I’ve recently had a delightful experience directing the inaugural production of the Latin/x Youth Theatre Project! Follow Me @TioSam just wrapped-up its Northwest Arkansas tour, and we’ve now been invited to kickoff the Arkansas New Play Festival at TheatreSquared in mid-June. This illuminating and moving play was written by Ashley Edwards, based on the deeply personal and inspiring poetry of local Latino young adults, who were also part of our cast of eleven. It’s been a privilege helping enable their voices to be heard. We’re all hoping these are the first steps of a long collaborative journey together.
At the University of Arkansas, where I head-up the M.F.A. Directing program, the grad directors are preparing their thesis projects: The Glass Menagerie and Life is a Dream. We’ll also be working on Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children this fall. In addition, I’ll be teaching the 3rd year grad actors and playwrights the ever-fun and deliciously challenging, “Creating a One Person Show” class, culminating in public performances in December, and I’ll be directing two of our grad actors and several undergrads in a studio production.
Plays I’m Hankering to Direct:
On my recent can’t-wait-to-dive-in list are the wonderful King Charles III, Outside Mullingar, and The Christians. Please contact me for the longer list and to learn more!
The Assisting World:
I continue to pursue special assistant directing opportunities. In 2015 I was honored to be selected for an Observership with the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, observing Anne Kauffman lead a development workshop of a new play with music by Rachel Bonds. I also observed director Scott Ellis in tech for The Elephant Man, and James Lapine in tech for Act One. I’m remain hungry to grow as a theatre artist, and assisting and observing other master directors create helps me to do so.
About My Directing Style:
I’m a highly collaboratorative director, inspiring the team to play, imagine and create, then working together to refine those ideas. We begin with questions inspired by the script and text: what are we probing about life and humanity? I start with the very personal, encouraging collaborators to similarly make deep connections.
I love high stakes in the theatre. I want to experience raw, intense need, with characters who go all out in pursuit of their objectives. Design-wise, I crave dreamscapes and surprises – how do we create visual and aural poetry?
A Tad Bit More:
I have a knack for finding comedy – even in tragedy.
I approach directing with playful abandon – willing to try anything! (followed by continued exploration and editing)
I’ll always ask for the world, yet I’m pragmatic and OK with “no” (there’s no harm in asking!)
Years of Viewpoints have made me particularly sensitive to movement, actors’ bodies, and physical relationships with each other and the space, and how they reveal story, relationships, and character.
My music experiences (such as piano playing) and Lessac backgrounds have heightened my awareness of textual possibilities. I love helping actors make vibrant, memorable choices.
Ah, One More Thing:
I seek to awaken moments, telling stories that touch hearts and provoke minds.