Not to undercut my feelings of pride and satisfaction with what's been accomplished, but, as is the case with every production I direct, I still feel a bit dissatisfied. Why do I have to get this feeling every time I do a show? These past few years I've chalked it up to the fact that, in the weeks leading up to the show, I'm constantly doing something: blocking, lighting, sound, etc. But once the shows up, my job's finished, yet my brain doesn't realize that, because the play is still going on. So, I get ornery.
This year, I tried to find an outlet for that, by volunteering to call the show. And that has worked, for the most part. Keeping track of all the upcoming cues has kept my mind from wandering too far into left field. However...
The problem with this show is there are an awful lot of directors or wannabe directors in the group. And because I tend to be a collaborative director, I've allowed them to offer suggestions on certain things (notice I said "allow": that's my choice, as director. I don't have to do that at all.) The problem is, some people may take that as a sign of weakness, or worse, take that as permission to change things without consulting with me.
For the most part, I haven't any major problems, and the sugestions have been terrific, and made the show much stronger. But last night, as I was watching the ensemble's first entrance, I realized that a group of five were making their entrance from stage left, not through the fence, upstage right, as I had originally blocked it. While it's a neat kind of shorthand, for me, it violates the internal logic of the scene, which is: everyone has stopped by to visit Laurey and Eller, on their way to Skidmores.
Plus, it was too smooth. Someone had clearly (in my opinion) decided to "fix" my blocking--perhaps for benevolant reasons, but even so, they should have consulted with me first.
So, last night, after the show, I asked one of the actresses involved in the move why her group was entering from stage left. This actress is very close to the group that tend to like to second guess me, so I figured I could gauge what was going on by her reaction.
She immediately grew defensive. "That's the way we've always done it," she said.
"No, that's not the way I blocked it," I replied. And also: bull shit. I've been watching this scene, time and again, for weeks now. I may have missed it once or twice, but not for much more than that.
"That's the way we've always done it!" she said.
"Okay," I said. "No problem. We'll fix that back on Thursday night." No word of a lie, she glared at me and turned to her friend, and stormed off. Which, given the situation, is just kind of silly, don't you think?
Anyway, although a part of me is tempted to just let things go, smile benignly, collect my check next Sunday, and move on, I know perfectly well that this kinder gentler more sensible part of me, come Thursday night, will be overruled by the other, less compromising side of my personality. It would have been one thing, had they had the courtesy of consulting with me. Then, I may have willing to bend...although I don't know, because as I said, it's not really the effect I was looking for. But to make a change such as that without telling me undermines my authority, disrespects my role and the work I put into this show, and will not be tolerated.
Now, mind you, I will not handle this in a mean way. That would be unacceptable on my part. But sometimes you need to send a strong signal that you're fully aware of what's going on on stage.