The holidays are over, it’s snowing outside, classes are in a week, I’ve got free time and a lot of Arcadia to prepare for. (See Upcoming Work for more info on how and when I’m doing this marvellous play for Rude Mechanicals in April.)
Over the past few hours it has felt like I’ve never actually done homework on a piece. You know, really sitting down and getting into the nooks and crannies before a production. Which isn’t true, of course. I usually really love homework, settling down with some coffee and trawling the internet to fish out some visual vocabulary, some general knowledge. There aren’t too many times where a director is alone with their thoughts. Usually the deadline for a decision is too close. It’s before rehearsal starts the next day, or at the end of the walk down to the front the stage.
I said “usually” so why not this time? Well, Tom Stoppard is king of his own research. More like emperor, czar of research. Paddling along in his footsteps is rather an overwhelming process. But even so I plod along. My production analysis is still only on scene three; my hard drive is full to bursting of architecture, theodolites, book binding art, and classical paintings; and the coffee pot long since ran out. Since when did homework feel like writing a term paper? Albeit, a term paper that you really love to write? I’m losing myself in all the work. It has hours and hours these past few days and I’m nowhere near confident enough to call it done. It’s like I’m living in another universe.
Part of me (the lazy part) wants to scale it back, let the actors do their thing, etc. I have as stage manager, an assistant, a dramatist. I’m in school, I’m no one’s paying me for all of these hours. But that’s not fair. Those people I mentioned have other perspectives, other prerogatives, and it’s my job to add to their knowledge, not to rely on it. And I know it’s not right. If I don’t love this play with more than my heart, but with my brain and my experience and my dedication to it, no one else is going to want to help me bring it to life.