Love and Drama

That’s right, a special Valentines Day post, from the blog where Cupid only shoots arrows if he’s too far away to use a blade, and doesn’t want anyone to hear gunshots…

That's right, I said my name's Cupid. You got a problem with that?

One of my main hangups in directing or auditioning is always finding material: scenes, monologues, or shows I want to direct or perform. Often the guidelines are (as in the graduate scene study class I’m in now) “just find something you love”.

I think that’s one reason it took me so long to settle on a career path (one I’ve still only begun the journey along); that message from my parents: find a job you love.

Sometimes freedom is a curse.

Here’s the thing: I don’t generally believe in love at first sight. Certainly not love at first reading. First impressions are shallow; okay, that’s got some juicy fight scenes, or some witty dialogue, or is sexy (anthropomorphise at will). But there’s this idea in my head that a true director reads something, falls instantly in love, and has these grand visions of what it should look like when staged. Then they find what they need to realize that vision.

Now I’ve been having pretty good success in my experiments with directing here in grad school thus far (just scenework), as I have in my decade plus of fight directing, but that’s just not how I work. Often I don’t have a choice of scene, I’m working on someone else’s project, and so I can just look at what we’ve got to work with, collaborate with the talent on what their ideas and impulses are, direct that and help inform their choices, then make the technical corrections and tweaks to make it look good, make observations along the way that help steer it in the right direction, until we end with something that works well. But could I have just aimed straight for that same end point from the beginning? No.

So this scene study course has provided some good challenges for me- I ate up the original generic A/B scene I directed; we did great with it, and it worked well with my general approach: Brainstorm, make a few executive decisions, start getting it on its feet, provide ideas for the actors to try and make adjustments to get better performances or make better stories, and viola! Good scene, even though in a genre and with dialogue I would never have chosen on my own- or perhaps because of it. Another course I’m currently in, involving choreography and movement to music, has provided similar semi-structured challenges which generally work with my brain (and make me glad for my childhood musical education!).

On the other hand, the scene study course also requires choosing scenes to direct, picking monologues to workshop, etc. And therein lies the rub. “Just find something you love.” How can I love it if I don’t really know it yet? If I haven’t done anything with it yet?

This is still something I need to reconcile with, and get over. My directing style, as it were, is as much coaching as directing- just with a bit more added authority. I just don’t know how to find and fall in love with material. I need a monologue by next week, and have just gone through two compilations of them, finding two that I suppose could work- but that’s how it tends to go for me, process of elimination. I got great feedback on the scene I just did last week… but I went in to that having very real doubts about my choice of scene, and if I’d be able to really make it work. It was chosen through a mix of process of elimination and consideration of logistics (didn’t think we had the right people in the class to cast some of the others I looked at). Practicality I can do. And in the end, it turned out well.

Still, that doesn’t help me in finding material. I’m trusting myself more to be okay with whatever I do end up picking, but still have a hard time with the choice. In addition to the current coursework concerns, I’d like to direct some stuff next year.

Ultimately there are several ways I could try to resolve this: perhaps I just need to redefine what my expectations are for “Love”, theatrically speaking. Perhaps I need to lower that bar, or open myself to going forward with passing fancy or lust instead of hoping for Twue Wuv (ala Princess Bride).

To be honest, I seem to do best when I have doubts going in. This fits with what I’ve heard from David Leong (department chair and faculty) about how he does best with obstacles, and sometimes isn’t sure what to do without them. The production of Legacy of Light, which opened a week ago at Barkesdale Theatre @ Willow Lawn, was one where I had doubts after the first production meeting. The director wanted it light, no real thought on the audience’s part that the characters are in any danger of actually getting hurt, and yet they’re fighting with deadly weapons… but again, I think it turned out well. As one recent review in the Richmond Times-Dispatch put it, “Kevin Inouye contributes top-notch fight choreography”.

Some of us do best under adversity, perhaps; which is a curse in itself, when you think about it: things can never be both simple and good. But they’ll be interesting, either way.



One Trackback

  1. By Bonzuko » Linky Love on February 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    […] Kevin Inouye Talks Twoo Wuv and Scene Choice Categories: Stage Combat, Theatre Tags: dance, Stage Combat, Theatre Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback […]

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