The director’s job predominantly, believe it or not, happens before rehearsals begin. If the job is done right then the rehearsals fly by with the majority of control handed over to the company to create the magic that will inevitably end up on the stage. The first and perhaps most difficult job is the rehearsal schedule. This can be the bane of a director’s existence, making you often feel like Sherlock Cumberbatch with numbers and words whizzing around you as you try and make sense of an endless stream of information before formatting it into a neat and accessible PDF file.
But why is it so important, why put ourselves through this painful experience? Can we just ‘go with the flow’ and let the art be organic? Of course you can’t. The trick to being a great director is creating order that feels like chaos. You craft every day so to allow the actors room to explore and play with the text but through a very specific stream of exercises that often seem spontaneous but in fact are per-prepared to help guide the performers without smothering them. You have to make sure they have enough time to learn the songs and dances whilst also allowing time once learnt to explore, and mess up and become stressed all before finding the comfort and ease by the end of the rehearsal period. You must make sure there are breaks at specific points to allow actors to process the work you have been doing, to get fresh air, to switch off and most importantly have a cup of tea! And on top of this, you must do it alone because once in that room, you are the one in complete control, but that, you must hide.
Yes it was hard, it was complex, it was stressful, but now that I am finishing it, it is perhaps the most exciting document I have, because it is the map to the most exciting road trip you will ever go on!