What play are you directing? What it is about?
I'm directing a play called Prom Queen which is a story about a teenager named Jax who experiences rejection and homophobia from his best friend. Despite this, Jax realizes his strength, confidence, and empowerment and celebrates his sexual identity and his ideal of beauty.
What does a typical rehearsal look like?
At the top of every rehearsal, everyone in the room gathers for a moment of centering and focus. We check in with a statement about the day, and we engage in a 10 minute physical and vocal warm-up. So, if the young playwright and dramaturg are in the room, they participate, as well as our amazing stage manager. This way, we're all truly seeing each other as we begin the work each day. All of us are equal collaborators in this space. After our warm-up, we run through the different parts of the play that require our attention that day. As of right now, we are fine tuning each section to make sure that the story is clear...and beautiful!
What it is like to direct a brand new, still-in-progress play? How is it different that working on a more established play?
New play development is one of my favorite processes. It's a chance for actors and the director to converse with and really collaborate with a living, breathing playwright. The work is evolving as we rehearse, so it's a really exciting time for every artist involved, because you're part of a new creation.
What are you learning about directing (or otherwise) in this process?
I'm learning that if we lead with love, we will create beautiful, meaningful theatre. There's a lot of love for each other and for the work in our rehearsal room, but also from PYP and Temple University. When there's that much love, joy, and commitment dedicated to the voices of our young playwrights, we explode the possibilities!
Prom Queen by Lily Rivera is included on Bill One of the 2018 New Voices Workshop Productions beginning October 25th. All performances, running through November 5th, are Pay What You Decide. Reservations are required.