SS2: “Just A Cohort”

“How do we know that any of this matters?”

Henrietta Leavitt, Silent Sky

“Music is a voice, a language, a dramaturgical element.”

Paul James, composer

I haven’t been able to be in rehearsal since the first one, because of my family’s preparations for 22 guests for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It was so nice to return to the Arizona Theatre Company’s stage and artistic process.

This time, I had my worst experience, and as “I am just a cohort”, my opinions here do not have to be taken professionally.

I love observing actors in their element, but this current director Casey Stangl doesn’t seem to know how to give them the space or time to make their process natural. At first, she stayed behind the table without involvement or leadership. She then upped the ante by being too involved in the blocking and the actor’s space. I would say that her directorial style is focused on the character’s background, motivation, and movement, as if she only has a history in being an actor and not a director. She would stop a scene in the middle which distracted the actors from living in the moment, practicing their lines, being real. The movements and the lines and the relationships (that I adored from the first read-through) became robotic. She would get through the scenes so slowly, that she would disrespect the other actors that were waiting to get onstage. For example, Ms. Hines was waiting for over an hour from when she was asked to come for rehearsals. I feel like the director’s constant involvement really stops the actors from being in their scene and outside of their characters. Unfortunately, this lessened the intensity of such beautiful scenes which had so much potential. It felt like the actors were not distracted but full of fear that the director might stop at any time. Obviously, I am very critical of her directorial style.

Positives: She focused on the script’s beats, just as The Royale‘s script focused on rhythm. She would be playful with the script by choosing different places downstage to have different perspectives of this more character-centered.

Thank you for reading. I apologize for my critiques; there aare really for my potential future as a theatre director myself 🙂

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