Jeffrey Lo is a Filipino-American playwright and director, and the casting director at the soon-to-be Tony Award winning TheatreWorks Silicone Valley! J Lo (as he’s lovingly known by his friends), gives an incredibly detailed, thoughtful, wise interview about how playwriting led him to directing, why we still have a long way to go to achieving equity and inclusion in the theater, the difference in directing new works vs. classical works, and much, much more. If you’re interested in directing, playwriting, acting, or anything else, this is the interview for you!
Congratulations! You’re directing your first show and are probably feeling a little overwhelmed right now — which is totally normal. Whether you are directing at a school or with a community theater, all directors have the same starting point: choosing the show. Selecting the show requires considering many factors, including people, time frame, budget. And then, after the show is chosen, you now have many things to consider before auditions even start, and all of these things can be broken down into two categories: aesthetics and logistics.
As an experienced Actor, Director, Choreographer of many-a-year and stage show for that matter, I’ve utilized the past 5 years in theater as more of a personal mission to learn more about the theater processes and procedures and determine the key components that help a particular show achieve success.
It would seem that within the realm of any individual stage show, it’s the associated stage director that is the single most powerful driving factor to help guide the show to ultimate success. But be not fooled, the director needs a ton of help/support to carry out his/her vision. Let us take a few moments to touch upon some key elements that lead to a highly effective stage director.
In my book, the number one thing that separates good actors from great actors is their ability to hear and respond to feedback. But who is telling artists what they need to hear? There is something amazing that happens when you get cast in a show: you inherit a director.
Suddenly, you have someone to shape your work, and help you see beyond your own limitations. You have a person who is on your side, but is being paid to push you. That person is allowed to question your choices, encourage you to do more and be more, and ask you to reach further inside to make the piece stronger, as a whole. Like a football coach, your director helps you find the plays and puts you in the best position for overall success.
But what about the other ninety percent of your career? All that time when you are trying to get the gig. Ladies and gentlemen —-THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TIME TO ASK FOR FEEDBACK.
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