Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I love doing theatre for young audiences. It has been while since I did it, and this week I had the chance to return to the put-the-show-together-in-a-week process I cut my teeth on several years ago. I directed Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for the summer series at the Stockbridge Theatre. I was reminded of several lessons.

It is not easy to put together a show in a week, but it is possible. Keep it simple and come prepared- that's the key.

Young audiences are great audiences. They challenge you to hold their attention. Keep things clean and clear and active.

Ensemble is so very important. You have to enjoy one another and help one another. Like I said, it is not easy to put together a show in a week, but it is possible. Creativity from the first rehearsal is essential - because by the second rehearsal you have to be solidifying things!

The simplest stories are often the best. Take Alexander and the THNGVBD, based on the wonderful book by Judith Viorst. Everyone in the audience - parents and grandparents and children alike can relate to Alexander and his day. Sincerity is most important ingredient to the book, and to a successful production.

It was refreshing to go through a quick-and-dirty process like this again, and relive some great memories of my past experiences.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Anna and the King of Siam

I finally finished reading it! It did get better in the second half.

What makes it a compelling story is the last chapter: the long-term results of the influence Anna had over the Prince, and ultimately the culture of Siam. I find it interesting that the musical adaptation focuses much more on her relationship with the King, how it changes eventually to a friendship, even hinting at more.

I wanted to read it because I was hoping for some really wonderful descriptive passage about the Palace and the city to inspire me for the design of the show. They were few and far between, since the book is really centered on Anna’s relationships and the social circumstances of the people she meets.

I watched the movie again a few days after finishing the book, and was reminded what a really breathtaking number “Small House of Uncle Thomas” is, and how incredibly amazing Jerome Robbins work is.