Another trip down the sledding hill

One of the coolest parts of working in theatre is that it’s rarely boring. Even if you’re doing a play that isn’t going well, at some point that show will be over and you move on to the next one. A group of new friends and old get thrown together to create another production.

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Image thanks: Thoth, God of Knowledge via Flickr

I selected Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing last spring as part of our 2009-10 season at St. Clair County Community College. I loved reading the play to myself, and wanted to choose works that would challenge my actors and crew. The Real Thing will do exactly that. Last week’s auditions provided me with seven strong actors to play these complex characters, and now I can begin to picture what they will look like. But the read-through is what I really look forward to. I get to hear the early sounds of the characters’ voices, which is always different than I heard them in my head while I was reading the play myself. And that’s good. My job as the director is to help the actors individually — and as a group — to discover the truth behind their characters so they can show that truth to our audiences. If I’ve done my job well, each actor will know much more about their character than I’d imagined.

Starting a new production is like jumping on a sled at the top of a hill and holding on for dear life. Once we start, there’s no stopping, and things start to rush by you as you speed down the hill. Today we’re back on the sled. I can’t wait.

Author: Tom Kephart

Actor, director, writer, theater instructor. Social media guy. Sings for beer in karaoke bars.