Monday, June 12, 2017

The Importance of Playwrights: The Two Minds of Mr. Coffan

I know I have mentioned this before, but I am extremely thankful that I had Hannah as my playwright. I consider myself lucky to have been provided a script which had a clear story and was extremely manageable to put up in the lab theatre by having a small cast, little set, and no scene changes. When Hannah needed to go home, I found it hard at first to collect some of my thoughts for the characters. There were questions that I wished I could have asked Hannah about their different qualities and I longed for clarification from her. I knew that I could text or call her if I was in a bind, but I wanted to take in on as a challenge. As a director, we don’t normally get to interact with the playwright that created the work we are trying to produce and we have to let the script speak for itself. I chose to take on this challenge and to create a show out of the resources that I had.  Although it was challenging, it proved to be fruitful. It forced me to dive into the script more than I might have if Hannah had been there. I had to solve problems, critique characters, and search for answers, on my on which was rewarding. 
The best part was when Hannah saw the show for the first time. I am not going to lie, it was a bit nerve wracking because while all of the other playwrights had some say in the matter, she had none upon her absence. And, it was tech week, so there was very little that could have been done if she were to hate the piece. So, there I was, in the back row, wondering what she would think of what I had done with her play. Thankfully, Hannah is a great audience member because she reacts in big ways to whatever is going on, on stage. When it was all finished, she came up to me and gave me a big hug saying, "You get it!" 
I think that is the cool thing about theatre, whether you're director, playwright or audience member, there are these moments where you think, "you get it!" and we are able to share this common experience. That's what makes it special and worth doing. 

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