Sunday, September 5, 2010

Director's Lab West 2010

I got through the first day of the Director's Lab West, hosted by Los Angeles Theatre Center in downtown, and thought I'd post a recap of some of the talks & events of the day.  These will be just brief notes, to remember the essence of the events.

The first guest artist to speak with us was Jose Luis Valenzuela.  Jose is the Artistic Director of the Latino Theatre Company, as well as a professor at UCLA.  One topic that came up was the need to hold onto one's integrity as a director.  He told a story about quitting his job at the Taper after directing a production of Bandito, because he felt that the influence of all of the producers pushed him to make changes that led to a product he was unhappy with.  This theme of artistic freedom and the way the theatre organizations can curb it reoccurred through out the day.

Jose also said that the one lesson he hoped every director learned was the importance of figuring out the spine of the play.  This is why you're doing this work, why now, and where you are in your life and/or your career that makes this work you're doing important.

Some other memorable points:

  • Stage the story, stage the action, don't stage the text.
  • The director should be in search of the truth in the play.
  • New York may have made the theatre of the 20th century, but Los Angeles is making the theatre of the 21st century.
  • By allowing people to voice many opinions in the rehearsal process, what you lose in power, you gain in creativity.
  • Regional theatres are no longer serving their communities.
  • At LATC, they are trying to create a new model for building audiences, connecting with smaller companies and finding ways to cross-pollinate and help each other.

"We create magic, onstage, sometimes with nothing."

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