Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

An experiment in alchemy : directing Triumph of Love, The Musical Tomasic, Barbara 2015

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
24-ubc_2015_september_barbara_tomasic.pdf [ 90.44MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 24-1.0166165.json
JSON-LD: 24-1.0166165-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 24-1.0166165-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 24-1.0166165-rdf.json
Turtle: 24-1.0166165-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 24-1.0166165-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 24-1.0166165-source.json
Full Text
24-1.0166165-fulltext.txt
Citation
24-1.0166165.ris

Full Text

       An Experiment in Alchemy Directing Triumph of Love, The Musical by  BARBARA TOMASIC  B.A., The University of British Columbia, 1994  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF   MASTER OF FINE ARTS  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Theatre)   THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  April 2015  ©Barbara Tomasic 2015 !! ii!Abstract An Experiment in Alchemy: Directing Triumph of Love, The Musical explores my directorial practice and the challenges presented in staging Triumph of Love as part of the UBC Department of Theatre and Film’s season at the Frederic Wood Theatre, March 19 – April 4, 2015.  As presented in the following pages my primary objective was to present a wholehearted, entertaining production of this rarely presented musical. My practice explored the process of directing musical theatre by placing equal weight on text, music and movement.  I believe that when all three elements are explored equally in the process of a musical, the alchemy of these three elements can have transformational effect on the audience. I also examined the idea of artistic collaboration within the role of director. In doing this I was able to overcome some of my previous challenges and anxieties and re-discover my strengths and love for the practice of directing theatre.    This thesis includes my director’s preparation of the script, the journal chronicling my production process, production photos and a chapter containing my reflections on the experience in its entirety.       !! iii!Preface This dissertation is an original, unpublished and independent work by the author, Barbara Tomasic. !! iv!Table of Contents  Abstract.....................................................................................................................................iiPreface ...................................................................................................................................iii Table of Contents....................................................................................................................iv List of Figures ........................................................................................................................vi Acknowledgements ...............................................................................................................vii Dedication.............................................................................................................................viii Introduction..............................................................................................................................1 CHAPTER 1:Directorial Analysis...........................................................................................2 Part 1: Initial Response to the Play...................................................................................2 Part 2: The Original Triumph of Love by Marivaux........................................................4 Part 3: Type or Genre of Play...........................................................................................5 Part 4: Style ......................................................................................................................5 Part 5: Musical Style.........................................................................................................5 Part 6: Space .....................................................................................................................7 Part 7: Audience ...............................................................................................................7 Part 8: Given Circumstances of Production......................................................................7 Part 9: Period.....................................................................................................................8 Part 10: Season and Time of Day......................................................................................8 Part 11: Emphatic Element................................................................................................8 Part 12: Theme or Central Idea of the Play.......................................................................9 Part 13: Action of the Play................................................................................................9 Part 14: Metaphor…........................................................................................................11 Part 15: Mood…..............................................................................................................11 Part 16: Character Analysis.............................................................................................12 Part 17: Structural Elements............................................................................................20 Part 18: Directorial Approach.........................................................................................22 Part 19: Design Words....................................................................................................25 Part 20: Audience Orientation.........................................................................................25 Part 21: The World of the Play........................................................................................25 !! v!Part 22: Rules of the World of the Play..........................................................................26 Part 23: Special Problems………………..…………………….......…………………..26  CHAPTER 2: Production Journal..........................................................................................27 CHAPTER 3: Reflections .....................................................................................................56 Bibliography..........................................................................................................................61 Appendices.............................................................................................................................63 Appendix A: Inspiration Board.......................................................................................63 Appendix B: Director’s Program Notes..........................................................................67 Appendix C: Name Meanings and Glossary...................................................................69 !! vi!List of Figures Figure 1: C. Szabo -Corine, Z. Wolfman-Agis, C. Fergusson as Léonide.  Photo credit:   Tim Matheson...................................................................................................................................2 Figure 2: G. Azarbad – Hesione, M. Kennedy – Hermocrates, Z. Wolfman – Agis, C. Fergusson – Léonide, N. Cottell – Dimas, C. Szabo – Corine, C. Wright – Harlequin.  Photo Credit: Laura Carr......................................................................................................................7 Figure 3: The Swing .1767.  Painter: Jean - Honoré Fragonard..............................................11 Figure 4: C. Wright – Harlequin, C. Szabo – Corine.  Photo credit: Laura Carr....................22!Figure 5: Hermocrates Preliminary Design.  Photo credit: Patricia Jansen............................35 Figure 6: Hesione Preliminary Design.  Photo credit: Patricia Jansen...................................35 Figure 7: Agis Preliminary Design.  Photo credit: Patricia Jansen.........................................36 Figure 8: Dimas Preliminary Design.  Photo credit: Patricia Jansen......................................36 Figure 9: Corine Preliminary Design.  Photo credit: Patricia Jansen......................................37 Figure 10: Léonide Preliminary Design.  Photo credit Patricia Jansen...................................37 Figure 11: Harlequin Costume Build.  Photo credit: Barbara Tomasic..................................38  Figure 12: M. Kennedy – Hermocrates, G. Azarbad – Hesione, C. Fergusson – Léonide,   Z. Wolfman – Agis, C. Wright – Harlequin., N. Cottell – Dimas, C. Szabo – Corine. Photo  Credit:  Laura Carr..................................................................................................................60 !! vii!Acknowledgements I am honoured and grateful to the cast of Triumph of Love, whose courage, talent and commitment to their process and production gave it wings. Thank you to Chris King, the  Musical Director – your invaluable love of music, generousity of spirit and understanding of the alchemy of musical theatre.  To Andrew, Patrick, Kate and Patricia for their creativity, patience and hard work.  Thank you to all the students who folded tissue paper, built costumes, hung lights, installed speakers, cable, rose petals and more.  A special thank you to Lynn Burton and Jodi Jacyk for seeing the importance in the details and executing them with such grace. To the stage management team, Becky Fitzpatrick and her angels, Shan, Kaylin and Ryan who kept us on track, on time and nourished with encouragement, snacks and laughter.    For showing me that I am enough and more, thank you to my advisor Professor Stephen Heatley.  Your wisdom, calm guidance and confidence in my process was exactly what I needed.     Thank you to all my teachers over the past two years: Stephen Heatley, Stephen Malloy, Tom Scholte, Kirsty Johnson, John Cooper, Gayle Murphy and Cathy Burnett.  Your support, wisdom and experience have given me the tools to continue with an increased level of confidence, love and respect for the work.    A very special thank you to my dear friends and colleagues who listened to my musings, discoveries, challenges and celebrated my successes: Kristi Bridgwater, Jennifer Bishop, Liz Cooper, Dawn Ewen, Tracey Power, Tess Rafferty, Rebecca Shoichet, Julie Tomaino, and Sylvia Zaradic, Jovanni Sy, Chris MacGregor, Kathy Duborg, and Dennis Gupa.   To my family: There are no words to describe how grateful I am for your love, laughter and support.  Bibiana, Nina, Tom, Roland, Oliver, Anthony, and Peter.  I don’t know how I could have done this without the knowledge that you are always there with me. !! viii!Dedication To my sister Bibiana for her encouragement, love and wisdom.  !! 1!Introduction The Triumph of Love by Pierre de Marivaux was written in 1732. It was adapted into Triumph of Love, The Musical in 1997 by James Magruder with music by Jeffrey Stock and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead and played on Broadway in 1997.  Our production of the musical played at the Frederic Wood Theatre, University of British Columbia and ran March 19 to April 4th, 2015.  The cast featured Ghazal Azarbad, Nathan Cottell, Catherine Fergusson, Matt Kennedy, Cassandra Szabo, Zach Wolfman and Charlotte Wright.  Christopher King was the Musical Director and Orchestra Conductor of this production.  Our Stage Manager was Becky Fitzpatrick who was assisted by Shan Fu, Kaylin Good and Ryan Yee.   The production design team consisted of: Patrick Smith, set design; Patricia Jansen, costume design; Andrew Pye, lighting and Kate DeLorme, sound design. Technical operators were Lauren Stewart, Shota Ebi, Tori Ip and Courtney Verwold. Running crew were Dustin Baranow-Watts, Lizzy Fu, Jessica Lai, Yibo Mu, Bruce Nip, Ivans Zhang, Chantal Rangaley-Davis, Sony Tsai, Linday Yang, and Aya Yuhara.  Contributing greatly to this production were also: Professor Stephen Heatley, directorial advisor; Professor Jacqueline Firkins, costume design advisor; Andy Horka, sound advisor; Professor Robert Gardiner, set and lighting advisor, Gayle Murphy, voice instructor; Marijka Asbeek Brusse, stage management advisor, Lynn Burton, head of props; Jim Fergusson, technical director; Lorraine West, scenic artist; Jodi Jacyk, head of costumes; Amy-Lynn Strilchuk, communications and marketing; Jay Henrickson, production manager and Cameron Cronin, department administrator. !! 2!CHAPTER 1: Directorial Analysis “Love has entered my vocabulary.”  - James Magruder                   Part 1: Initial Response to the Play At the beginning of my directing process I often make a list of initial impressions that "tumble" out of me after reading the play.  I find that they are a great resource to return to in design meetings, character preparation and even during the rehearsals when I am searching for a grounding mechanism.  It is a great way to imagine how I would like the audience to feel when they see the production.  These "tumbles" usually take the form of a page full of scribbles and a board full of pictures.  Figure'1:'C.'Szabo'1'Corine,'Z.'Wolfman'1'Agis,'C.'Fergusson'1'Léonide.'Photo'credit:'Tim'Matheson.'!! 3!Brief Synopsis: Triumph of Love is a chamber musical based on the play by Pierre de Marivaux, about the beautiful and powerful princess Léonide who will stop at nothing to make Agis, sworn to be her mortal enemy, fall madly in love with her.  Agis lives with Hermocrates and Hesione, two famous philosophers, who believe that love is the root of all evil. Léonide along with The Botanicals (Corinne, Harlequin and Dimas) must convince all three that they believe in love in order to claim her prize. • Based on a play by Pierre de Marivaux, French novelist and playwright during the 1720s-1740s.  • Set in Sparta, but characters have French names and sensibilities. • The music is modern, written in the style of Allan Menken, with the style of an adult Disney Musical. • Borrows from the style of Commedia dell'arte, with stock characters, physical comedy and the juxtaposition of intellect and emotion. . Feelings generated after initial reading:  • Pleasure /Joy • Titillation  • Confusion at Léonide's actions Sadness and Pity for Hesione  • Affection for The Botanicals (Corine, Harlequin and Dimas)   Other:  This play is funny and modern. It has the feeling of a traditional Disney story, princess and all, but with a sexy, moral twist.  It is clever and quick, and the text and story need to be clear.  Music is a mix of modern, opera, burlesque, vaudeville and slightly Sondheimesque.   Themes: Heart vs. Head Heaven vs. Earth Royalty vs. Servants (we see the workings of both class systems) Emotions invading the world of intellect. !! 4!Feminism:   Woman discovering her power.  Woman owning her power  Photo preparation: A large part of my initial process is an accumulation of photos.  I use an online app called Pinterest.  Once I have read the play, I start to research ideas or thoughts that arise, either from the script or from my own inspiration of the play.  When I come across a photo or idea that is in line with my inspiration, I “pin” it to the board.  Then, when I am discussing ideas with designers, or I feel stuck with where the play is going or where to begin, I re-visit this page.    Please see Appendix A for photos used as inspiration for the production.   Part 2:The Original Triumph of Love by Marivaux Triumph of Love, The Musical, was based on the original play by Pierre de Marivaux.  In my preparation I decided to read his translation of the play.  He writes a wonderful forward which was not included in the musical translation.   It gave me wonderful insight into his adaptation for the musical.  He stresses that language is to be used as a weapon, a character in its own right, and that all the double entendres are intentional.  He assures the reader that the audience will not dislike the Princess, but will enjoy her deceptions, especially if they believe she loves Agis.  He leaves with the idea that Love is cruel and Love is delightful and leaves both victims and victors in his wake and that Marivaux’s purpose was to delight in the extremes.   Marivaux’s plays and writings have a style that has been referred to as Marivaudage, which refers to a flirtatious bantering tone characteristic of Marivaux's dialogues. It is witty and clever and self-aware and at times abuses metaphor, and delights to turn off a metaphor in an unexpected and bizarre fashion. Sometimes a familiar phrase is used where dignified language would be expected; sometimes the reverse.  Magruder employs this device in his adaptation and other than a few changes in character names, the play and the musical have the same structure and storyline.  However, in the musical, Magruder also makes the decision to let the audience see Léonide’s morality.  In the play, se !! 5!doesn’t reveal that she feels guilty about her manipulations, but in the musical, she sings a song called “What Have I Done” in order to reveal her humanity to the audience.     One of my challenges in reading the play was that I struggled with the ending.  Léonide, a strong and independent female character, seems to sacrifice everything for love.  When I read Magruder’s translation, his preface stressed the importance of the back-story, that Léonide’s crown was given to her based on the fact that her uncle killed Agis’ mother, and I was able to see that instead of sacrificing everything for love, she was making the choice of integrity.  She was returning the throne to its rightful owner, who happened to be the man she loved.   Part 3: Type or Genre of Play Triumph of Love by Marivaux is a comedy, and James Magruder’s musical adaptation is what I would consider a musical farce.  .  The audience is asked to believe in absurd events (i.e. Léonide dressing as a man, and playing 3 different identities), which somehow are overlooked by the characters of the play. ) Disastrous events are avoided by near misses, or the timing of entrances and exits.  It has mistaken identities, laughs at human foibles and ends in a wedding, the traditional characteristics of a comedy  Part 4: Style The play lives in many worlds – it is set in Sparta, but written in the French Style (based on a play by Marivaux). The music and text are modern and current, a bit like a Disney film and like a Disney animated picture, it is symbolic storytelling.  This play also has Commedia dell’arte influences.  The characters are archetypal, and include Harlequin, Columbina, the Lovers, the Magistrate and the Servants.    Part 5: Musical Style Triumph of Love opened on Broadway in 1997, a time when the large Broadway Musical was coming back into style.  Shows like CATS, The Lion King, Rent, Miss Saigon and Phantom of the Opera were all playing at the same time, so Triumph of Love was a completely different style of musical.  It is classified as a chamber musical, due to its small !! 6!cast, and use of close harmonies and complicated orchestral score.  It was scored for an orchestra of 10, one instrument on each part, as opposed to a traditional musical score, which is usually 18-20 players.   Because of the classical subject matter, and the basis of an 18th century play, the music uses many of the similar principles to opera.  In Act 2, there is even an operatic Recitative at the climactic moment where Hermocrates, Hesione and Agis each reveal that they are going to marry Phocion/Aspasie/Cecile (The Princess).  A Recitative is a musical declamation sung in the rhythm of ordinary speech.   The romantic leads both sing tenor and soprano, whereas the older characters sing mezzo and bass.  Stock also makes use of the Leitmotif for many of the characters in the play.  A Leitmotif is also an operatic device.  It is a recurring musical theme, used to reinforce the dramatic action and the psychological state of the characters.  It also reminds the audience of a character or previous event in the play.  For example, whenever Agis appears onstage, the orchestra plays the beginning of his song “Issue in Question”, reminding us that he is still attempting to solve his dilemma.  Once he has solved it, the leitmotif disappears from the score.    The rest of the score is a mix of musical styles including Burlesque, Vaudeville, Sondheim and even some pop influences.  The songs sung by the Botanicals, the 3 “lower” ensemble characters Harlequin, Dimas and Corine are all set in a more contemporary style, as opposed to the operatic or more classical style used by the “higher” characters.    The varying styles are excellent tools for interpretation.  They aid in choreography and movement as well as tracking the emotional journey of the character.    !! 7!Part 6: Space  The theatre we will be presenting in will be the Freddy Wood Theatre at UBC.  It is a traditional proscenium space and we will be using the orchestra pit.  The theatre holds 400 seats, and because of the volume of the orchestra and the small cast we will be using microphones for both singing and speaking.    Part 7: Audience Our anticipated audience will be students and faculty of the University as well as season ticket holders to the Freddy Wood Season.  Ages are varied, from 18-75 and tastes range from liberal to conservative.    Part 8: Given Circumstances of the Production • Student actors, not formally trained in Musical Theatre.   • Some actors are weaker singers and do not read music. Figure'2:'G.'Azarbad'–'Hesione,'M.'Kennedy'–'Hermocrates,'Z.'Wolfman'–'Agis,'C.'Fergusson'–'Léonide,'N.'Cottell'–'Dimas,'C.'Szabo'–'Corine,'C.'Wright'–'Harlequin.''Photo'Credit'–'Laura'Carr.'!! 8!• Rehearsals are in evenings and on weekends – 24 hours per week. • A student designer, therefore more involvement in the design projects and more clarity in communication is needed. • 6 weeks of rehearsal, which is a longer rehearsal period than a professional rehearsal, however these actors are not as experienced in musical theatre.   Part 9: Period The play is set in 1732 in France, disguised as Sparta.  In 1732, France was under the rule of Louis the XV.  This time is commonly known as the Rococo period and arose from a reaction to Louis the XIV’s lavish Baroque style, which is most evident in the Palace de Versailles.  The Rococo period was more playful and fluid, with pastel colours, and smaller more intricate designs, in architecture, furniture, art and even music.  The book, The Rococo states that no other culture "has produced a wittier, more elegant, and teasing dialogue full of elusive and camouflaging language and gestures, refined feelings and subtle criticism" than Rococo theatre, especially that of France.    All of this can be seen in Triumph of Love, from the witty, playful banter, to the use of miniatures, and the setting of the formal French garden.    Part 10: Season and Time of Day We will set Triumph of Love in June 22 1732, due to the fact that the play takes place over the period of one day, and Summer Solstice is the day with the most sunlight.  June is also associated with love and weddings.  The play begins at sunrise and ends at sunset.    Part 11: Emphatic Element I would say the emphatic element in Triumph of Love is the story.  Because it is a farce, it is important that the audience understand all the elements that lead to the comedic aspects.  For example, if one doesn’t understand that Léonide’s uncle killed Agis’ parents, there are no stakes in the love story.   Therefore it is extremely important that the actors understand how the entire story comes together before we proceed with rehearsals.  We will have a full evening of table work before we get into blocking rehearsals.  Also, because much of the !! 9!story is told in song, we will treat songs as text.  i.e. breakdown plot, beats and moments within each song.    Part 12: Theme or Idea of the play  Triumph of Love is a play about a Princess who wants to be loved by Agis at all costs.  It is about the struggle between logic and emotion, and how when each are governed by fear and selfishness, they are both destructive.   The theme of the play is Love, and all the characters struggle to understand love and themselves in all its forms, platonic, romantic, selfish, selfless and unconventional.    Part 13: Action of the Play  STASIS: The play starts in a neoclassical garden ruled by order and logic.  Everything is immaculately planned and ready for Agis to go to battle to fight the Princess.  The inhabitants of the garden, Hermocrates, Hesione, and Agis are locked into their beliefs and their plan.   • Princess Léonide falls in love with Agis after seeing him reading in the garden    • Léonide and Corine dress up as men (Phocion and Troy), because women aren’t allowed in the garden, and they plan to convince Hermocrates to take Léonide on as a student. • Harlequin discovers them, and that they are women. Corine seduces Harlequin, who agrees to help them. (TURNING POINT) • Agis meets Léonide (as Phocion) and they become instant friends • Agis reveals his secret (that he is planning to kill Princess Léonide, his mortal enemy) • Léonide swears to help him kill her…. • Corine and Harlequin fall in lust • Léonide/Phocion meets Hesione (Agis’ aunt), and her emotions are aroused. (TURNING POINT) • Corine and Dimas seduce each other • Léonide/Phocion meet Hermocrates, and he discovers she is a woman.  His emotions are aroused. (TURNING POINT) !! 10!• Princess reveals to Agis that she is a woman. (Cecile) • Princess tells Agis the story of Hubert, her fake romantic pursuer.  She tells him that she came to the garden to escape him.  He agrees to protect her. (TURNING POINT) • Princess uses the portrait trick on Hesione.   • Hesione kisses the princess. • Princess uses the portrait trick on Hermocrates.   • Hermocrates falls in lust with her.  • Agis reveals to Hermocrates and Hesione that he has told the princess about his secret. • Princess betrays Agis by denying him.  • Princess wants to quit her plan • Hesione and Hermocrates agree that love is allowed in their lives. • Botanicals pretend to be Hubert to get Agis to admit his love for the Princess • Hesione and Hermocrates put on their wedding clothes and plan to go to the city to marry Phocion. (TURNING POINT) • Agis tells the princess he loves her and she reciprocates. • Princess decides to return the crown to its rightful prince, Agis. (TURNING POINT) • Hermocrates, Hesione, Agis all discover they are in love with the same person. • Princess reveals her true identity. (TURNING POINT) • Princess crowns Agis the true Prince of Sparta. • Agis proposes to the Princess.  !! 11!Part 14: Metaphor The painting by Fragonard called “The Swing” or “The Happy Accident of the Swing” was the main metaphor for the production.                The painting depicts a young man hidden in the bushes, watching a woman on a swing,  She is being pushed by an elderly man, almost hidden in the shadows, and unaware of the lover. As the lady goes high on the swing, she lets the young man take a furtive peep under her dress, all while flicking her own shoe off in the direction of a Cupid and turning her back to two angelic cherubim on the side of the older man.   For me, it depicts the passion swinging into the logical garden, creating romance, intrigue and many accidents that ultimately lead to love.  Part 15: Mood  The play’s mood is definitely bright and hopeful, especially at the beginning.  We begin with the Princess hoping for Love, and the characters of the garden excited for their freedom.  There is a feeling of sensuality as the characters open themselves to love and all its Figure'3:''The'Swing'by'Jean!Honoré'Fragonard.'Year,'ca.'1767'!! 12!pleasures.  As the story moves forward the mood becomes chaotic and at the end of Act 1, the mood is one of unrest, or instability. Act 2 starts with instability, and moves through sadness, hopelessness and ultimately joyful.   The overall mood is one of playfulness and joy.    Part 16: Characters PRINCESS LÉONIDE:  From Greek  (leon) "lion". Leonidas was a Spartan king of the 5th century BC who sacrificed his life defending the pass of Thermopylae from the Persians. This was also the name of a 3rd-century saint and martyr, the father of Origen, from Alexandria.  Disguises herself as: Phocion:  An Athenian statesman who was a successful politician and the most honest member of the assembly.  Aspasie:  Meaning/History: was an influential immigrant to Athens who was a companion of the statesman Pericles. The couple had a son Pericles the Young, but the full details of the couple's marital status are unknown. Her house became an intellectual centre in Athens, attracting the most prominent writers and thinkers, including the philosopher Socrates.  Cécile: Latinate feminine form of the Roman family name Caecilius, which was derived from Latin caecus "blind". Saint Cecilia was a semi-legendary 2nd- or 3rd-century martyr who was sentenced to die because she refused to worship the Roman gods. After attempts to suffocate her failed, she was beheaded. She was later regarded as the patron saint of music and musicians.  Qualities:• Passionate  • Manipulative • Driven • Beautiful !! 13!• Passionate • Dramatic • Intelligent • Spoiled • Extroverted • Royalty  Metaphor: Léonide is like an ungrounded telephone wire.  It has so much power and electricity, but it isn’t plugged in, and can’t use its power.  She is a woman transfixed by one desire, her own, without thought or care of how it will affect the others around her.    Musical Quality: A Beethoven Piano Concerto – passionate, changeable, fiery and emotional, and must be played with great sensitivity and intelligence.  Major Desire:  LOVE. To make Agis fall in love with her.  Major Change: • Selfish to Selfless. • Naïve to knowing.  Given Circumstances: • Princess of Sparta • Has never been in love (rejected every man in Sparta) • No parents. (Parents have died) • Corine is her best friend.   • Came across Agis reading his book in the garden and fell instantly in love/lust with him!! 14!CORINE: Maiden: Greek Lyric Poet of the 5th Century, BC Troy:  Warrior.  Descendant of foot soldier.  Qualities: • Sensual • Street Smart   • Sarcastic • Earthy • Grounded • Wise • Experienced • Mastermind  Metaphor: A cat that shows us her soft underbelly to draw us in and scratch us and ends up liking the affection.  Musical Quality: A burlesque jazz piece.    Major Desire:  TO WIN. She wants to please the princess, and keep her on track, so that she can have what she wants – leisure, sex.    Major Change: Cynical about love, to accepting love in all its forms.  She goes from “Love? Bah!” to an unconventional affair.    Given Circumstances: • Servant to the Princess since a young age. • Has experience with men, hates love.   • Has been traveling all day with the Princess and has no idea where they are going or why.   !! 15!AGIS:  Derived from the Greek verb ἄγω (ago) meaning "to lead, to guide" as well as "to bring, to carry". It is closely related to the Greek verb ἡγέοµαι (hegeomai) meaning "to go before, to lead (the way)" as well as "to guide". This name was borne by several kings of Sparta.  Qualities: • Nervous • Naïve • Gentle • Kind • Studious • Easily influenced • Introspective • Handsome  Metaphor: A blank page within an open book.   Musical Quality: A Debussy piano piece – Clair de Lune – gentle, delicate and intellectual and yet has passionate rumblings within.    Major Desire:  TO LEARN, TO CONNECT. To make Phocion his friend and connect with him/her. To please his Aunt and Uncle.  Major Change: • Naïve to Knowing. • Boy to Man. • Student to King.    !! 16!Given Circumstances: • His parents were killed when he was a baby. • Raised by his Aunt and Uncle. • Has only met 5 people (the people he has lived with since he was a baby) and has had no contact with the outside world. • His whole life has been based around the world of logic and reason. • Has been taught that women are the enemy (except his Aunt).   HESIONE:  Said to mean "knowing" from Greek ἡσο (heso). In Greek mythology this was an epithet of Pronoia, the Titan goddess of foresight and wife of the Titan Prometheus; it was also borne by a legendary Trojan princess, a daughter of King Laomedon and sister to Priam.   Qualities: • Intelligent • Stern • Serene • Structured/ Controlled • On edge • Compassionate • Appreciates beauty  Metaphor: A tightly wound tree, unraveling, set free and blossoming.   Musical Quality: Bach Invention No. 13.  Structured, layered and can lose control if played too broadly.    Major Desire:  Wants order to be restored. Wants Agis to be the King of Sparta. Secret Desire: To be loved.    !! 17!Major Change: • Controlled to uncontrolled. • Bound to unbound/free.  • Deprivation to desire.   Given Circumstances: • Has lived in the garden for 20 years with her brother and Agis. • Studies butterflies. • Has had a broken heart.  DIMAS:   The origin of Dimas is Old Greek. The meaning of Dimas is loyal comrade.  Qualities: • Grumpy • Loyal • Earthy • Dirty • Low • Blunt • GET OFF MY LAWN  Metaphor: Grumpy old man.  Oscar the grouch.  Protective out of fear.    Musical Quality: Junkyard sounds – rattling tuba and drums.  Percussive.   Major Desire:  TO SERVE AND PROTECT. To serve Hermocrates in order to get freedom.    !! 18!Major Change: • Closed to open.  • Protective of his garden to open to sex, life, and fun.    Given Circumstances: • Has worked for Hermocrates since they fled the court in Sparta. • Loves gardening. • Hasn’t had sex in a long time. • Is one of two servants in the garden.  HARLEQUIN:  Refers to the comedic servant character of Italian Commedia dell'arte. It is derived (via Old French) from Old English Herla, a character often identified with Woden. Historically it is a masculine concept, with Columbina being its feminine counterpart.   Qualities: • Playful • Changeable • Sexy • Witty • Clever • Free  Metaphor: A social butterfly, a hummingbird that will land on anything sweet and colourful.   Musical Quality: A jig, a playful dance.      Major Desire:  PLEASURE AND FUN.  • To be the closest to the centre of fun.    • To get Corine to sleep with him.    !! 19! Major Change: • Purposeless to filled with purpose.   • Free to connected.    Given Circumstances: • Is “THE” Harlequin. • Was probably a court jester at court with Hermocrates and Hesione.  • Has broken hearts of ladies and men before coming to the garden.  HERMOCRATES: "Power of Hermes" from the name of the messenger god HERMES combined with Greek  (kratos) "power".  Qualities: • Arrogant • Logical • Stoic • Scholarly • Intelligent • Anal retentive • Controlling • Afraid  Metaphor: A stone statue (the Thinker) that crumbles with love.   Musical Quality: A military march.  Major Desire:  TO KEEP ORDER. To bring reason back to Sparta.     !! 20!Major Change: • Controlled to Chaotic. • Impenetrable to Vulnerable.   Given Circumstances: • Leader of the Garden. • Has raised Agis since he was a baby.  • Has lived in the garden for 20 years, since fleeing with Agis. • Scholar of Socrates, Aristotle. • Is a virgin.  • Has developed a hatred of women (except his sister…)  Part 17: Structural Elements Exposition:  The exposition happens from the beginning of the play until approximately page 10.  Much of the exposition happens in songs – This Day of Days (the opening song) explains the plan for Agis to kill Princess Léonide, and the next song; Anything explains Princess Léonide’s desire to make Agis fall in love with her.    Complications begin on page 10 and continue until the end of act 1.  The first one is when Harlequin discovers the women.  He not only catches them in the garden but overhears them talking about their plan to dress as men.  Dimas is the second complication. He is the gardener who serves Hermocrates and wants nothing to do with the intruders.  The third complication is when Agis reveals to the Princess his plan to murder her (not knowing who she is) and asks her to vow to help him with his plan.  She agrees.      Development: The main development of the play begins on page 20.  From this point on the Princess and Agis swear to be friends, and Corine seduces both Dimas and Harlequin.   Hesione and Hermocrates have had their emotions aroused by the Princess and everything seems to be going according to plan.  The Princess draws Agis closer to him with her fake story about her engagement to Baron Hubert de Fromage.   !! 21! As Act 1 continues, the Botanicals (Corine, Dimas and Harlequin) assist the Princess in her plan, and the Princess has Hesione and Hermocrates in the palm of her hand, as they are both in love with her.    Crisis occurs at the end of Act 1 when the Princess betrays Agis by revealing to Hermocrates and Hesione that she knows his secret.  Agis then sees the error of his ways and rejects the Princess and Hesione and Hermocrates lose faith in her.    Climax:  The Climax occurs quite late in the play after Agis admits his love for the Princess to the Botanicals.  It begins with the song “Love won’t take no for an Answer where Agis, Hesione and Hermocrates all admit they are in love and have thrown off their ideal of logic and embraced emotion.  On page 30 all three characters discover that they are marrying/in love with the same person, the Princess.  Agis is left alone on stage in complete misery.   Resolution: The resolution happens on page 33, when the Princess sings, “I am Léonide”.  Her confession brings her peace and resolution and the stands revealed before all, read to accept her fate.  She gives Agis his rightful crown and is willing to walk away.  Agis accepts the crown and also accepts the philosophy that emotions and logic hold equal value.  He proposes to his mortal enemy, Léonide and all is resolved.    There are a few structural elements that very much affect the way we will rehearse.  Firstly, Act 1 is almost double the length of Act two.  It has 69 pages, and almost double the songs.  Most of the exposition, development and crisis happen in Act 1; therefore we will take more time rehearsing this act.    Because so much of the exposition, and storytelling in general, happens in the songs, we will work all the songs with text first to ensure that the actors are clear with what they are saying, both in diction and ideas.  Songs are often written in poetic language, so we will also take the time to have the actors translate the songs into their own words before we work them with music.  !! 22! With musical theatre, I find it is imperative to work the scene before the song.  So often, directors will choreograph songs  (or let the choreographer work separately) without blocking the scene before and the result is that the song feels as if it comes out of thin air.    Part 18: Directorial Approach What are the qualities of the play that lead you to a production concept of approach? Triumph of Love is a musical based on a French farce, written by Marivaux and adapted by an American writer, James Magruder.  On my first reading and listen through I was struck by the similarities to a Disney film or Fairy Tale (for adults).  It is a work that is set in a French Greco-Roman garden, using a combination of Greek and French names, a story of 18th Century France with music from almost every genre in musical theatre.  It uses musical styles that are operatic, anthemic, burlesque, vaudevillian as well as influences from Allen Menken (Disney), Stephen Schwartz and Stephen Sondheim.    The characters are drawn from the archetypal Commedia Dell’ Arte world, therefore movement, especially for Harlequin will be borrowed from this genre. The language in the play is a mix of classical text, by the philosophers, and modern North American rhythms and humour.              Figure'4:'Charlotte'Wright'–'Harlequin,'Cassandra'Szabo'–'Corine.'Photo'credit'Laura'Carr.'!! 23!The modern Disney animated musical incorporates all these elements, and so it became the touchstone for the production concept.  The costumes and set were representational will allow for the larger than life characters to stand on their own.  Colours will be archetypal, for example the princess will wear Royal purple and when we first meet her she will be wearing a crown.  The garden will be two dimensional and bright, with the idea that we dance in and out of realism.  This world allows for the changes in language, style and rhythm.  What are the elements of emphasis in look, feel, sound, tempo/rhythm, composition and picturisation?  Triumph of Love is a musical and a comedic farce.  The play must move quickly, and characters stories and personas change on a dime.  The set must allow for quick changes, entrances and exits as well as hiding places where characters can have trysts or spy on the action.  My approach to this is to block the whole play within the first 3 weeks of rehearsal.  I find that with comedy (and musical theatre), once the actors know where they are going, they have structure to support their characters.  This structure allows them to feel safe, and then play within that structure with character, timing and more specific blocking and choices that support the story, tempo and rhythm of the piece.  In musical comedy there is an inherent choreography that is necessary for the play to grow.    Because I am working with non-experienced musical actors, we will work on music every day.  For the most part the Musical Director teaches all the music on the first day or two, and then leaves it in the actor’s hands to continue to work as the process moves forward.  This process allows the actors to work music first with just the notes.  The next step is always to work the text as a scene, and then to use this text work to help choreograph each song.    This definitely relates to the style of staging.  Picturisation is extremely useful in Musical Theatre, especially in relationship to choreography.  Triumph of Love opens with a song/scene about the garden residents (Hermocrates, Hesione, Agis, Dimas and Harlequin) singing about their plan to kill Princess Léonide.  In the staging we see them sing together in a group when their plan is united, but each of them has their own individual reason for wanting to go through with the plan, and therefore there are moments of isolation where the !! 24!characters reveal their true feelings, much like a soliloquy in Shakespeare.  We will be using a follow spot in our production to assist with these moments of isolation, where characters can escape and process their feelings in their own world, with the audience as their confidant and witness.   As the play progresses and characters move from logic to emotions, we will work with the idea that their travel goes from straight lines to more circular.  There is a circular path in the centre of the play where characters can “work things out”, or get lost in their thoughts.  It also lends itself well to chase scenes, of which there are many.   Because I’ve stated that Triumph of Love is a musical farce, the tempo of the play is key.  It must move quickly, and rhythmically, so that the jokes land.  The challenge of this style is finding the balance between the comedy and the storytelling.  I believe that comedy comes from authenticity, as opposed to playing for the joke, and so in rehearsals we will start slowly, ensuring the actors are playing the action and communicating the text clearly before we move into the quicker tempo of the piece.    Love is a theme of the play, and in the garden, emotions are forbidden.  When the Princess arrives with her mission to make Agis love her, the hardened shell of protection in the garden is broken.  Proximity/physical closeness, and touch are important devices in staging this story.  The Princess and Corine are from outside the garden and are comfortable with physicality, and when they bring it into the garden it turns everything upside down.  These moments when characters are “touched”, either physically or emotionally are key turning points in the action.  Within the play all the characters fall in love.  Their previous conceptions of the emotion are set off-kilter, and so in the action and movement of the piece we will explore the moment where each of them actually “falls.”  We will look for a physical shift, or breath or moment that connects this theme.    Overall, my goal in my approach is to find authenticity and truth within this genre called Musical Comedy.   Triumph of Love is a musical farce, however, it tells the story of 7 !! 25!characters struggling to find their own meaning of love and my hope is to find touching and intimate moments of discovery within the fun, silliness and joy of this lovely piece.    Part 19: Design Words • Clean, intellectual • Logical intruded upon by passion • Royal • Circular vs. Linear • Dawn to Dusk • Light  • Symbolically colourful  Part 20: Audience Orientation As we are working in a traditional proscenium space, the audience is quite far away from the action.  However, there are moments, especially when the characters reveal a secret that we will work on being closer to the audience, often even addressing the audience directly.  One of the challenges of a traditional space is that the audience can feel left out of the action, and I like to encourage the actors to “share” their discoveries with the audience, i.e. turning to face them on a discovery or idea, as opposed to only relating to their scene partner.    Part 21: The World of the Play Physical: • A neo-classical garden with hedges and benches • Hidden entrances and exits • A world of secrets and spying • An organized world Emotional: • Emotion vs. Logic • Passion vs. Restraint • Servants vs. Masters • Longing !! 26!• Lust vs. Intellect • Male vs. Female  Part 22: Rules of the World of the Play • Lower and younger characters speak in modern style (Princess, Corinne, Dimas, Harlequin, Agis) • Higher status people speak in classical rhythms. • When characters get to a point when they can’t speak anymore, (high emotional stakes) they sing, and when singing isn’t enough, they dance. • Anything beyond the garden is the “emotional world” of Princess Léonide. • Léonide and Corinne must look like very attractive young men, but there is still something about them that gives them away to Harlequin and Hermocrates. • Residents of the garden must appear to be infiltrated by love and emotion as the play progresses.  Costumes, posture, and speech patterns become more undone. • The music is made up of varied genres. i.e. Vaudeville, burlesque, tango, opera, traditional musical theatre.  • Harlequin (in our production) is a woman, a bisexual woman.   Challenges presented are in the text.  We will make discoveries as the play progresses.  •  Part 23: Special Problems • We are doing a musical with actors who are unfamiliar with the genre.   • Using microphones for speaking as well as singing • Quick changes onstage with large period costumes • Onstage storage for props and puppets • Women dressing as men • Casting Actors who are much younger than the roles they are playing • 4-hour rehearsals as opposed to full days.   !! 27!CHAPTER 2: Production Journal JANUARY 15, 2015 Initial Impressions as they Tumble Out of My Head At the beginning of my directing process I often make a list of initial impressions that "tumble" out of me after reading the play.  I find that they are a great resource to return to in design meetings, character preparation and even during the rehearsals when I am searching for a grounding mechanism.  It is a great way to imagine how I would like the audience to feel when they see the production.  These "tumbles" usually take the form of a page full of scribbles and a board full of pictures, so I will do my best to translate that process to this blog.  Brief Synopsis: Triumph of Love is a chamber musical based on the play by Pierre de Marivaux, about the beautiful and powerful princess Léonide who will stop at nothing to make Agis, sworn to be her mortal enemy, fall madly in love with her.  Agis lives with Hermocrates and Hesione, two famous philosophers, who believe that love is the root of all evil. Léonide along with The Botanicals (Corinne, Harlequin and Dimas) must convince all three that they believe in love in order to claim her prize.  • Based on a play by Pierre de Marivaux, French novelist and playwright during the 1720s-1740s. • Set in Sparta, but characters have French names and sensibilities. • The music is modern, written in the style of Allan Menken, with the style of an adult Disney Musical. • Borrows from the style of Commedia Dell'arte, with stock characters, physical comedy and the juxtaposition of intellect and emotion. Themes • Heart vs. Head  • Heaven vs. Earth  • Royalty vs. Servants (we see the workings of both class systems)  • Emotions invading the world of intellect.   !! 28!Feminism • Woman discovering her power.  • Woman abusing her power.  • Woman owning her power  Genre Musical Farce.   Feelings generated after initial reading:  Pleasure  Titillation  Confusion at Léonide's actions  Sadness and Pity for Hesione  Affection for The Botanicals (Corine, Harlequin and Dimas)  Joy  JANUARY 20, 2015 Bubbly! And First Design Meeting!! Over the last month, I have been meeting with the designers about the show.  We started this process off in late December, when the set, costume, lighting, sound designer and I met to get to know each other or a preliminary discussion about the show.  We opened the table (and a bottle of Prosecco) to questions and thoughts.  I spoke a little bit about my feelings and initial reactions and thoughts on Triumph of Love. It can be difficult finding a way to communicate the pictures in my head without actually drawing out, or literally explaining them.   Having designers create their own image from my musings is so much more exciting (and so far, more successful), than just telling them what to do. So, I talked about the love story, and the idea that emotions and romance were infiltrating the logical garden.  I introduced them to my Pinterest board, which is one of my favourite places to collect images as I am reading a play.    !! 29!One of the pictures that came up for me was The Swing, by Jean-Honore Fragonard.  It very much represented the end vision of the play - when romance has entered the garden.  I loved the colours and the movement of the painting.   We talked about the play being a farcical comedy and its need for quick movement, fast changes that need lots of entrances and exits. Initial questions from the designers were:  What period are we working in? I didn't know yet. What are the hours of the play?  I didn't know.... this was a bit embarrassing.   Is this a realistic play? It's not. I spoke a little bit about the idea of it being a *Disneyfied version.  Where are we setting it? Country? Place? Neo-classical garden Where does the orchestra live? I wasn't sure yet, but pretty sure it was in the pit. (the orchestra pit).  *Disneyfied = Animated in colour and esthetic both in character and style. Symbolic.  Archetypal.  Fun. Each designer had a different approach to this initial meeting.   Lighting design:  Had a very casual, laid back approach but offered a lot of ideas and thoughts about the play.   Costume design:  Nervous and excited, but no initial designs quite yet.   Sound design:  Practical and knowledgeable, with excellent questions about her needs and requirements.   Set design:  Fully formed proposal about the set, and quite set (ha-ha) in his ideas. I left this initial meeting feeling as if I needed to be more prepared and clear in my vision, which was logically the next step.      For this show, I am not wholly attached to a picture of how the set looks, so it was terrific that the Set Designer had a starting point.  !! 30!Discoveries:  Working with designers as a team is absolutely my favourite way to work.  I gain so much information and inspiration from each of them, and from the group as a whole.  I have also witnessed how much they inspire each other.   Funny story:  This week I was stage-managing a corporate event that had hired "fortune tellers" as part of the entertainment.  At the end of the evening, one of the women came up to me and asked me my name.  "Barbara", I told her, and she said, "B, that is number 2, for collaboration." It seems to be the theme, and I'm glad.   In the past as a director I have always felt alone, and much of the time filled with fear - its lovely to have a team.   JANUARY 22, 2015 Fear of Commitment Today was the final design concept meeting.  It was going so well, except for the uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach when we got to the set presentation.  I really like where Patrick and I have gotten to, but there is something that wasn't sitting right with me.  It was the Astroturf.  I hate it.  All I can think of is there is going to be a giant mass of green onstage, and that it will dwarf the actors.   I love the shape of the set and the functionality of it, but I wasn't able to just embrace the colour, and the aesthetic.  I let it go in the meeting even though I felt uneasy.   When we got to the costume design, one of the design mentors spoke up. They said, "I thought this was supposed to be a cartoony thing? Because if you are going to go with the acreage of Astroturf, the costumes aren't living in that world."  I was taken aback - Patricia and I had worked so hard on getting the costumes "right."   But it was true.  The costumes were realistic - they weren't "Disneyfied", and against the "acreage of Astroturf" they were going to look small and boring.   After some more discussion in the room, we all decided that the design needed a bit more time, and also that the production team could use an extra week after the opening of the !! 31!current show, so we moved the next meeting, the final one, a week forward.  So we all have a week free to re-visit.  I walked away from this meeting thinking about this concept, this Disneyfied concept, and how much it scared me to jump in with both feet.  I can see that I have been trying to control it, so it doesn't end up being ridiculous, or overbearing.  Traditionally, I have hated concept pieces, and dislike it when a directors idea overrides the story, however, what has happened is that my fear has held the designers back, and instead of exploring this idea to its fullest, they have been working in a space of mediocrity.   This afternoon I watched some Disney cartoons, Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Beauty and the Beast, and really saw the strong aesthetic of the design.  It doesn't override the story, in fact it let's the story shine through because the colours and looks are bold and clear, simple and stunning.  We see the faces of the characters and hear the words they are saying and singing with lovely clarity. That is what I want, so I'd better get out of the way.   FEBRUARY 3, 2015 Sensory Scene-Song Read Through Short post today.  Today I did the Sensory Song Scene Read Through. What is this you ask?  See below for instructions.  1. Get out your script 2. Grab a pen and notebook, and a highlighter 3. Get the soundtrack of the musical set up. 4. Read through every scene and play the songs in order of the play 5. Make a list of everything that comes up in each scene.  EVERYTHING! Props, costume challenges, how the song inspires you (visually, emotionally, movement wise), genre of song, colours that come up in your mind, words you don't understand, historical references. EVERYTHING! Nothing is wrong or odd or out of place 6. Highlight anything that needs to be followed up 7. Do this for every scene/song in the show !! 32!8. Keep a separate list for designers in case there are any details you need to pass on to them in regards to set/costumes/lights/sound 9. ENJOY IT  After you are done, go through your notes and follow up on the highlighted portions.  For me this often involves references I don't understand, definitions, historical details or information that needs to go to the rest of the creative team.   I have done this twice as part of my process in directing a musical, and I find it’s the piece of preparation that I repeatedly return to while in rehearsals.   FEBRUARY 3, 2015 Creativity and Structure Well, I have been feeling a bit stuck this week.  I feel creatively stuck, and unmotivated to get going on my own work.  I love to be involved in solving the challenges of others on the creative team, its one of my favourite things about directing.  For example, last week I had a meeting with the costume designer where we came up against a roadblock with Harlequin.  She couldn't quite understand my idea of Harlequin's androgyny.  (I have cast Harlequin as a woman, but in the play the character is usually cast as a man.) In my research I have realized that Harlequin is traditionally an androgynous character, so the idea is to play with this concept, and in our case, not hide the womanly parts of our actress (read boobs).  I could see the designer struggling with the idea, and so we put to the discussion to task.  We looked at photos, and discussed androgyny, and finally stumbled upon a photo that spoke to her (the designer) specifically.  It was excited to see the idea click for her, and even more exciting to see her completely love the idea!  This is one of my favourite parts of being a director.  I truly enjoy, the collaboration, the discussion and the hopefully inevitable solution to creative problems! It's something I feel I excel at in my process.   Let's talk about something I don't excel at, and that is director's analysis.   I am finding that I get so caught up in the work of others, and inspiring them, that sometimes I don't take care of my own work.  I find the task of sitting down with the script to analyze beats and plan !! 33!blocking tedious, lonely and difficult. Don't get me wrong, I read the play - I love the initial read through, as well as my Sensory Scene-Song Read Thru, but it's when I get closer to rehearsal and need to get more specific and technical that I tend to wander away from a script.  The unfortunate result of this challenge, if I let myself get caught up in it, is that when I get into rehearsal I feel rather unprepared. It shows up when actors ask me specific questions about character, or they ask me my least favourite question - WHY? - And I don't have an answer.  One can only say, "I don't know", so many times without feeling embarrassed. I have gone through productions where I have felt so ashamed and afraid going into rehearsal, and in hindsight I realize the missing link is this type of preparation.   Today, I discovered a road in.  Structure.  I need structure to corral my ideas and energy.  Because directing has so many facets, I get distracted and excited by the ones that are fun and immediately fulfilling.  For me, creativity does not thrive in chaos, but in a flexible container that can stand up to my bouncing, energetic thoughts.  The discovery came to me while I was yet again avoiding sitting down with pencil and script.  Two actors sent emails requesting time off from rehearsal for an important audition.  I always try to support actors in their career building, so this request led me to building a daily rehearsal plan for the first two weeks of rehearsal.  Suddenly, I was reading scenes, analyzing action, the story, and the songs!!  The rehearsal plan led me to my analysis, as well as the realization that I need to plan choreography, etc.  In the past I have found that when I work with a choreographer it keeps me on task with scene analysis because I know that they need the information in my head to set the movement.  Now that I am the choreographer, and there is limited choreography, I'm the one who needs to hold myself accountable.  Self-discipline, there you are again.  I think that is a whole other blog post.   In the meantime, I'm going to keep scheduling and analyzing at the same time.    !! 34!FEBRUARY 8, 2015 Costume Building Friday was one of the funnest (I know, not an actual word) days of this process so far.  I was lucky enough to go into the costume department with the designer and builder and have a look at all the costumes before they started building.   I have a great love of costumes. Perhaps it comes from my appreciation for clothes, passed on by my mother.  My mother, and now my sister and I, often recall memories based on what we were wearing.  My mother will begin her memory stories with, "I had the most beautiful A-Line gabardine swing coat, oh...and the shoes...navy blue and white two tones with a tiny kitten heel" and then launch into she met my Dad.  She always set the scene with costumes, and it has definitely influenced my theatrical sensibility.   When I imagine a character, I see and hear the way the clothes they wear feel, look and sound.  As an actor, I often will sneak into the shop to see the clothes that I will be wearing and how they will make me feel onstage. I believe you should see the character before the costume, and the costume should make the character more alive and present.  If a character is considered beautiful, the costume should make them MORE beautiful, and we should she person, not just a beautiful dress.   So, I was like a child going on a field trip when I had the honour to participate with Patricia and Jodi in some of the final choices for the Triumph of Love Costumes. When I arrived, they had 7 mannequins dressed in the costumes they had pulled/planned to build.    The Garden Inhabitants: The Garden dwellers live in the world of earth tones and logic. i.e. Browns, Blacks, Burgundy, yellow, rust. etc.  They don't stray into the emotional colour wheel. Their costumes must have the potential to come "undone" as their characters unravel and become more in touch with their sexual desires.   !! 35!Hermocrates:  Regal, structured and masculine.  Can become undone by removing the scarf, taking the jacket off, etc.     Hesione: Studious, stern, somber and solitary.  Hesione's dress is not quite the right colour, so the designers will be removing the bows, and adding a copper colour to the inside panel.  She can remove her scarf to reveal décolletage as she becomes "unraveled."              Figure'5:'Hermocrates'Preliminary'Design.''Photo'credit'Patricia'Jansen'Figure'6:'Hesione'Preliminary'Design.''Photo'credit'Patricia'Jansen'!! 36!Agis: Flighty, naive, intellectual, controlled. Agis wears the only green colour on stage, which ties him to nature and the growth of the garden.  His rust coloured jacket is also the least structured and has the most depth of texture.  He is able to remove his jacket, and vest in order to transform.    Dimas:  The earthy gardener.  Lives in leather and linen, and his costume is solely connected to his task.  His focus on his appearance is minimal.  Also wears heavy boots and a rumpled hat.    Figure'8:'Dimas'Preliminary'Design.''Photo'credit'Patricia'Jansen'Figure'7:'Agis'Preliminary'Design.'''Photo'credit'Patricia'Jansen !! 37!The Royals:  Corinne and Princess Léonide live in the emotional outside world and we wanted to represent their intrusion in the garden with jewel tones, due to their warm and rich hues.  They are the colours of passion and romance. Corinne:  Corinne's main colour is pink.   It decided that Corinne would have her corset and jacket made, and that the jacket would be also part of her dress, so that her onstage costume change, will be easier.    Princess Léonide:  Emotional, passionate, royal and beautiful.  She wears the royal purple in her dress, as well as the jacket that she will wear as a man.  Her corset is also part of her male ensemble, which allows her to play with her switches back and forth in her disguises.  This dress will be altered (sleeves removed) and embellished.   Figure'9:'Corine'Preliminary'Design.''Photo'credit'Patricia'Jansen'Figure'10:'Léonide'Preliminary'Design.''Photo'credit'Patricia'Jansen'!! 38!Harlequin:  Harlequin has been the most interesting costume challenge.  Because we have cast a woman, and in the play, the character of Harlequin is a man, I wasn't clear on the direction of this costume.  The character is playful, sexy, and mischievous, but also lives in the garden, which is logical and structured.  After much discussion, and a few drawings, Patricia and I finally found the connecting idea - Harlequin is the character that bridges the two worlds together.  So,  Harlequin's costume will be made from the scraps of fabrics that come from the other character's costumes.  Purple from the Princess, copper from Hesione, Pink from Corinne, etc.                       I am so excited to see the final pieces, and where they progress from here. Figure'11:'Harlequin'costume'build.''Photo'credit'Barbara'Tomasic'!!! 39!FEBRUARY 10, 2015 My Own Art Helps Since deciding to pursue theatre as a profession, people have always encouraged me to FOCUS.  When I was in theatre school I was told I had to decide what my type was, and see how I fit into the landscape of the profession.  As I was making my way through my career, I always struggled to choose one thing.  I loved singing and acting, producing and administrating as well as teaching, and yet felt a nagging pressure to choose one.  But which one?  In hindsight, I can see what my "people" were saying.  They were worried that I wouldn't throw myself fully into anything and would let my energy be scattered, which in fact was exactly what happened. I couldn't decide, so I continued to bounce around doing everything. I wish someone had told me to throw myself fully into everything, or at least into whatever I was pursuing in the moment.  Because what I'm seeing now in this process is BLOWING MY MIND!!!  When I commit myself 100% to my creative desires, regardless of what they are, they feed all the other work.   Playing the piano helps me work on my directing.  My process is well, scattered in its container.  I use about 5 different notebooks, a picture board, my brain and the actual script for notes.  Sometimes I get so overwhelmed that I don't know where to start, and I end up getting on the computer, or answering emails, and then feeling bad about it, and the cycle continues. So, last week I tried something else.  I sat down and started re-learning a piece by Debussy - Clair De Lune.  Classical piano has been part of my life since I was 6 years old, and it was what I used to do in my childhood and teens when I got overwhelmed or emotional.  It was one of the only ways I knew how to access the depths of my expression.  When I started re-learning the piece, and focusing my mind on the notes, rhythm and technical aspects of the work, I suddenly started having ideas and inspirations about the piece.  Nothing monumental, but it was almost as if playing music cleared an opening to a portal in my mind that could more easily connect to the work on the play.   I also discovered that when I learn a piano piece, I often don't start at the beginning, but instead with a section that challenges me, and approach it from different angles (Rhythm, !! 40!notes, fingering) instead of the piece as a whole.  (Thank you Miss Mallenson and Ms. Jennings - my two piano teachers)  This process gave the permission to do the same in my preparation.  I have been feeling extremely challenged by the set, the small details, and what I didn't like about it.  So today, after playing the piano a bit, I decided to look at the metaphor of the play in more detail, and suddenly my ideas that I couldn't explain to the designer made sense in a way that had more clarity and creative logic. Playing music is also a release for me.  I can get pretty emotional about the work; sometimes it fills me with self-doubt, and sometimes, great joy.    These emotions and concepts can be hard to channel, and honestly it gets tiring analyzing them.  So, I play.  Or I play and sing all the feelings out, so that I can either get rid of them, or have a better look. Today I played and sang a little Sara Bareilles, which I tried to attach, but can't seem to make it happen.  You'll have to imagine it.  It was amazing. :)   So, here's to all the aspects of my creative soul.  May they inspire each other to grow, be present and joyful in their expression.   FEBRUARY 15, 2015 Rehearsal has started!!!! Wow, it's here. Rehearsals have started for Triumph of Love. Yesterday we had our first read through. For me, it is always a day that is filled with anticipation. For the past 3 months when I read the script, I hear it in my head, with the voices I have imagined, in my rhythms and with my sense of humour. The beauty of the read through is that I get to hear all of these things aloud, with real live humans speaking.   It is also a day for the designers to present their work, and for the actors to see what will shape their environment and character. We started the read through late, which find challenging. Both actors and designers were late, and it really sets an odd tone. One of our designers is consistently late, and unfortunately it weakens her presence in the room. It was made clear that being late was not ok, and then we moved on.  !! 41! The read through had its bumps, the score is very difficult to play on the piano and so Chris, the musical director, and I decided to play the Soundtrack for the songs. It was a bit disappointing; because I love hearing the actors sing, but the flip side was that it took the stress of singing off of them.   What I heard in the read through was how funny the show is. I think doing so much analysis; I had forgotten all the laughs. Also, having others in the room reacting to the script is such a terrific indicator of where the laughs will land (hopefully) in the theatre.   Onward Ho!  FEBRUARY 18, 2015 Because I Said So Triumph of Love is a funny play, both because it is comedic and because of the way it is structured.  The musical came about when James Magruder wanted to create a successful stage adaptation of the Marivaux play.  Magruder holds a doctorate from Yale School of Drama, as well as a degree in French Literature. He first adapted/translated Triumph back in 1993 for its premiere at Center Stage, where he serves as resident dramaturge. "I started translating because I needed to translate a play in order to graduate from the YDS Dramaturgy program. That first play was Marivaux's The Triumph of Love. My idea was to create a stage-worthy translation--not an academic one."   The play is adapted from French Literature, set in Sparta and the characters have Greek and French names.  Their correct pronunciation naturally became part of the research.  While doing my initial work, before having the official script, I looked up all the names and their pronunciation and meanings.  When I listened to the Broadway soundtrack, I found the names were said differently than what I found in my research.  When the speech and voice teacher approached me about the names, she had yet another set of information this time from the Classics professor and a French speaker on campus.  !! 42!Many discussions arose, and because the actors had all listened to the soundtrack, they were saying the names the way they had heard them. And then, once we received the actual script books, there was a pronunciation guide at the front. But, was it correct?  The Classics professor said no.  I find when people in positions of authority give me information, I have an innate desire to follow them.  So much so that it causes me anxiety to go against the grain.  I like to be good, or at least appear to be so.  Sometimes I forget that, as a director of a production, I have the authority to make the final decision.  If it’s wrong, it's my mistake to carry.   Often, however I run in circles trying to please everyone.   So, after freaking out for a bit, I decided to take on the responsibility, and went to the source of the answer.  I wrote to James Magruder, the adapter, to find out what the correct pronunciations were, and whether he had reasons for choosing them. He wrote back, and seemed quite pleased to be asked!!!  He gave me the correct pronunciations, and didn't explain why.  I almost wrote back to ask, and then thought...his answer is going to be...because I said so. He wrote this translation, and if he decided the names are to be spoken a certain way, then he has the authority to make that call.  Because I said so. I think this is an answer I'm going to remember and use for myself.  I may re-phrase it, but I think its one I have to keep in my back pocket.  It reminds me that I'm allowed to lead, and that if I am willing to take responsibility for the outcome, then I get the final say.   Huh. Scary, but kind of exciting.  FEBRUARY 24, 2015 Actor Styles Hey! Did you know that every actor works differently? I'm not sure if I have ever been in a room with actors with such a diversity of process.  As we were plugging through Act 1, I caught a glimpse of one of the actor’s scripts, and it was literally covered in notes.  When I looked at another actor’s script it was completely !! 43!blank.  I know that people work differently, but this room was a big pile of diversity of process.    Some actors write notes down, some don’t. Some come to rehearsal knowing their notes and lines.  Some, not so much. Some actors get a note, and take it so to heart that they are paralysed by the analysis.  Sometimes I feel like I need mind reading skills. Confidence is such a huge part of the acting process, and if an actor has any self-doubt about their talent, ability, or themselves it can be a bit of a minefield.    We have had a number of discussions and pep talks about “owning the stage”, and not being hard on themselves.  It’s always difficult when I see actors berating themselves after getting a note.  I am learning how to recognize the triggers for each actor, and trying to re-frame the way I give notes to each one.    For the most part I am seeing that they all respond better to “I liked it when you did that.” Or “I’d like to see more of that”, but sometimes its necessary to say, “that was wrong” or “please fix that”, especially when it comes to more concrete notes around singing and choreography.  That is what they are having challenges responding to, and it can be tiring trying to navigate the waters.  We are all learning new skills in this area.  I am getting better at encouragement and they are getting better and understanding that the concrete notes are not personal.    FEBRUARY 24, 2015 Choreography Lessons As a challenge to myself, and because most theatre companies like to hire director/choreographers for smaller shows, I will be the choreographer for Triumph of Love. (I just let out a big sigh.)   My background in dance began at age 3 when my mother used to tango me, my bucked teeth and my stuffed bugs bunny, around the rose-patterned carpet of our suburban living room.  I'm pretty sure my mum didn't actually know how to tango, but it was sure fun being !! 44!marched back and forth, dipped and turned in her arms.  My rabbit liked it too.  My mum put in me in my first dance class when I was about 8 or 9.  It was creative dance.  We pretended to be seeds growing into plants while musicians played the drums or a recorder.  It was the 70s.  I lasted one class, because I liked soccer better.   At age 19, after I was bitten by the theatre bug and enrolled in theatre school, I began to take actual dance classes - ballet, tap, jazz, modern and even belly dance.  I loved it, and did pretty well.  In ballet I was en pointe in 3 years and worked my way into advanced tap after about 4 years.  I have been in dance shows like West Side Story and Chicago, and my mum told me I was the best dancer in the show... I wasn't.  However, I developed a great love and appreciation for the art form, especially for the people who make it look easy.   When I have directed in the past, I have worked with choreographers and absolutely love the process, especially when I find someone who works with text and story; a person who can take the scene directly into the dance and move the story forward with the movement and song.  When it works, it is a truly thrilling collaboration and the results are terrific. As an audience member I always know when that relationship is working because the transitions are seamless.   So, here I am, relying on myself for that piece of the pie and its so much more challenging than I ever realized.  There is such a difference between seeing pictures in my head of what I want to create and then attempting to communicate them to actors.  I can clearly plan the dance, or the moves in my mind, (and on paper) and then when I ask an actor to do what I've planned, sometimes it just looks, well, awkward, or fake.  All bodies move differently, so what my body thinks is a natural movement for a character, may not translate on stage.  So, sometimes the planning seems for naught.  The planning is also a bit hilarious. So much of the show involves duos and trios, and when I am working on the piece in my living room, I can only be one person at a time. My cats are often watching me bounce around, today with a broom as a prop, with great concern.   I can see why Julie, my favourite choreographer, uses human assistants (not robots!) when she is !! 45!planning.  I am pretty sure that is how I would want to work in an ideal situation.  Because I don't have assistants, I have been using a hybrid of planning and working organically with the actors.  In the opening number, I had the whole last verse planned out, with gestures and arms and marching – the whole kit and caboodle! When the actors were learning it, we were all in hysterics, and not in a good way.  It was a big cheesy mess!  I always know when actors can't keep a straight face when doing choreography (or they are blushing), something is not working.  So, with the next number, I tried something else.  I prepared in shapes.  I looked at the intentions of each moment, each musical moment, with both orchestration and text, and then let the actors move through the piece without giving them any movement.  I found that I could see if my planned ideas would work, based on their physical intentions while singing.  I then went in and "tweaked" little moments and Voila - Synergy!  By the end of that rehearsal we were all laughing for the right reasons.   With the more "dancey" songs, I will modify this method a bit.  I have planned beats of choreo, and then teach them to the actors.  Then we can play around a bit to see where they fit in.   This is one of the most challenging tasks I have taken on. When directing and acting, I rely on my instincts a lot, however as a dancer and in turn a choreographer, those instincts are not innate.  I can't always see how to twist or turn someone's body to its best angle or expression.  That being said, I am up for the challenge and am excited to see how it's going to turn out.  FEBRUARY 24, 2015 Rehearsal Act 1 has been blocked.  Sometimes I feel that I work backwards.  I hear other directors talking about daily table work, and scene discussion and whenever I attempt to do it, I feel a bit stuck.  I keep coming back to my process as an actor, and for me, physicality is something that gives me a foundation on which to base my character and acting choices.  A !! 46!teacher once said to me "Go from what you know, to what you don't know", so blocking is usually where I start.  The rehearsal process looks like this, per scene.  1. Ask the actors if they have any questions about the scene 2. Make sure they are clear where they are in the play, physically, mentally, and spiritually, as well as where they are arriving from or going to 3. Do the scene, on its feet and see where the actors find themselves 4. Ask more questions, discuss observations 5. Do the scene again with offers/direction.  Sometimes out of this process, in fact, often, discussions come up about character or history, or moments of discovery.  For me, thought, when we are in the midst of a physical rehearsal, they seem to happen more organically, and lend themselves to the moment at hand, as opposed to general discussion.  We moved through Act 1 like this, and ended up having it blocked by the end of second week.  When we did a stumble through on the weekend, I observed the blocking that wasn't working.  One of the cues for me is if an actor constantly does something different in a scene. If blocking I have offered doesn't work, its usually revealed by the actor forgetting it, or their body resisting it (which shows up with shuffling or twitching).  The day after our stumble through, I spent the day working through each scene on a deeper level, i.e. doing the original blocking and then stopping to re-visit the awkward moments.  The awkward moments are almost always because the actor or myself doesn't know why they are doing what they are doing.  So, I find I'm always coming back to the question: What do you want? Or, what do you want to make her/him do?  Action.   This week we start on Act 2.  I'm feeling a bit disconnected from the Act 2, and have the desire to sit down and read it with the cast again.  Unfortunately I didn't put this time into the schedule, but I think that it's important.   Aside:  If I keep thinking about something, if I feel uncomfortable about it, I have to listen to that feeling and choose whether or not I want to do something about it.  !! 47!Ok, it's going into the schedule.  MARCH 5, 2015 Those Magic Changes So, my worst fear (in this process) happened.  The fear that has stayed with me was that our hedges, the set, would be a big wall of green.  I communicated this fear to the set designer at the very beginning of the process, and I was reassured that it wouldn't be, but when I saw the set yesterday, my fears were confirmed.  I had so many feelings:  1. Where did I fail in my communication? 2. Why didn't I say something earlier 3. Could it be fixed? 4. If I asked for what I wanted, would I hurt the designer’s feelings, and would everyone hate me? It's easy to lead when things are easy.  So, I dove in.  I mustered all the communication skills I learned in years of therapy and talked to him about what I saw.  I told him that I was frustrated because I felt I had communicated this fear at the beginning of the process, and it hadn't been acknowledged.  I asked him about his feelings about the design, whether he was happy. (He was) Then I clearly communicated exactly what I wanted, and much to my surprise, together we made it happen.  Well, we made the idea happen, and now we shall see if it can be accomplished.  1. Where did I fail in my communication? Well, I let my fear of conflict, and appearing "bossy" get in the way of expressing the worry earlier 2. Why didn't I say something earlier? See above.  3. Could it be fixed? It can be fixed!!! 4. If I asked for what I wanted, would I hurt the designer’s feelings, and would everyone hate me?  Yes and no. I don't know if his feelings were hurt, but what I learned was - I spoke to him kindly and clearly, and so it wasn't my responsibility to take care of him.  Everyone does not hate me.  (Big surprise) !! 48!On the weekend I was chatting with some colleagues and we were discussing some of the challenges that life has thrown us - in relationships, career failure, family challenges etc.  And for the first time in my life, I saw how these challenges have helped me in my work.  They have forced me to look at myself, and how I function in crisis.  This has made me look at how to overcome these moments, how to communicate my feelings with compassion, clarity and love.   Theatre is about relationships; Relationships within the play, in rehearsal, in the production room, the relationship with the audience, and ultimately, the relationship with oneself.  If I don't understand myself and how I love, or am afraid of love - how can I understand Léonide and Agis, or Hesione and Hermocrates?  If I don't know what stands in my way, how can I work with designers or production to overcome obstacles?  If I don't understand what I love, or believe, how can I stand behind myself to know which tough decisions are worth it, and if and when to act on these beliefs?   This quote keeps coming up in rehearsals: Ring the bells that still can ring  Forget your perfect offering  There is a crack in everything  That's how the light gets in.  -Leonard Cohen   These characters in Triumph of Love are all wrestling with who they are, and in the beginning of the play are working so hard to hold onto their perfect lives.  When their worlds change, and their philosophies and plans are cracked, the light gets in and shines on a new path, a new way.  I am so grateful for all the cracks that have been revealed to me in my life, and in this process. They have allowed me to go on journeys I would have never considered, like being a theatre director, and making this decision about set.  Most of all, they have shown me that when there is a challenge, there is always a path through it.  !! 49!MARCH 8, 2015 Approval = Love: It’s Important Sometimes I forget to tell the actors they are doing a good job.  I get so focused on what we need to improve that I flippantly say, "Great job everyone!" and then move on to the list of notes.   Yesterday I had a recollection to all the times when, as an actor, I had to ask the director if I was doing a good job.  It is such a difficult thing to do, as the stigma of being needy or insecure is ripe in the theatre world.  I do it anyway, because I know when I hit the point where I am saturated by the need for improvement and the only way I can empty enough space to take on more notes is to get acknowledgement.  So far it has worked.  So far, no director has replied to the question "How am I doing" with a "terrible" or "Ok", although it could still happen.   Upon this remembrance, I realized that these lovely, young actors were playing parts that were huge and vulnerable, and not once had I taken the time to look them in the eye and tell them how well they were doing.  So, I did and saw the huge weight lift off their shoulders.  I could see the pressure they were carrying around on their shoulders float into the air.  There were tears, and sighs of relief.  They didn't know that they were winning the battle.   I have always struggled with my need for approval, and sometimes I think that manifests in me withholding it, because I have fought against it for so long.  I'm going to start thinking of it as Love instead of Approval. Love grows beautiful things.  MARCH 17, 2015 How Late is too Late? Today is our dress rehearsal and there is a part of me that is tired of giving notes.  After awhile I feel as if everyone has reached a saturation point and can't absorb anymore, or perhaps I'm just tired of repeating myself.   !! 50!With designers, I find that notes are expected until opening, so it's not as challenging.  The changes are usually technical in nature and have a tangible outcome.  With actors, or some actors, some notes can push them past feeling confident and into self-doubt.  A few of the cast are hitting that point, and so now I have to decide whether I enter and address the challenge, and where do I let the actor relax and settle into the part.  Can I do both?  In her book, A Director Prepares, Ann Bogart talks about the violence of rehearsal.  How making decisions in a room, like "keep it", eliminate or kill all other options.  She talks about the word irimi which, simply translated from the Japanese means "To enter" or choose death.  When attacked, you have two options, irimi (to enter) or ura, which means to go around.  Bogart states that when both are accomplished in the right manner, they are creative.  What is the right manner????? To enter or choose death means you enter fully with the acceptance or risk of death.  The only way to win is to risk everything.  To achieve the violence of decisiveness, one has to "choose death" in the moment by acting fully and intuitively without pausing for reflection about whether it is the right decision or if it is going to provide the winning solution.   Bogart also says it is useful to know when to use ura or going around.  Patience and flexibility are also creative.  However, there is no prescribed method for knowing when to use either of these choices.  All of it is based on intuition, which for me, sometimes feels like panic…or a stomachache.  I haven't decided which to use yet, but I'll let you know when I do.  Updated Post:  I used irimi.  I probably should have used ura.    March 20, 2015 The First Laugh When directing a comedy, the audience is a huge part of the equation. As rehearsals go on in the hall, doubt starts to creep in.  I stop laughing after awhile, because I'm so focused on little details.  When stage management stops laughing, then it gets really hard.  I start to wonder if my sense of humour is appealing to anyone else but me.  So much of comedy depends on !! 51!timing, and the laughter is part of the rhythm of the piece.  Sometimes in the rehearsal hall it feels like we need a metronome or a drummer to keep that rhythm in place.   I went into this process believing that comedy comes from honesty and true situations, but as we went on I thought - what about the gags?  Triumph of Love is a farce, and farces have gags.  There are so many, including one with a piece of bread, one with a hoe and repeated book gags written into the script.  There are however, no instructions on how to construct these gags.  We had to decide on our own, and that is like taking a shot in the dark.  I was also so afraid of it being pushed, that we would rely on these devices to tell the story.  The goal was to find a balance between honest comedy and farcical gags.  Only the audience' reaction would tell us if we were successful.   Last night as I sat in the audience with our first spectators, I had no idea what to anticipate.  I knew what I hoped for - all of these timed jokes, the gags, and the carefully placed moments would guide the audience on a journey, but I had no idea whether the moments I found funny, or moving or titillating were relevant to the people sitting in the seats.  So when the first laugh happened I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I saw the freedom move into the casts movements, expressions and voices.   I know we say that we do this for the love of the process, and because we have to, but I tell you, I really feel good when an audience laughs.  And laugh they did.  March 21, 2015 Letting Go The show has opened and it was a lovely night.  Opening nights can be tricky, or at least this one seemed to be.  We had a terrific preview the night before.  The actors were on point, honest and really trusting the work, and we had a lovely responsive audience (of strangers) to boot.   Opening night was filled with friends and family, and I find sometimes that can be challenging to actors, especially young ones - heck, it's challenging for the old ones. So !! 52!many performers are on the quest for approval, and opening night is like a giant approval pie waiting for you, smelling delicious on the windowsill.   The first few rows were filled with classmates of the cast, and they were enthusiastic to say the least.  They laughed and commented knowingly, indicating their recognition and familiarity with the players.  I get it, when my friends are onstage, I sometimes find their appearance comical, or I feel the need to indicate my relationship with them by laughing at personal jokes we share that are indicated by the play, or acknowledging the risks they are taking onstage with gasps or applause.  My personal love for my friends makes me want them to know that I am there, supporting them.  The challenge for the actor in this situation is to not pander or be led by this acknowledgement, and this takes maturity and discipline.  If you add nerves and opening night jitters to the equation, well, let's just say that it’s nearly impossible.   That is what I witnessed last night.  This has such an affect on the audience who don't know the actors, and as my friend with whom I was sitting said, "It makes me feel like I'm not part of an inside joke."  I did not solicit this comment, and from what I heard, other audience members complained about the behaviour.  It made me angry, and I wanted to assert my control over all parties involved.  Thankfully I didn't.   All this leads me to the idea of letting go.  The audience is the last part of the theatrical equation, and as a director, I have no control over how they react, and in turn how the actors react to the reaction.  In the North American theatre model, the director leaves once the show opens, and the stage manager is left to keep the show on track.  Is this something that serves the show?  In a University model, is it useful to talk to the actors about the audience's affect on their work?  Today I decided I would send one note.  It read like this:   I'm going to stress again that you must trust the text and the story. Please do not ad lib. or change blocking or try to be funny. Trust the things you found in rehearsal.   I found that last night, things were a little bit pushed both vocally and with the comedy. It's hard when you have friends in the house and people you know, but those are the moments !! 53!where you need to reach down and really trust your work.  You are all extremely talented and versatile actors who are working on a cleverly written show.  You are very adept at listening and communicating and storytelling and that is where the honest humor comes from.   And now I will surrender them to their own devices.  I had a discussion with another director today about whether or not it is useful for the director to give notes every night.   I truly feel that the show should continue to grow throughout the run and they (the other director) felt that it was their job to ensure that the work was being respected.  I get it, I really do.  Last night I wanted to call a rehearsal today and fix everything that was added, ad-libbed, and flubbed on opening.  However, we hire these creative beings to express themselves through the work, and I don't think its fair to expect them to be something rigid, or perfect every night.  I do think that there is a respect for the container that we have all created together, whether that is the blocking or the rhythm of the music, or choreography, but there has to be room for the show to take wings. The actors need to settle into the characters, and their life in this new world that includes witnesses gasping, laughing and applauding their actions. It's a flow that can't be controlled, although if the container cracks, the flow can become a bit of a mess.  So, then the job of the Stage Manager is to hold the container.  (MUST REMIND STAGE MANAGER OF JOB!) Oh wait, more controlling.  Sheesh.   I have had directors send nightly notes, which means they were sitting in the house every night, and it was detrimental to me as a performer.  I didn't feel trusted or free to do my job and I lost my sense of self-reliance.  It's almost like having a micro-managing parent or boss, and I find in those situations, when things go into crisis or unfamiliarity, the worker (actor) doesn't know how to function without their presence.  They live in a place of constant fear and sometimes even resentment.   So, I must let go, not only for them, but also for me.  I need sleep and rest and space for the next creative moment, and they need to fall in love with themselves and the work without me being there to guide the way.   !! 54!“Creativity is a process of surrender, not control” - Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way   APRIL 2, 2015 The Wednesday After I went back to see the show on the Wednesday after we opened.  Wednesdays are the first show of the week, and the actors have been away from the show since Saturday night.  3 days is a long time to be away from the theatre.  Even though the cast did an Italian the day before, quickly running lines and blocking, the show was still messy.  Choreography was missed, or wasn't as sharp as it had been, set and costume changes were not as tight - even the set looked a bit worn, with tissue paper falling on the stage and not being swept up at the intermission.  After the show, I sent a few quick SM notes to the Stage Manager about the set, and then assigned the role of Dance Captain to one of the cast.  I had completely forgot to do this in our rehearsal process, and it's imperative in a musical.  The Dance Captain takes notes of any choreography of spacing in dance numbers for safety and sloppiness.   All that being said, the show was better than the week before. It was definitely better.  There was naturalness to the work that had settled in and it was quite pleasant.  The singing was better, and the timing of the jokes was much smoother.  Nothing had changed per se, it was just more relaxed.  The actors had taken possession, and the wonderful part, is that they trusted the work we had done in the hall, and made it their own.  It truly is an honour when this happens.  It makes me feel like the collaborative process has worked, and that the cast feels trusted, so they do their job with more generousity.  One of my goals in this MFA program was to become a more collaborative director, and I'm not sure I knew exactly what this would entail.  I thought that it meant that everyone would have a say in every part of the process, but what I am beginning to understand is that it means that everyone feels that their job is an equal part of the big picture.  Every person contributes !! 55!their all to be part of the whole, from marketing and administration, to the shop and the creative team.  The director's job is to help everyone see the light at the end of the tunnel, and hold the container for the team, the whole team, to be successful.  In turn, the blessing of this is that I feel so tremendously supported on the journey.   It felt pretty awesome this time, so something must be working.  Yay team!  !! 56!CHAPTER 3: Final Reflections The show is over; many people attended and experienced Triumph of Love, The Musical.  I went to the show on Friday night, the night before closing and sat at the very back of the house.  It was an enjoyable evening, and I felt proud of the team’s accomplishments.    One of the things I noted the most was the growth in the performers.  Most of them had done a musical before, but none of them were seasoned performers in the genre.  When we started the process they were nervous and green, and there were moments when I wasn’t sure if their confidence would be high enough to carry off a show with such a strong genre.  They did, and as the run continued, became stronger and inhabited the characters with more commitment every night.  The person who struck the biggest chord with me was Matt Kennedy.  He came into this project completely unfamiliar with singing (he had never sung in public), choreography and had never been part of a musical.  When we cast him, both Chris (the musical director) and I had doubts that he would be able to handle the complicated music, but I was sure that his acting ability would override his inexperience.  It was truly a gut decision on my part, and it paid off.  He improved exponentially over the process, trusting the work as well as working hard on his voice.  When he began to sing on that last evening, his voice had a confidence and timbre that I hadn’t heard before, and I was truly moved and honoured that he would put so much trust and commitment into this project.    One of my major goals with my thesis was to place equal emphasis on the singing and acting with the goal of authenticity in the storytelling.   In rehearsal we worked on the songs as text, breaking down beats, and using these elements to establish blocking.  In watching the final product I felt that we had been quite successful, but that I could have gone even further in trusting this work.  Vocally the storytelling was terrific; the actors used their voices to express their emotions and thoughts with a terrific level of honesty.  I felt that at as a team, we found moments of true alchemy in the process – for example during Hesione’s song“Serenity”, the skill of Ghazal Azarbad playing Hesione really shone with her combination of text, vocal expression and movement, and in the song “Have a Little Faith”, with the Botanicals, there was a joy and expression that transcended just the song and dance.    !! 57!I took on a challenge with Triumph of Love and that was to choreograph the show myself. It truly was an undertaking for me and even thought I was happy with the end result, I will always strive to work with a choreographer.  Julie Tomaino, a colleague and wonderful choreographer came to rehearsal one evening to consult on some challenges I had encountered.  In 15 minutes she was able to solve challenges that I couldn’t even see and I missed the collaborative energy that comes from creating a dance with someone whose expertise is in movement. I felt that most of the choreography worked, especially in the songs where I allowed the actors to play and then finessed their offers.  But some of the songs, especially the solos, still felt as if the blocking was contrived and the melding of text and movement didn’t quite click.  I could see where I had stepped in and grabbed onto what I thought needed to happen, or didn’t quite follow through with the actor on their intention.   Some of this was also due to the inexperience of the actor, or their own fear in the process, but in hindsight I could have given them a bit more space to discover their own interpretation.     There was a moment in the process where I was questioning, “How late is too late?”  And with one of the actors, it was too late, I needed to stop giving him notes about blocking.  It ended up locking him into things when what he needed was to continue to explore and be encouraged to trust his instincts.  The moments on stage where I witnessed that I had stepped away from his work were much more successful than the ones where I had closed in, or closed him in.  This letting go of control is something I will address as I move forward in my craft.  In the elements of design, I thought the set achieved its goal of being bold and setting the place.  I would have preferred that it was a bit less ominous and green and literal (something I was afraid of from the beginning). Also, I saw the need for one more level, perhaps a set of stairs at the back, or a raked stage. Performers were a bit lost when they moved upstage.    I also wish that I had requested the moving benches in rehearsal.  It was the element of the show that I was the most disappointed with, both in their look and in their function.  They were too clunky and too literal.  One of the challenges was that the set designer did not !! 58!attend a run until it was too late.  I was too kind in this area, and should have required him to be there.  It was a moment where I should have employed Ann Bogart’s irimi as opposed to ura.   I was very pleased with the costume design.  The colours were excellent, the details well executed (thanks to Jodi and the costume builders) and the actors were able to use the costumes to tell the story.  Again, I would have requested that we have the costumes for the Princess and Corine’s 1st onstage change much earlier.  There were too many elements in this scene for it to be rehearsed so close to opening.  The other observation I made was that Agis’ costume did not transform at all.  That was a complete oversight on my part. I left the transformations in the hands of the actors, but realized that Agis’ change was subtler than Hermocrates and Hesione’s so I didn’t spend the time with him discussing it.    In regards to lighting, I thought it looked beautiful, and was very happy with many of the looks.  I loved the use of spotlights, and thought that element was successful in telling the story and adding a comedic element. However, there could have been a more cohesive convention with the lighting.  The designer and I came upon this during tech, and by that time, it was a too late to make such an enormous change.  The convention that I saw in hindsight was that if we had used the external vs. internal moments as a gauge and used more realistic lighting in the external states and then more impressionistic lighting in the internal states.  Also, I thought that we could have used the cyc as a “mood reflector” as opposed to the whole stage.    One of my main discoveries was that it takes more time to work on a musical.  Because there are more elements involved (music, dance and text), it is a much more complicated process and I think that in order to achieve the true alchemy of all the elements, there needs to be more time to explore.  Even in this process, where we worked very efficiently, I observed a lack of time.    A few things I could have done to help this challenge were: 1.  Request a rehearsal pianist to be there at all rehearsals.   !! 59!2.  I took one day off during reading break, as I wasn’t aware I could rehearse for 6 days.   3.  Requested an extra week of rehearsal, or another workshop in January to just learn music.  4.  Requested one more full rehearsal onstage with technical elements.    With that being said, I am going to move forward in my career with the goal of always requesting another week of rehearsal for a musical.  Most professional houses rehearse for 3 weeks and then tech, some for only 2 and then tech, which is one of the reasons musicals aren’t ready until the second week of the run.  The actors need time for the chemistry of all the elements to take hold.     Overall I felt that Triumph of Love was a success both as a production, and as a learning experience for the team and myself. I felt it was a show and a process filled with commitment and wholehearted joy.  It increased my confidence as a director, and showed me the areas of my process that are still in need of development.  I am excited to explore the concepts of trusting the actors and letting go, both for myself and as part of my rehearsal process.  I saw that if I engage the team, and truly collaborate with every contributor, the care a dedication given back to the show are increased exponentially.   At the beginning of my MFA program I was always questioning myself as a director.  Every move I made was put under a microscope, so much so that I couldn’t be present in the room.  In this process I can see that I have developed so much more confidence in my work.  Most of that has come from self-acceptance and understanding my strengths and weaknesses.  I am an excellent team builder, and I enjoy that part of my work.  My preparation has improved which in turn has increased my confidence in the room.    Most of all I have learned that my communication skills and love for the work is my greatest ally.  It has truly been a pleasure to direct Triumph of Love as my thesis project.   !! 60!  Figure'12:'M.'Kennedy'–'Hermocrates,'G.'Azarbad'–'Hesione,'C.'Fergusson'–'Léonide,'Z.'Wolfman'–'Agis,'C.'Wright'–'Harlequin,'N.'Cottell'–'Dimas,'C.'Szabo'–'Corine.'Photo'Credit'–'Laura'Carr.'!!! 61!Bibliography Andrews, M., Chapman, B. (Director) (2012). Brave. [Motion Picture]. U.S.A.: Pixar.  Ball, W. (1984). A Sense of Direction. Hollywood: Drama Publishers. Bogart, A. (2001). A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre. New York: Routledge. Campbell, M. (1996). Behind the Name. Retrieved January 11, 2015, from http://www.behindthename.com. Coppola, S. (Director). (2006). Marie Antoinette. [Motion Picture]. U.S.A.: Columbia. Dibb, S. (Director). (2008). The Duchess. [Motion Picture]. U.S.A.: Paramount. Geronimi, C. (Director). (1951). Alice in Wonderland. [Motion Picture]. U.S.A.: Walt Disney.  Hatzfeld, H.A. (1972) The Rococo; eroticism, wit, and elegance in European literature. U.S.A.: Pegasus:   Hodge, F. (1971). Play Directing: Analysis, Communication and Style. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Lefkowitz, D. (1997, Oct 23). Triumph of Love Interview: Librettist James Magruder. Retrieved Feb 17, 2015, from http://www.playbill.com/news/article/triumph-of-love-interview-librettist-james-magruder-71841.  Marivaux, P. (1994). The Triumph of Love (J. Magruder, Trans.). New York: Dramatists Play Service.    !! 62! Sommer, E. (1997, September). Interview with James Magruder. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://www.curtainup.com/tol-magr.html. Wolf, Stacy, E. (2007). In Defense of Pleasure: Musical Theatre History in the Liberal Arts [A Manifesto]. Theatre Topics, Volume 17, Number 1, pp51-60. DOI: 10. 1353/tt2007.0014. !! 63!Appendices Appendix A: Inspiration Photo Board for Triumph of Love This board is a collection of photos used for my Directors Preparation.  When I first read a play, I find that my visual imagination is stimulated, and I immediately begin to look for images that assist me expressing my vision and concept.     !! 64!These four images were inspiration for Harlequin and the sundial painted on the floor of the set.  !! 65!From the images below, the crown became the inspiration for the Princess’ crown, and the image in the bottom left corner was the basis for the colour palette for the costumes.!! 66!Princess Costume inspiration.: The costume on the right, from the movie Marie Antoinette became the basis for Corine’s jacket and skirt combination.   !! 67!Appendix B: Director’s Notes from the Program “Of all the fires, love is the only inexhaustible one.”—Pablo Neruda  I am so happy you are here in the audience to see Triumph of Love, the first musical that UBC has presented in 20 years.    Triumph of Love is a reverse fairy tale about a Princess pursuing her Prince and is based on a play by the French playwright, Pierre de Marivaux.  Set in 1732 in the French style, the location of the play is Sparta and this adaptation takes the French original and uses modern text and music from across the genre spectrum. Mistaken identities, sidekicks, moving hedges and singing plant choruses are all to be found in this farcical romp.    Confusing right?  No, it’s like a very adult Disney musical!   The peaceful garden we find at the beginning of the play is a place where Hermocrates, Hesione and Agis want to live a logical, controlled existence and not let emotions, especially love, throw off their plans and ideas.  But as much as they all want to keep things in their life “just so”, a Princess arrives in the garden, and cracks open the container that contains their deepest fears, secrets and desires. It causes every character to look at the true workings of their heart, and in the end love triumphs. But remember sometimes when you win, you don’t get what you want, but what you need.    I believe we all have an ordered garden in our lives – a place where we are sure of all the answers and are reluctant, even sometimes militant, about change, so much so that we will go to battle to protect our ideas.  However, if we are lucky, someone or something will arrive and crack our armour, a little light will seep in and a new path will be illuminated.   When I arrived at UBC, I had so many fixed ideas of what it would take for me to be a legitimate theatre director. I was sure that it meant that I had to do only plays with extensive gravitas and high concept and it certainly meant that there should be NO MORE SINGING AND DANCING.  Through the research, writing and practice in the MFA program, my armoured idea was cracked.  I had the privilege of working on Judith Thompson, David !! 68!Mamet and Hannah Moscovitch and then came back to my great love, a big musical, as my outside project.  I witnessed how when the work combines the beautiful alchemy of text, breath, dance, music and talented, committed artists, it can propel us to a place where we are allowed to feel as freely as children. And that is the job of all theatre.    Thank you to my mentors, Stephen Heatley, Stephen Malloy, Tom Scholte, Gayle Murphy, Kirsty Johnston and Cathy Burnett for supporting me on this journey.  It truly has been a Triumph of Love.  !! 69!Appendix C: Name Meanings and Pronunciations and Glossary of Terms. Within their scripts, many playwrights indicate their expectations for the delivery of dialogue, ranging from the marking of pauses to markers of expected pronunciation.  The pronunciation of Greek and French names in Triumph of Love, The Musical follow the pronunciation guide provided by the playwright, James Magruder.   Character Names and Meanings: Léonide: (LAY-on-eed) From Greek  (leon) "lion". Leonidas was a Spartan king of the 5th century BC who sacrificed his life defending the pass of Thermopylae from the Persians. This was also the name of a 3rd-century saint and martyr, the father of Origen, from Alexandria.  Phocion: (FOE-see-on) An Athenian statesman who was a successful politician. The most honest member of the assembly.  Corine:  (COR-een) Maiden: Greek Lyric Poet of the 5th Century, BC.  Troy:  Warrior.  Descendant of foot soldier.   Agis: (AHH-‘zhees) Derived from the Greek verb (ago) meaning "to lead, to guide" as well as "to bring, to carry". It is closely related to the Greek verb (hegeomai) meaning "to go before, to lead (the way)" as well as "to guide". This name was borne by several kings of Sparta.  Hesione: (heh-‘ZION-ee) Said to mean "knowing" from Greek ἡσο (heso). In Greek mythology this was an epithet of Pronoia, the Titan goddess of foresight and wife of the Titan Prometheus; it was also borne by a legendary Trojan princess, a daughter of King Laomedon and sister to Priam.   Hermocrates:(her-‘MAH-cri-teez) Means "power of Hermes" from the name of the messenger god (HERMES) combined with Greek (kratos) "power". !! 70! Harlequin: (HAR-le-‘kwin) Refers to the comedic servant character of Italian Commedia dell'arte. It is derived (via Old French) from Old English Herla, a character often identified with Woden. Historically it is a masculine concept, with Columbina being its feminine counterpart.   Dimas: (di-‘MAHS) Derived from Greek  (dysme) meaning "sunset". This is the name traditionally given to the repentant thief who was crucified beside Jesus.  Neoptolemus: was the son of the warrior Achilles and the princess Deidamia in Greek mythology, and also the mythical progenitor of the ruling dynasty of the Molossians of ancient Epirus.  Known to be violent.    Glossary:  The following are words that, during my reading of the script, needed a more detailed definition.   Florid:  marked by emotional or sexual fervour.  Ergot: a fungal disease of rye and other cereals in which black, elongated, fruiting bodies grow in the ears of the cereal. Eating contaminated food can result in ergotism  Physiognomy: facial features; face.  Tropism:  a biological phenomenon, indicating growth or turning movement of a biological organism, usually a plant, in response to an environmental stimulus.  Lepidoptera: Butterflies.  Coup d’etat: Seizure of state.  Overthrowing of the government.   Odious:  Repulsive.  !! 71! Ratiocination: the activity or process of reasoning.  Myopia:  Near sightedness.  Sophist: Philosopher.  Cozening: Tricky  Polecat: Weasel like creature.    Caitiff: Contemptible or cowardly person.  Truculent: Eager to fight. Aggressive.  Coxcomb: Dandy.  Milksop: A person who is indecisive and lacks courage.   Addlepate: A confused person.  Circe: Goddess of Magic who turned people into animals.  Practiced witchcraft.    Sylph:  Elemental Being, air inhabitant.  Typically a young girl.   

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
https://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.24.1-0166165/manifest

Comment

Related Items