Today we open my debut as a Director & Choreographer and I couldn't be more overcome. (#Alltheemotions) Overcome with joy, deliriousness, anxiety, pride, exhaustion and lots of butterflies (how appropriate!). "Once on this Island" has always been a special show to me since I heard the song "Waiting for Life" on a demo CD I got at Florida Thespian conference in high school. Now, 18 years later...the images I've had in my mind finally take the stage. Grateful.
This show has been trickier than I thought with all the moving pieces, changing characters, freedom to create the world you want but sometimes too many options can bite you in the theatrical butt. As an actor you've got your assignment or track to worry about within a show. The "whole" of the show is also in your brain, but you've got your check list, your props to bring on, your partners to dance with, your marks to hit. But as a Director and Choreographer...the "whole" is your sole responsibility (gulp!). Everyone is turning to you for answers and your first instinct is panic and your brain screams "just make something up, dummy...and SOUND INTELLIGENT for goodness sakes!" But, I soon found out I didn't necessarily need to know the answer at that very moment (unless it was a safety concern). The answers always came after seeing a moment work or not work, seeing a set element come together, a bold choice from an actor or talking with someone on the design team that unintentionally connected dots you needed connected. Collaboration. It's a GORGEOUS thing...especially in theatre.
So, though my palms (and pits) may be sweaty, I can't wait for an audience to see this beautiful story being told by these performers. The fact that this is at my second creative home, the Gainesville Theatre Alliance, is pure icing on a delicious cake. These students are as professional as they come and they've leaped into this material with such joy and heart that I am forever indebted to their courage and talents. The audience. The last piece of the puzzle. The reason "we tell the story."