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  • Steph

the road to edinburgh: finding a director

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

I knew from a pretty early point that I didn’t want to direct my show. I stand by this decision. Of course, this is not a one size fits all decision. However, if you are looking to write and be in your own solo show then I would very much suggest thinking about getting another person to come in and work with you on the project. I have a couple of reasons for this. There are many but here are the three that came to mind this morning.

1) Another set of eyes

He is so never going to read this post but I am eternally thankful for my director’s input, creative thought, and artistic work on It’s Beautiful, Over There. John Michael MacDonald saw my one woman show at the Camden fringe and we ended up meeting up to discuss it. We talked about goals – both creative (where I wanted the story to go) and practical (where I wanted the show/production to go). He asked some fascinating questions about story that I didn’t have answers to. When it came to the rehearsal process, he helped me cut up and put my show back together. He pushed me after the Ed Fringe as well to revisit it and we ended up cutting up the show and putting it back together one more time. I did not want to do this. In fact, I railed against him when he suggested it. I got so annoyed. But he persisted. He asked me why I didn’t want to try and make the show even better. That stumped me. I (ungracefully) conceded that he might maybe MAYBE have a point. The show that we took to the Tristan Bates in February of 2020 (what a time) was truly the story I want to tell. I’ll never be able to thank him enough for that.

2) A different background

John Michael and I come from very different artistic backgrounds. He went to LISPA and has a strong understanding of physical theatre. This is a real weakness of mine. He was able to push me in rehearsals (and I needed pushing). We improvised, tried things out, failed. He pushed different bits of the show beyond the limits of my knowledge and imagination. He also had some great warmups and I very much appreciated the beginning of rehearsals and the warm up time before a show.

3) Emotional support

This is hard. It’s rewarding. It can be fun. But it can also suck. Especially when you are doing a solo show – life can feel quite lonely. It’s just you on stage and there is not post show camaraderie of “wasn’t it funny when x happened” or “oh woe is me, did you see me flub that line” or “wasn’t the audience funny/boring/wonderful/terrible today?!”. It’s so key to have someone else around to support you as you rehearse, perform, and put your heart out into the world.

Especially after this year, I am grateful for the memories I have of this show and of working to get it up on its feet. I am especially grateful for the fact that I didn’t embark on this creative endeavour alone. I could not have done it without the belief and time that John Michael put into this story.

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