Thursday, October 6th, 2016
Why do the flamboyant, silly moments (like the Chicken Dance/Spaghetti Town) get away with being in a show structured mainly around scaring the audience?
Those moments are really about breaking audience expectations, and playing with the idea that “anything can happen…” violence can only take so many forms before excessive… it can even destroy horror in show. But these moments of craziness can also break the tension. One key element is duration. Has to be in moment where it has time to take too long- where it can break the "comic" timeline and ride into terror. These also can be pressure release moments- if the audience is tense for too long, they can get exhausted. This is something I learned from foreign horror films. American films don’t have as many of these reality-breaking moments. Japanese horror definitely dives more into this stuff. It adds a different kind of danger.
How dark do DP horror shows get “on-average;” do they all tend to include wacky moments or sparks of humor? Or have a few been considerably serious? First starting on horror, yes. Grand-Guignol, straight naturalism were influences. But now it’s less exciting, less unexpected; boring. Slightly has to do with our first question. Also, beauty question from last week; it can come out in humor, or abstraction, or well-arranged moments. DP's show Frankenstein lived in the darkness, the shadows, but they're not the only places that scary things reside.
Specifically regarding horror, how does gender affect the shows DP creates? I try, (and I recognize this is all coming from my very white, cis-gendered middle-aged male perspective), to both write and cast shows with the best actors, regardless of gender. If the person is right for the role, they’re right. It’s like when you read the lame-ass character descriptions many women have been posting today- “beautiful” is not a character attribute- any physical attributes are not character attributes. However, as a director, I am definitely telling a story with the way I cast a show, which I am very aware of. For example, the original casting of this production featured an African American woman as the lead role, and her “nemesis” in the production goes to great lengths of talking about the “darkness in people” and how he tries to “get it out”. In the original production, the lead role was played by a white woman, so this language seemed innocuous. However, when it’s a white man talking about a black woman, it tells a very different story, so I actually began rewriting sections of that character, as I didn’t feel qualified or competent all of a sudden making this show about race. The casting ended up going a different direction, so the point became moot, but it was definitely something I took into consideration. I could definitely see this happening around gender or ability, too.
What is the trickiest part/responsibility/stage of rehearsal for the role of Director?
Honest answer: Scheduling. “Artsy” answer: Petty things. Losing momentum. Energy definitely also goes into shaping feedback per actor- not everybody can take the same note the same way... I tend to give more negative critique typically (although have also received requests for more positive feedback from time to time...) but the form of that feedback varies from person to person.
What does it take to start a theatre company?
“You’d better have a clear idea of what you’re doing differently than everyone else.” Oof. ‘What do you want to do, and why?’ And, time. So much time.
Besides actor availability, how do you decide to structure at what point certain exercises and scenes get worked on? Adjusts per crew, per show. With Senseless, a lot of the show revolves around specific, sharp movements, so the beginning is about staging and as soon as staging is learned, we can move to acting notes. As a director, your need to know when one thing is mastered, so another thing can be added on.
What is the scariest thing that has happened to you?
Aside from a couple situations of physical peril, I often have moments, whenever I'm up too late and turn the lights off, that I'm convinced there's a man with a pig's face waiting for me. I have no idea what that's about.
What is your favorite movie? Finding Nemo, World War Z, The Shining, Audition (Japanese horror film)