My Two Outstanding Directors!
I had been filled with doubts and questions - Is it possible to have 2 directors, one after the other, to direct the same show? Especially a show with heightened emotion and complexity, and in this case where one director is a man and one is a woman? What if one completely overrides the previous work? What happens to the actor?
As actors I'm sure we've all gone through our dose of directors as I have - the crazy ones, the rare professional ones, the ones who seem lost all the time, the ones who take everyone else's ideas and make it their own!
But with To The Death .... I got really, REALLY lucky - not one but two outstanding artists!
When the show was between 10 and 20 minutes long, it was easy to direct myself , one of the reasons being that the play wasn't as complex as it is now. But as David continued to explore the various characters and situations in the protagonists life I realized I needed someone as the external eye, to help and challenge me to make the piece come alive.
Tony Award Winning actress, Trezana Beverley came on board first - The play ran a little over 30 minutes. The rehearsal process was a dream - After such a long time here was a good director I could implicitly trust and before I knew it there was an intimate relationship being formed between actor and director as we went through every nuance and beat of the play together forming a common language, exploring what works and what doesn't till the very end. I kept getting notes after every show! It was so fulfilling.
As all good things come to an end, so did my journey with Trezana! I was devastated and most importantly very concerned of who would come on board next. David and I had discussed that it was best to have a woman direct it. But after Trezana, my standards were so high that I dreaded having someone who would not be as good!
David and I saw numerous resumes, and one day as we were talking about the show and getting ready for the India Tour we suddenly thought of Peter Ratray! Another talented actor (Broadway, TV, Film... the works) and director. I had worked with Peter at the Culture project and wondered if he knew any directors, and he said he'd love to direct it himself. And within moment we had Peter on board!
I have to admit I wondered how things would turn out. Peter had seen the show that Trezana had directed months ago, but it had grown since and was now more than ever a huge challenge for me. I was lucky - my doubts were gone during my first rehearsal with Peter! He brought a whole different energy to the process, but he picked up from where Trezana left off. These two people have never met each other, but their work, though distinct, meshed with one another's. I felt safe again! Peter and I formed our common language and process in no time!
The show has changed a great deal since Peter came on board, but the ground work, the essence of it remains the same!
It is not for nothing that people say - Actors make the best directors!
They really do!
-- Farah Bala