Behind the Curtain: The Art of the Theatre Director

It's time for a little public rehearsal/Wikimedia

Ever wonder what a theatre director does?

Oregon Arts Watch invites you to be that fly on the wall as three prominent theater directors work their magic.

Rose Riordan, associate artistic director of Portland Center Stage, Brian Weaver, artistic director of Portland Playhouse, and Jerry Mouawad, co-artistic director of Imago Theatre, will each direct the same scene, a Chuck Mee “love scene,” ¬†with Laura Faye Smith and Sean McGrath. But no peeking: The directors won’t be able to watch each other work (until their stint is finished). After it’s all over, we’ll have the chance to talk about what just happened.

The performance will take place Saturday, October 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Ellyn Bye Studio in the Armory, 128 N.W. 11th Ave. Tickets are $10, plus service charge.

Visit Box Office Tickets for more information. Tickets will be available at the door, too.

One Response.

  1. Sandra Geary says:

    We went to this offering yesterday and were blown away! Wow. Where to start?

    Thanks to Gretchen for her vision that created this unique “performance”.

    This was the most satisfying “show” I’ve seen in a very long time. Something like a cross between voyeurism and improv, or like watching distinguished artists work their magic right up close and personal and…oh, right. That IS what we were doing. Lucky, lucky us. I felt sorry for the billions of people who were not there yesterday!

    There is plenty of admiration and praise for each of the contributors – directors and actors alike. This was a well-chosen cast of characters who brought the perfect blend of unique perspective, experience and talent to the stage. And, as often happens when you get terribly creative people together, these brilliant directors were made more brilliant-looking by coming to the stage in the order that they did. Serendipity…and sublimity!

    I only regret not being a better audience member. I was so enthralled (starstruck) by the talent I witnessed that I’m afraid I was too shy to ask the questions I wanted to ask: 1. Was Laura angry that she had to throw herself repeatedly to the ground (as I would have been, and was for her), and, if so, did that anger linger to inform her performance? 2. How much did the actors talk about what they were about to do before the “show” started? 3. Which of the directors are experienced actors? 4. Have the actors ever felt obligated to follow the direction of directors who they knew were full of baloney? If so, what do you do then? 5. What role does collaboration play in each directors’ style/choices (this was somewhat alluded to by Jerry, and shown somewhat in Rose’s responses to what she saw the actors doing)? 6. What was going through Rose’s mind as she watched the other two directors work?

    Oh, how I wish I could have had an intelligent conversation with all of them, and the other audience members, too!

    Behind the Curtain was a smashing success. I have a renewed respect for the collaboration that directors and actors bring to the development of a play, and my future theater experiences have been wildly enriched. All in all, I am thoroughly in love with this…what would you call it? Director Talk-Back? I don’t know, but I love it, and hope to do it again very soon. Thank you, Oregon ArtsWatch!

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