changes literally as I walk in the room. Does that bung things up? Yeah, it does, sometimes. Especially on those times when, as a director, you realize you were doing something wrong and have to backtrack those decisions to clean up your mistakes. That’s about integrity in the work.
But a lot of how you choose to stage a musical number, for example, might be inspired/influenced by something you just read or saw. Now, the reason why I tend to trust my instincts is this: If I am immersed in a show, in its imagery, in its message, in its story, my gut (or my subconscious or whatever you want to call it) rarely fails me. In fact, I sometimes surprise myself.
So, I am looking forward to the possible challenge of directing a show for the second time. The prospect doesn’t scare me like it used to. #onward