Chapter 5 The Director
Why the director? Because the product of the director's art is not directly visible, audible, or sensed, it is perhaps the most ambiguous and mysterious in the theatre.
Greek διδάσκαλος (Didaskalos) • Although the development of the director as an independent theatre artist has occurred in the past century, directing has been going on since theatre began. • Greek – teacher • Medeival – master • Task was to pass along the accumulated wisdom and techniques of “correct” performance
This evolution can be divided into three phases. • Teacher-directors, • Realistic directors • Stylizing directors
Playwrights served as directors The French playwright, Actor and “director” Moliere
Actors served as directors David Garrick Edwin Booth Henry Irving English Actor-Manager American Actor-Manager English Actor-Manager 1717-1779 1833-1893 1838-1905
Teacher-directors ... occupied the first phase, transmitted knowledge of the accumulated wisdom of the "correct" performance within a particular convention to others. Moliere and The Comedie Francaise Richard Burbage, The Globe Theatre
Realistic directors ...sought to organize and rehearse a company toward a complex and aesthetically comprehensive theatrical presentation that reflected the diversity and minutia of life.
The first Modern Director Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen1826-1914
Plays were vigorously rehearsed and inspired other “new” directors They also opened the theatre to the myriad possibilities of psychological interpretation, thus making the individual crucial to the analysis and interpretation of plays and increasing the director's creative function substantially.
Andre Antoine in France “The Earth” at Theatre Antoine, 1900
Konstantin Stanislavski in Russia The Seagull at the Moscow Art Theatre1898
Directors who allied themselves with nonrealistic playwrights, however, soon began a third phase, that of the Stylizing directors who aim at the creation of originality, theatricality, and style. Their numbers are still growing.
Unrestrained by verisimilitude, such directors introduced a lyricism and symbolism, an expressive and abstract use of design, explosive theatricality, and intentionally contrived methods of acting that continue to affect drama and theatre profoundly.
Today, the answer to no question is self-evident, no style obligatory, and not interpretation definitive. The director has nearly limitless possibilities.
Functions of the Director • When an independent producer is not involved, the director accepts responsibility for the financial support of the production as THE PRODUCER.
VISION Fundamentally, the director envisions the primary lines of the productions and provides the leadership to realize that vision. The steps necessary to do so divide into two phases.
In the preparatory phase(Before rehearsals begin) THE DIRECTOR... selects the play, formulates the concept for the production, selects designers, guides collaborators in designing the look and sound of the show, and casts the actors.
During the implementation phase much of the director's focus turns to the actors, as he or she stages the movement and positioning of actors and objects, coaches the actors toward effective performances, conducts the pacing of each section of the play, coordinates the designs with the acting and general staging in the final rehearsals, and gives the performance over to those that will present it.
Where do directors come from? • Directors come to the craft of directing in a number of different ways. • Mike Nicholswas an actorand acomedian
Directors entering the profession today have in most cases trained as directors in a conservatory or dramatic graduate program... The Julliard School, NYC
a sound knowledge of theatre history's developments, styles, and masterworks
familiarity with the potentials of technology, design, and theatrical space.
The Director’s Role Communicate a vision for the production
Working with actors Casting Staging Rehearsing Coaching Pacing Laurie Metcalf and Joe Mantello
Notable Directors Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
Konstantin Stanislavski The Lower Depths, 1904
Peter Brook RSC, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1970
Matthew Warchus Boeing, Boeing - 2008
The Producers 2001
Julie Taymor The Lion King The Magic Flute
Joe Mantello Wicked The Santaland Diaries Blackbird