Romeo & Juliet Preparation: Music

article-0-11ABA47F000005DC-724_634x926Following two successful Class 12 plays, my colleagues have agreed that I am up to offering more… so this Summer I will be directing Romeo & Juliet, starring (what has ended up being) almost the entirety of our (small) High School. Performances are not until early July, but I am too excited to hold back on preparations and already set design, costume design, and sound design are well on their way – not to mention casting, which was done two months ago!

All preparations are still loose, and open to change as development goes along, but it’s looking like Verona will become London, and the 16th Century will become the 21st. With these adjustments, we are embracing a whole host of challenges, but as usual, I am confident that whatever I throw at my students they will hit it back ten times stronger. Continue reading

Energy Exchange: directing a cast of two

It will be easier today; there will be more people in the audience, and they will give you energy. Eat their energy.

These are the words of encouragement I gave my two students on an irritatingly bright Saturday afternoon in the top floor Eurythmy studio at Rudolf Steiner House on Baker Street. They arrived, as had become their custom, late and tired, their eyes saying more than their words about how wrung out they felt. I gave them the above advice and quietly crossed my fingers, praying it would be true.

They milled around, occasionally helping as my Mum and I tore my bedsheets in half and taped them to the windows in an effort to create some semblance of darkness before 4.20pm when the metaphorical curtain would come up.

Over the previous couple of months, as line learning and punctuality proved a constant struggle, I wondered if I had made the right choice: if a two hander Continue reading

Director’s Note – Constellations, 2017

Written for our work on Constellations, shared March 2017.

Poster Draft 6 2Producing a two-hander is tough.  Producing a two-hander as a pair of High School students is even tougher.  From warming up, to putting the design together, to the intensity of being onstage all day every day because there are no scenes you aren’t in— it is a tall order.  Add to that the difficulty of a play that deals in constant repetition, of characters who change in the flash of a light and the crackle of radio static, and of a story which holds at its heart not one but many brutally honest representations of human relationships, and it’s not difficult to see what a challenge we set for ourselves.

As a teacher this is my second turn at directing a Class 12 play, and in many ways a far more daunting task.  It feels like a second album, or season 2 of a hit TV show: you spend a lot of time wondering if the first time was just a fluke, if you really can do that again, if you can possibly be afforded the tremendous luck of stars aligning so perfectly twice. Continue reading

Director’s Note – Amadeus, 2016

Written for the programme of our 2016 production of Amadeus, shared February 2016.

Amadeus PosterIn exactly two weeks from the moment in which I am writing this, the cast of Amadeus will have just stepped onstage for their final performance.  It is hard not to count the days (the hours!) until that moment: perhaps my students are looking towards it with fear, or happiness, or trepidation, or relief, or even desperation!  It’s hard to tell — though I’d guess at a mix of all five! — but for myself it seems to approach all too quickly and I can feel in the pit of my stomach a great deal of excitement, but also a little sadness.  Because although I have no doubt it will be an extraordinary moment, it will be the end of something even more extraordinary.

Over the past six months I have watched five young people transform themselves into some of the most brilliantly written characters of the twentieth century; I have seen them struggle and triumph; I have witnessed ideas I could never have imagined, made manifest before me; I have heard young voices transformed into Continue reading