Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cooperation by absence

If you want magic, sometimes the best direction is misdirection.

While this may sound like a bit of a pun, it's very appropriate. I'm watching Richard Ziman take a moment out. He sits calmly, thoughtfully in the common room as his two actresses continue to drill each other in the Green Room. The intensity on his face is palpable. I want to talk to him, so I lead with a non-sequitur.

"I'm writing a poem. Give me a word with five letters," I say. Ziman bursts out laughing. Success.

We talk about the process of collaboration and directing in 14/48. "Sometimes the best way to direct is to realize that the actors are perfectly able to solve their problems, and get out of their way" he tells me. "I'll go back in when they need me."

"I've been privileged enough to work with some of the greatest actresses in the country these past two days. Phenomenal." I nod. His luck of drawing nothing but female cast members for his two plays is uncommon, and wasn't even a temptation to the 14/48 gods. He's also had two brilliant plays to work on.

Beyond all the rah-rah-rahness we all have for the stage, there is a legitimate sense that this can be the greatest weekend of an actor's life. Or a director's.

1 comment:

Paul Mullin said...

That Richard Ziman's a smart cookie.