One of the real joys of working here is getting to watch other director’s direct. It’s a giant thing missing in our field – the ability to see HOW other people do their work, not just the finished product. Imagine if you were a chef, and you only learned how to cook by eating dishes prepared by people when you weren’t there….you’d know what you like, but not necessarily how to make it – but I digress…
What was great in watching Mark work and talking to him about it afterwards – was in how he was using the script as essentially a score for the piece. Bruce Norris, the playwright, is so specific in his script – the use of commas, the use of dashes, the use of italics. Each of it written as hints to the actors as to how the rhythm is supposed to be. Each piece of punctuation needing the others to be there to make it sound effortless, and yet specific and full.
It’s Week Three of rehearsal for the actors – so in many ways, the actors just want to run the show, get the lines in their body, and get the “gist” of moments – but it’s great to watch Mark be amazingly specific with honoring the little road maps along the way.
I know many playwrights who fret about punctuation for just this reason – when you’re not there (the play has been done multiple times for years, like CLYBOURNE PARK), your punctuation is what guides the actors and director in your absence.
I watched them work for about an hour on two pages – noting each piece of punctuation and trying to decipher it – excited to see how that really specific work plays out when they start running the piece.