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Listen: Director K. Elizabeth Stevens on "Collaborative Theater Making"

Liz Stevens Second Tuesday

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Earlier this week, Associate Professor of Acting and Directing K. Elizabeth Stevens delivered her lecture "Collaborative Theater Making" as part of the Aydelotte Foundation's Second Tuesday Arts & Humanities Cafe series. In her lecture, she discusses the role of the director from a play's conception to completion, highlighting the collaborative nature of theater. 

At Swarthmore, Stevens has directed Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Witold Gombrowicz’s Ivona Princess of Burgundia, Jonathan Franzen’s new translation of Wedekind’s Spring Awakening, Franz Xaver Kroetz's Through the Leaves, and The Royal Singer, an original opera for children by Professors Thomas Whitman and Nathalie Anderson.

Sponsored by the Aydelotte Foundation, the Second Tuesday Arts & Humanities Cafes are a monthly series that highlight the intellectual relevance of humanities approaches to arts and culture. Topics have ranged from visual narratives in Japan to reflections on life and death in South Indian religions and current intersections of theater, dance, and music performance in the United States. Events are geared for individuals with no formal background in the arts and humanities. The only requirement is curiosity.

Audio Transcript

Speaker 1: So, this is what I'm going to talk about. I'm going to reveal all of the secrets. So something that happens to me all the time is that people ask me what the heck a director does. Seems like they take all of the blame if something goes wrong, and they don't get a lot of credit if people are amazing or the design looks great. It's a weird, subtle thing, one that's very interesting to talk about. Peter Brook, who is probably the most famous living director, who's directed hundreds of plays, says that you become a director by calling yourself a director and you then persuade other people that this is true. So that's kind of all you really have to do. And then you have to get some other people to work for you, I suppose.

Here are some descriptions of what directors do. So the director Harold Clurman, famous in theater and film, wrote a book called On Directing, and in the book he says, "Direction is a job, a craft, a profession, and at best, an art. A director must be an organizer, a teacher, a politician, a psychic detective, a lay analyst, a technician, a creative being." This was written a while ago so he's gonna use, well I'll just switch it up. "Ideally, she should know literature, drama, acting, the psychology of the actor, the visual arts, music, history, and above all, she must understand people. She must inspire confidence, all of which means she must be a great lover." Which is in quotes. So there's that.

There's a book of interviews with directors called In Conversation with the Gods, so we are sort of self-aggrandizing bunch, I guess, in which the contributors describe directing as cooking, shopping, deciphering, conducting, cultivating bacteria, giving birth, and tossing salads. SO there it is. But we all agree that what we do is make live performance, unless we're film directors, of course. So there's a difference in the work that we do between making film and making live performance. Much is the same, but these are sort of some main differences.

As opposed to film, where there's a camera angle, and there's a tight control over what you see, there's no way to do that in a theater. So in many ways, it's multiple. It's multiple points of view, hopefully both thematically and visually. So you could look at me, you could look at this, I can't do anything about that. It's dialogic and therefore political, and this is definitely also the case with film often, if it has dialogue. So if it's done well, it presents more than one point of view, usually intention, and therefore doesn't make a strong statement that it wants you to agree with, but invites you to contemplate something.

Tony Morrison says, "I always took it for granted that the best art was political and was revolutionary. It doesn't mean that art has an agenda or politics to argue, it means the questions being raised for explorations into kinds of anarchy, kinds of change, identifying errors, flaws, vulnerabilities, and systems." So this makes me think of the play Antigone, if you know it, it's one of the very seminal, political piece. In which really Antigone wins the moral day, but you could look at it in other ways. [inaudible 00:03:43] also has a point, I suppose. It's a [inaudible 00:03:45], obviously. It doesn't really leave anything behind, besides memories and crappy video, which is kind of sad but also a beautiful thing. So we don't make junk that sits around and embarrasses us later. Just embarrasses us in the moment, maybe.

It's context-less, by which I mean, film always exists in a context. But theater cannot be explicit about its surroundings very often, because it's in one room and we have limited means. So in other words, if a film is to take place in New York, usually there will be parts of New York, it will actually take place in New York, or they'll make it look exactly like it does. In theater, all we have to do is say, "Okay, so now we're in New York." And we'll go along with that. So that's the magical, interesting thing. Kind of context-less thing. It's necessarily incomplete, and therefore, necessarily metaphoric, in many ways. And going along with that, I wrote gutter-ridden, because I thought that would be a provocative thing to write.

So I don't know how many of you are familiar with the comic book artist Scott McCloud, who's written a genius book about comics called Understanding Comics. One of his main points about comics and what's special about them is that a lot of the action takes place in what he calls the gutters, so the space in between the panels. Which means that we fill in a lot of that works, a fair amount of it is our shared creation. And that happens in the theater as well. It's in fact ... I teach Understanding Comics when I teach directing. So there's that.

We get to choose what we want to work on, usually. I mean a director is more likely to choose than an actor. And each project is different. There isn't really a protocol. Some projects have one or two actors, some are huge musicals ... There's not one set of techniques that we use to make things. So that's terrifying and kind of exhilarating. How do we pick material? Say that you start with something that stops you. I'm borrowing that phrase from the director Anne Bogart, who wrote a book called A Director Prepares among others, and she runs the City Company in New York, and she talks about art that stops you in your tracks as opposed to art that moves you, which she says maybe isn't art, like propaganda or pornography or something, something that makes you want to go do something, advertising. Whereas a piece of art stops you and asks you to contemplate the power and the mystery of it. Often we directors find texts, play texts, that do that to us. Sometimes we work with devised work, which I'll talk about later. But we want to recognize that kind of material.

She also has this great anecdote ... It's not really, it's like a metaphor, about music, where there's a difference between listening to a singer who wants you to listen to them singing, versus a singer who wants you to listen to the song. And she says there's difference between listen to me and listen to this. And so, because theater, it's spread out among so many people ... And the control that the director has is, it can be substantial but it's not complete, because obviously we're not up there. Performers are up there, it's in their hands, a little bit. So we kind of have to move from a listen to this, because if we come from listen to me, we'll just inevitably not be in control and be frustrated.

So once you find the material, you catch a kind of a formless hunch, which is another piece of language that I borrowed from Peter Brook. He says, "When I begin to work on a play, I start with a deep, formless hunch, which is like a smell, a color, a shadow. That's the basis of my job, my role. That's my preparation for rehearsals with any play I do. There's a formless hunch that is my relationship with the play. It's my conviction that the play must be done today, and without that conviction I can't do it. I have no technique. Now, preparing means going towards that idea. I start making a set, destroying it, making it, destroying it, working it up. What kind of costumes, what kind of colors. All of those are languages for making that hunch a little more complete. Until gradually, out of this comes the form. A form that must be modified and put to the test, but nevertheless, it's a form that's emerging."

So we don't read a play, usually, and know exactly what we want it to look like. We read a play, it stops us in our tracks, and we get this kind of formless hunch about it. If we're doing text that's already written, if we're doing a play that's already written, there is a kind of a protocol that most directors follow in terms of text analysis and text work, but I won't bore you with all of the details right now, but it involves many, many, many, many, many readings of the play, and pulling out all kinds of facts and inferences, and we break it down into beats, into the smallest dramatic action, bits of dramatic action. We try to guess about intentions of the characters, things like that. And after we do that text work, we do a kind of a grokking of the play.

Just want to make sure I didn't make a ... Oh, yeah, hey, text work. There it is. Is the next one grokking the play? No, okay. I'm using that work grokking from the ... You guys know that word, right? It's hard to think of a word that didn't come from a science fiction book that means that same thing. We try to get inside of the gestalt of the play, and doing that in a much more intuitive way than that text work. The text work also goes hand-in-hand with research, so we have to do the historical research, we have to know the playwright, we have to know prior productions of the play. Then we do this source work that's like, finding things that feel resonant with the piece, for some reason.

I had a professor who said, "All filings are drawn to the magnet of our preoccupation," which is maybe a elaborate way of saying, if you think about something all the time, and you will if you read a play a million times, then out in the world, you see things all of the time that help illuminate that play. So we look at images, we look at music, we look at film clips, we look at, I mean, sometimes places, sometimes ... Well yeah, I can't think of anything else but there's tons of ways in which we associate other kinds of art and aspects of life to the play.

Sometimes we make mixtapes, I often make a mixtape where I just ... It's not music that's gonna wind up being in the play, usually. It's just music that for some reason feels right with moments of the play or the atmosphere of the play, and then I listen to that all of the time. So I'm doing all this basically by myself, at this point. But soon, these people will join me. So it's a collaborative art, as it said in the talk description. The director works with dramaturg often. And the dramaturg helps with all of that research, including the kind of grokking research. They bring their own point of view. What they do as the process moves on is they're the professional best friend of the director, sort of. They try to get inside of the director's vision, and help the director make that vision more powerful. So instead of saying, oh I don't think that moment's like this, they say, "Okay, I see what you're trying to get at with that moment. Maybe if you try it this way."

If there's a playwright, the dramaturg often is the go-between between the playwright and the director, or helps stand up for the play. Because the directors sometimes like to railroad through. But if the playwright's not there, then nobody stands up for the play, really. We interpret it as we like because it's art. Then we work with the design team. There's a set designer, costume, light, composer, sound designer, sometimes video designer, and the performers, which is ... They're last only because they usually come into the process later. So I'm gonna talk a little bit about set design in some depth, because it's often the place where we start, although usually all the designers meet together first to kind of get a sense of the direction we're gonna go in. So we very rarely talk about, like, okay, living room. Where's the door gonna be? We need a fireplace. We start talking in broader ways about what the world feels like, what it inspires in us terms of images, what we want the relationship with the audience to be to this space, and obviously what it looks like.

But in some ways, that's the obvious thing. There's all kinds of ways the audience can interact with the performers. I'm sure you've seen many of them. Most commonly it's the proscenium. All the audience facing one way, there's a frame, and then there's this stuff. But sometimes the performers happen right in the middle of all the audience, in around, or sometimes between two banks of audience so that the audience has the experience of looking at the players and looking at the other bank of audience, inevitably. Sometimes things happen all the way around. Sometimes things are ... There's a thrust stage, actually I think I might have ... Yeah. This is just four of the possible configurations. And this is the thrust stage here, so the action comes out a little bit into the audience but not all the way.

And then there's environmental theater. There's a piece called Sleep No More, I don't know if you guys have heard of it or maybe seen it. It's a British company called Punchdrunk, and they've been doing this version of Macbeth forever, really. And it's in a five story hotel, and events just happen around you. You can move wherever you like. So in a sense, the audience ... Everybody gets a different experience of the piece, unless you stand right by someone. And you see partial bits, and you have to fill in all that gutter stuff. And you're sort of ... Yeah, you get to be a spy or a voyeur or something like that. So there's a sense of thinking when we think about place, what the role of the audience is. Yes.

Okay, so. Here are some of the things that I've directed. So this is A Midsummer Night's Dream, which was three years ago. I think. And the set designer and I, Matt Saunders, and we argue about whose idea is what, which is the sign of a good collaboration, like who first had that idea? I'm pretty sure I did. No, I think I did. Not that it matters, but that generally is how you want to be. Wanted it to be outside and I wanted it to be in a place that felt wild but safe. Because often we think about Shakespeare, the Forest of Arden as being a nice little garden, but they actually thought leopards and lions and all kinds of terrifying things were out there. The people of the court were quite daunted by the outside. So I wanted us to go into the woods or into a spot outside, but in a place where we were gonna take care of you. So not left to your own devices, maybe there will be some raccoons, we know they're not leopards. But in a safe space. So we decided to do this wedding tent down in the Crump.

So this is from A Bright Room Called Day. It's what we call a living room play in the sense that the play takes place in somebody's apartment. So unless you're gonna do something kind of auteur with it, you want an apartment. And then there's [inaudible 00:16:41] that takes place in Berlin in 1930's, and there's a sense that the characters are sort of safe, they're sort of insulated from the world outside. The world outside gets bigger and more terrifying and seems to encroach on them, and there's a lot of Hitler in that play. There's a screen behind that window, and it showed all kinds of things, one of which was Hitler.

This is from the opera The Royal Singer. This is a great example of a space that ... So there's limitations to space. So we can't do much to the [Lang 00:17:17] Music Hall, because it's a beautiful music hall. It doesn't have a ton of space for sets or anything like that. And a lot of things happen in there, so we can't build edifices. So what could we do that evoked this land of dolls and this children's opera? Well, we made this huge sphere out of Post-it Notes, and then we illuminated it as a sun or a moon, and that felt like that put us into this other world that was not the music hall. Alright, god, I have so many set design things.

Okay, this is Air Swimming, which was an acting thesis that happened just in February, and it's a true story about two women who were incarcerated their entire lives from when they were 19 until they were in their 70's in a mental institution. So I had the sense that that space was like a ... There was nowhere to hide. Very small, constricting, and you're always facing the other person in there. So I did that in the round, so that the audience was always looking in on the action, and it's a boxing ring. That was my idea for it. It's the size of a boxing ring.

And this is Spring Awakening, and if you know Spring Awakening, then this will be more interesting than if you don't. But it's about coming of age, it's a 1890's play. And it was quite shocking in its time, and the designer, Martha Ginsberg and I, felt like all the interesting and scary things happen in the bathroom in high school. So this is in a bathroom.

Okay, so what do people wear? I mean, who are the people who live in this world, and what do they wear? Are they human beings? Do they have to be more than one character? I'm just pointing out the millions of choices that could be there. Do we see the performer and the character, or do we want the performer to disappear behind the character, et cetera. So this is an example, Laila Swanson designed the costumes for A Midsummer Night's Dream, and they're wearing actual clothes. There were a million possible choices of which clothes was worn, so they're wearing people clothes, but she altered the clothes by putting ... She made a nest for the crown for Titania, Oberon has fur and other natural elements on his clothing so that they feel otherworldly. But they're recognizable as people, in a way. Fairy people. And then we put lights on them because they're fairies.

And this is another example that's little but blurry of an opera I directed called Pelleas and Melisande, which happens in a magical world, and Melisande in particular is kind of an angel or a magical being. So Bjork was the inspiration for her costume, so she's wearing this ... Because Bjork is a magical being, so she's wearing this very crazy hat, and all kinds of flowers and sequins all over her. It's a gown, again it looks like clothes, but it doesn't look like any clothes anybody we know would wear.

Okay, so then we get to this ... There are other ... I should go back. No, I should do this thing where I can make this ... No, I should just ... There are other aspects of design which I'll just quickly touch on because people generally don't understand how effective they are as tools. There's light, which is huge. So light is our only way of directing the eye. And light is also a very powerful way of changing mood and changing temperature in a room. And we don't have a lot of language to talk about light, which is why it's so effective. So there's ways to think about direction. Footlights, for example. Candle lights, top overhead lights, those are all very different feelings. There's big revealing, cold light. There's light where you can't hide. And then there's light that feels like a safe island in darkness.

Another aspect of light that's important is the way it moves rhythmically. Sometimes ... You can think about turning on a light or turning off a light, that's sudden. But also the way clouds move across the sun, you'll notice that everything shifts a little bit when there's a cloud there, and then you realize, oh, was it a cloud? Lights can do things like over a whole minute, close in on a scene. And you won't notice it happening but all of a sudden you feel really intimate with that part of the stage. Things like that.

And then there's sound. Sound's a little more obvious but it can be used in many, many ways, not just underscoring. There's sound effects like crickets. There's weird, symbolic sound effects like heartbeat. The score could either undermine the action, or it could try to intensify the action. There's singing, obviously. And then we think about amplifying and not amplifying voice is very different. I'm glad my voice is amplified today because I'm having some kind of allergy situation but it's much more intimate, actually, to hear my voice, not coming through speakers, but coming through the air towards you. So that can be a choice that you make too.

Okay, so ... Now we get to the part that one normally thinks about a director doing, which is working with actors in rehearsal. So after a lot of these design decisions get made, we get into the room with the actors. And here we want to inspire them. Unlike film where you can get an accidental shot, you can get the perfect tears, you can get the strange ambiguous longing look, and it doesn't have to have anything to do with what the actor's trying to do in the story, it could just be a beautiful accident. But when you're doing theater, it has to be repeatable, which means that the actor has to have a really different relationship to their action. They have to have an ownership of it, they have to have a path back to it. So we work to establish that.

Start with table work, sometimes which is like add textual analysis, re-share all of that information. This is very important to do with Shakespeare, for example. Everybody needs to know what they're saying. That can be a challenge. It can be dangerous, because it can be a way of putting off actually getting up and figuring out what the experience is. And the other danger is, we all figure out what we think it means, and then we get up and show what it means, which is much more like giving a presentation or showing the cadaver of an autopsy than performing a show, where we actually don't care what it means until after we make it. We want to discover the experience. So you can get caught in that little moment.

Usually we do some ensemble training to make chemistry in the cast. I'm sure you've seen the difference between a very tight-knit cast that works well together and one where, even if they're brilliant performers, they haven't quite gelled. So there're ways we try to develop that. Then we do this practical work. Discovering the experience. And often that goes hand-in-hand with blocking, and blocking is definitely, definitely, the director's responsibility. So if you're wondering what should I blame or credit the director for, well thing one is blocking. And by blocking I mean, what are the stage pictures? So what are the pictures you see of the bodies onstage, and how do they move, and does it see organic, or does it seem showy, and is it powerful or not? And even if the director abdicates their responsibility and just leaves it up to the actors, they're to blame for not taking responsibility and curating it.

So here's some examples of staging moments. This is A Bright Room Called Day again. So this is a use of the window. This is the Devil coming in, obviously. Through a window of fire. This is a dance from Air Swimming, I don't know how well you can see it because it's kind of dark, but there it is. So a lot of blocking is trying to look like actual natural human behavior. So this is in that same A Bright Room Called Day moment, and this is just, who's looking at who? Who's standing up? How did they get there? Who's gonna pick up a teacup next? All that stuff. This is a very stylized moment of staging from Ivona, Princess of Burgundia, which I directed a long time ago. Six years. So the positions that they're in, they created those positions from an exercise I gave them. I just did a little bit, and they learned them, and every night, they would hit just that position and hold it for a while. Because it felt right for the action.

Okay. So we do all of this work by asking questions, by giving feedback, side coaching, things like that, and just generally paying attention to what's going on in the room, noticing. We're like professional noticers, really. Keep that, oh, maybe if you try this, that sort of thing. We also have to solve problems. So here's an example of two problems that had to be solved. The top corner is The Medium, which is an opera by Menotti. Here a ghost had to magically appear, we had no way to do that. We didn't even have any backstage place. So we made a screen, and when you light behind the screen, it's a scrim, and a lot of directors use this, a figure appears, and if you light in front of it, the figure disappears. So that was one solution to a problem.

This is from A Midsummer Night's Dream. We didn't have enough actors. We were short actors and we had a bunch of fairies that we needed to have in the play. And we couldn't double cast. So we had one actor play all of the fairies, and then these fairies are little girls' dresses that are lit up underneath on stick with some bells, so she would read the lines, and these would be the fairies. So sometimes, problems are exactly what you want. Suspicion. Alfred Hitchcock.

So we have to pay attention to each little moment and touch it. Because if you don't touch it or make a decision about it, if anything doesn't matter, then it doesn't glow. You can just feel it go slack. And you don't really want anything to go slack. So this is a lovely example of a tiny detail that is crazy powerful. So this is the movie Suspicion by Alfred Hitchcock. There's important information about the milk. Maybe it's poison, maybe it's not, we don't know. He wanted the milk to stand out somehow. And there was nothing he was able to do in terms of the way the actors treated it that would make it special. So he put a little light bulb in it. And now the milk glows. That's a great directorial moment.

Yup. And the last thing besides blocking that you can definitely fault us for is rhythm. Nobody else can watch the rhythm but the director, everybody else is a piece of the rhythm. So that's not just how fast the actors talk to each other, but it's also how the story unfolds in time, and how time itself moves within those episodes of unfolding. And this is from Air Swimming again. So these women are here in this mental institution forever. Between two scenes, twenty-five years is supposed to pass. So how do you do that? I had them very slowly turn that tub over and back. Really slowly. Like, it was five minutes of stage time. And hopefully it didn't bore everybody to death, but it was a solution to making time move, and then we immediately picked it up again in the next moment.

Okay, now devising work. I'm going, kind of go quick. Okay. So now we're onto devising work. So all that stuff is true about working with plays that are already written. Much of it is also true about working with devised work. But, there's no set text, obviously. That's very common way of making work, nowadays. And Elizabeth LeCompte, who's the head of the Wooster Group, which is a famous New York company that does a lot of devised work, has said about it, "I make the frame, you fill the frame." So in many ways, that's what the director does. They set up situations in which the performers can make stuff. And then they recognize what's good, and move from there. These are all little tricks for generating material. You can use anything. You can start with really anything. Texts that aren't plays, newspaper articles, really anything.

And often work with assignments and work generators. Writing assignments is a very common way of doing it. Improvisation, movement assignments. So I have a clip, I hope it works, of a writing assignment. Let's see if I can do this. Okay. Move this guy and this guy. Do that guy. And then do full screen. Alright. So the writing assignment that I gave John Jarboe and Dito van Reigersberg in this, which this play was called My Dinner with Dito, was to write about coming out to their mothers. And they did. We played with the writing, and this was the final result.

Oh wait, how come no sound? Oh, it's on mute right now. No? Okay.

Speaker 2:            Oh wee oh, Jarboe.

Speaker 1:            They are being their mothers right now.

Speaker 2:            I'm sorry?

Speaker 3:            Well if I am not mistaken, that [inaudible 00:32:14].

Speaker 2:            It is, except for the Jarboe part.

Speaker 3:   I've probably known since Dito was about six or so. Yes, but even though I had an inkling early on, he really did not come out to us until about after college. He was in acting school and he called me one night. We had an innocuous conversation about the weather or something. We both hung up and I went to bed. About forty-five minutes later, he called again. And I couldn't hear any words because he was sobbing. And so I didn't know what was wrong exactly but [inaudible 00:33:16]. He ... I said, "You have to take a deep breath and tell me what's wrong." So he said, "Mom, dad, there's something ... There's something ..."

Speaker 2:   John told me when he was 16. I was just driving him home from school like every day, going about 60 miles per hour. By the end of the conversation I was going 90. He said, "Mom, Mom I think I'm ... I think I might be bisexual." Bisexual, I didn't even know he knew that word. Public schools. I knew something was up. He'd been treating that boy, [inaudible 00:34:02] like a girl. Calling him all the time, going to the mall together. I said, "John, do not tell your father. Just do not tell your father." Course I went right home and told his father. Tom was furious, I mean, it's just his upbringing. And I said, "Tom, do not let John know that you know. And John, do not let Tom know that you know." I just had to keep the peace, you know.

Speaker 3:    I like you. Let's have a drink. [crosstalk 00:34:38]

Speaker 2:    Like wine.

Speaker 3:    Sure.

Speaker 4:     Chardonnay, ladies?

Speaker 3:    [crosstalk 00:34:46] You know, it's funny. [crosstalk 00:34:56] As I said, [inaudible 00:35:01]. And his acting teacher pointed out that he'd been doing these improvisations, and his acting teacher pointed out that he'd been hiding objects over a series of weeks in different improvisations. His acting teacher pointed this out to him and it's fateful, you know, when someone sees a pattern in you, you say, well I guess I've had enough of this hiding business.

Speaker 2:    Fateful is right. That's why Tom and I were so worried. John, are you gonna have a family? Are you gonna be able to have a family? Or a proper job? It's just a hard life choice.

Speaker 3:   We were best friends and he couldn't tell me.

Speaker 2:    In middle school, he used to give me seven hugs a day. Seven hugs a day. We were so close.

Speaker 1:   [inaudible 00:35:54]

Speaker 2:    (singing)

Speaker 1:  Okay, I'll stop there. So that song is Oh What a Lonely Boy, and they change from being their mothers to being themselves. And hey, they're not lonely, because they have a community. Anyway, that's a piece that came from a writing assignment. I have one ... Am I just ... No, I'm good. I don't want to go too long. This is from Desire, which I directed five or six years ago with a dance company, so a lot of it was movement based. The assignment here was, make a solo where your hand seems to get away from your control. So they each made these little 30 second solos and this is the piece that came out of that.

Oh, thanks. [inaudible 00:36:59]

Speaker 5:  (singing)

Speaker 1:  Okay. I'll just stop it there for time. But that goes on, and it has a metaphoric dramatic function in the play. Hey. Here we are again. Okay. [inaudible 00:39:16]. I'm almost done. So you get a lot of little bits that way. And here are a bunch of little bits from a play. A lot of index cards. And you try to figure out how these index cards go together. So one obvious way is proximity. So you try different orders and see if a connective tissue emerges from that, some kind of an architecture. Headlong Dance Company, which is the dance company that just did that piece you just saw, they have a process called open canvas, where they'll just get up there. You made all the pieces, you can start any piece at any time, you can abandon a piece, you can do a new thing, and maybe there you'd discover a different kind of a structure. The danger with this sort of index card thing, which is a little bit inevitable as a stage, is that it winds up being like a mixtape or something. You're like, I'm in this and then this. And it really wants to feel like one big thing.

So from those index cards, this piece Desire wound up being about the disillusion of a commune. It started as an interest in the Bob Dylan album Desire. I wanted to make a piece about that. And then I added a Richard Brautigan novel called In Watermelon Sugar, and then we got this. The other piece that you saw was a gay satyr, so that was how the structure of that emerged. And this piece, which was called [inaudible 00:40:40] wound up being a museum, a personal museum tour from this character.

So that's how you direct. Used up almost all of the time. Yeah. I guess, I mean ... Does anyone have any questions about directing? Now you can all do it. 

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