A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Directing Bard's The Comedy Of Errors - How?
Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Scott Bellis - Director - William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors



My writer friend Les Wiseman for years told me that you write about that which you know. Just this once I feel that by not having any idea about the subject it might help me to elucidate on something that most of us are completely ignorant about. What does a theatrical director do?

The world is divided (not evenly) between people who can read music and those that can’t. I would add the same applies to those who can dance and those who cannot.  A couple of corollaries would be, “How do choreographers choreograph? How do actors remember their lines?" How do they act?

Watching someone play a baroque violin with virtuosity amazes me every time. Once, my granddaughter Lauren, 12 who dances at Arts Umbrella and plays the violin asked me to look at the music during the interval of a baroque concert. She looked at the music by Tarquinio Merula (1594-1665) and floored me when she said,”If I read this as fast as Arthur Neele was playing I would not be able to read it.” That somehow someone from this century could read and connect with someone from the 17th century left me aghast.

I have a similar ignorance on the workings of Artistic Musical Directors (we used to call them conductors). It was only a few years ago that I discovered that in operas you not only had a Musical Director but you also had an Artistic Director who was in charge of the gestures, acting and the approach to the libretto.

When I saw a few close circuit projections at the Vogue (on Granville) I was further amazed to suspect that the Artistic Director of the live opera performance at the Met  could not also direct the  camera work (film like closeups, etc). A third director would have to be involved.

With film I was confused, too. I have seen photographs of American director John Ford (with his tell-tale eye patch) looking through a huge camera. He was not looking through those little cylinders that many directors use. I asked my friend John Lekich (a writer who is an expert on movies and taught drama to a 16-year-old in Richmond, called Scott Bellis) if it was Kosher for the director to look through the cameraman’s Arriflex. His answer was short, “Certainly.” Then I asked him, “What’s the difference between the director of photography, the cinematographer and the chief cameraman?” His reply was almost as short, “All the same guy.”

All the above are a side board menu to prepare us to that question, “What does a theatrical director do?”

My English friend Ian Bateson on Skype from a small town near Manchester told me, “For a theatrical director the stage is his whole frame not like for a film director who sees stuff bordered by the confines of the film camera. What he sees and is in control of is precisely what the audience will see.”

That may sound self-evident but to me it opened my eyes a tad.

Even though the director must steer (we hope in a friendly manner) the choreographer, the fight director, the costume designer, the set designer, the lighting director and the person in charge of the music, the vision of the play, the interpretation of the play, the nuances of the play must all be the territory of the theatrical director. I would want to know if a theatrical director has indeed more on his/her plate than a film director. 

Film directors have editors. Who edits the director? I might guess here that the dramaturg (that in-between diplomat who tries to keep the playwright and the director from having conflicts) would be the oil that keeps the director’s proceedings running smoothly. With Willie dead do you need a dramaturg?  I would not know.

I would want to know how a director who has been and is an actor as Scott Bellis does his job. I have one lovely quote about Bellis from fellow actor Colleen Wheeler. She said,"Scott is a generous man."

My friend Malcolm Parry has often told me of the Privileged View. This is to see something that most people do not regularly see. I have many privileged views under my belt:

I have been in the dressing room (many times) of a strip club, I have been backstage for classical, new music and baroque concerts. I have been backstage for modern dance (with Crystal Pite) and ballet (with Evelyn Hart). I have been in film sets. I have been in the CBC trailer where the director of a Hockey Night in Canada directs (on multiple screens) a game. I have been in the locker room of the Vancouver Canucks.  And most recently I watched Pacific Baroque Orchestra Musical Director Alexander Weimann, direct an unusual rehearsal of Handel's Water Music.I have been alone and alive in the morgue.

But I have never had the privilege of watching a theatrical director direct. I hope the remedy to that one comes soon (hint, hint Mr.Gaze!) The closest I have ever been to that was watching director Peter Jorgensen deal with entries and exits for the 2111 Patrick Street Production of The Light in the Piazza.

Before that ever happens I will attempt to see this coming Saturday (the official opening of  The Comedy of Errors) little hints of the man's presence (director Scott Bellis) that I photographed a couple of weeks ago. 






     

Previous Posts
Princess Hannah & The Princess With The Golden Hai...

Chapeau de Napoléon

The Comedy Of Errors - At The Bottom Of Its Steamp...

Richard A. Mosby & That Very Cool Barack Obama

The Montbretia

Son coeur est un luth suspendu

Taking It Off With No Compunction

That Glamarous Kim

Who Is This?

Balthus Derivations



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2/14/16 - 2/21/16

2/21/16 - 2/28/16

2/28/16 - 3/6/16

3/6/16 - 3/13/16

3/13/16 - 3/20/16

3/20/16 - 3/27/16

3/27/16 - 4/3/16

4/3/16 - 4/10/16

4/10/16 - 4/17/16

4/17/16 - 4/24/16

4/24/16 - 5/1/16

5/1/16 - 5/8/16

5/8/16 - 5/15/16

5/15/16 - 5/22/16

5/22/16 - 5/29/16

5/29/16 - 6/5/16

6/5/16 - 6/12/16

6/12/16 - 6/19/16

6/19/16 - 6/26/16

6/26/16 - 7/3/16

7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16