How Directors Can Get Themselves into My Good Graces

by Jen Huszcza

Hello, I am back for the 16th time blogging for the LAFPI. This is also the last week that I will be blogging for the LAFPI for awhile. I’m taking a break, but don’t worry I have a week of fun planned.

Today, I want to talk about the director/playwright relationship from my point of view as a playwright. I have worked with some great directors as a playwright, performer, and stage direction reader. I have also had the opportunity to witness directors say and do some stupid things.

So today, I am writing about how exactly directors can get themselves into my good graces. By the way, do people say good graces anymore?

So directors, this is how you deal with Playwright Jen:

Chocolates work.

Don’t talk about conflict. That’s sooo high school. Talk about engagement. How do the characters engage each other? How do they engage the audience?

Don’t talk about character growth, character change, character development. Characters are who they are and exist in their moments. Help the actors find their moments. Help the actors look good.

Don’t talk about story. If I wanted to write a story, I would have written story.

Plays don’t have to mean anything. They just have to have a beginning, middle, and end. Plays don’t have to be socially or politically relevant. They don’t have to be funny or sad. They just exist in time.

Don’t whine. Just don’t.

Don’t yell. If you’re yelling, that tells me you’re out of control. I also get annoyed by directorial waves of the arm and smoking indoors.

Don’t use the following adjectives: crazy, wacky, wild, avant garde, strange, weird, and Beckettesque (shivers).

And please don’t call me insane even in fun. I have too much respect for the insane to be in their company.

Don’t change the words unless I say so. I change words. That’s my job.

I will sit in on any rehearsal. Or I won’t. I can’t sit for long periods of time, so I might stand and pace. It doesn’t mean anything.

Use the word mystery. I don’t offer answers or solutions. I like asking questions.

Look for rituals. I like to create rituals. I like to break rituals. Look for patterns and repetitions.

Be meticulous. Be patient. Be prepared.

Make choices.

Think visually and physically.

Finally, play.

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