I don’t know why this is–let’s blame it on the path that led to me directing: years of being a bad ballet dancer, followed by the years of being an insecure actor–but I have never been very good about demanding resources.
I’m demand a lot of my actors, I’m great at demanding a lot of myself, but demanding a stage manager? A real set? Demanding tech? Forget it. There seems to be a part of myself that is so sure that I don’t deserve it, or that refuses to believe that I can insist on it. Plus, I don’t have much talent or training in it, so it feels kind of out of my reach.
Which means that I usually dress the odd spaces I end up in, and have very prop-heavy shows, and do a lot of it myself, or put it on the actors. And I make the excuse, “hey, it’s poor theater.” I’m not so special in this regard–a lot of smaller theaters do this–but I don’t know anyone who feels as unentitled to tech as I feel.
So I want to appreciate this moment. For once, I insisted that we have a real stage manager for this show–and the brilliant Sarah Elovich appeared and took over. I strong armed a friend of Alexis into running tech and then into being production manager. Mike Howard. He is doing such a great job.
My old friend Adrian W. Jones, an outstanding set designer, agreed to come out from New York on his own dime to design CLOWN BIBLE. Through him, we found a lighting designer (Ray Oppenheimer, yo yo!), and a set builder. He pushed for a costume designer, and the talented and lovely Melissa Bertolino appeared, as if sent by an angel.
I don’t have to do everything. It’s fantastic. And it’s surprisingly not costing me that much.
Don’t get me wrong. We’re moving from a 99-cent show to a dollar-fifty show. It’s still minimal, it’s still low budget, and the success or failure of it will still depend entirely on the actors and the beauty of liveness. It requires a lot of very talented people working for way less than they deserve. We’re a week-and-a-half away. I’m wracked with the usual anxiety.
But wow–what a big difference to have these things. It all comes from having a higher set of standards of what we are entitled to. My minimum standards for putting on a show is way way lower than Adrian’s–and it’s too low for me, frankly. Thank God he’s here, with his higher minimum standard.