Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

29 October 2005

Directing Stuff; Hard Times; More Long-term Goals

So the story with Hard Times is that it--well, it has its troubled spots but seems to be appreciated by all who've seen it so far. The show was much better last night than it was on Thursday, the audience was accordingly more receptive and most of them stayed through the whole thing. The lines were down a lot better yesterday, too, and I think the performances are much improved from the terror I was feeling a week ago.
And the important people... that is, those whose opinions I value most in my life really liked the show. Tito truly loved the show; my boss (Bill, the chair of the Department of Theatre) thought the show was wonderful--he went on and on about what a great director I was and picked out his favorite directing moments. My parents and sister also really loved the show. This show really struck a nice chord with them. Aaron and Kim weren't quite so rhapsodic, and Wahima, well, Wahima is the hardest critic I know but they all thought the show was good.

As for me, I'm delighted that people are responding positively to the show. I'm not sure where it puts me. I mean, the show still isn't really my kind of thing. I wish it were shorter, cleaner in places, wish things about some of the performances were different. It's a beautiful show, and I've thought that for some time, but it isn't a show that I would ever choose to do in a million years: not enough cruelty or comedy or straight-talk I suppose, I don't know. Not enough deviance, perhaps, or shocking behavior. I'm not sure what I object to, really, except that maybe the show is just too traditional for me when it comes right down to it. On the other hand, it is nice, finally, to do a show where there is some production value--it was equally satisfying in that respect to do Valparaiso last year, though of course there were things I would change about that show as well. So I guess I continue ambivalent about the show. It seems a small thing to me still, no matter Hard Times' scope and length: it is the space that is small and my work that continues to feel small, even when we sell out, which we have done two nights in a row. And no matter how much Bill says he appreciates me and loves having me at the school and thinks I'm a wonderful director, there is the pesky matter of money and the lack of any permanent standing at the college. I have none and I don't expect to have any in the future. They don't want me there permanently and I what I have to offer is still very limited, I suppose. There is a restlessness in my heart, a longing to do bigger things... I'm not even sure what I mean by that, but I want to be able to innovate, to bring new things to the table, to explore theatrically. I can be counted on as a sturdy director; I can get up a two-and-a-half hour show in five weeks: we all know that now, I guess. I can teach dialects fairly well in that time and engineer and supervise a difficult piece like this one and bring it from an ungovernable mass to a watchable, mostly-interesting show. I'm not sure what more I want but I know I want more. I want to be given more time and more money and a larger pool of actors. Perhaps this is not the place where I will get that, and perhaps it will be a long time before I do, but right now, I think that's my goal with directing.

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Oh, and why is it that a man of whom I am very fond felt the need to say to me... oh never mind. I'm such a Pisces sometimes. It's so funny.
I build up a thing so much in my mind.
Something so small: a little phrase, a drunken statement in the middle of a night can take me far away so easily.
Suddenly, I am ten years ahead, thinking of what I'll be doing then and how fulfilled I could be.
Dreams don't die so easily.
The emptiness that lurks inside of me sometimes yawns wide and I implode a little: fall back onto myself and my heart expands to find that there's not enough room for its new size.