Every Monday night, eight Seniors meet during a three-hour time block and experience the overwhelming challenges, rewards and intricacies of directing a play. Through analyzing and critiquing their peers’ work along with their own, the group is able to freely communicate ideas among one another, participate in different directorial styles, ultimately writing and producing finished products. Meet this year’s Directing Class.
During the past three years, ENC has offered interested students the opportunity to take a stage and screen directing class with Tara Brooke Watkins, professor in the LTCA Department and resident theatre director. This class offers aspiring student directors and lovers of theatre the unique opportunity to direct their own productions as a class and individually.
Currently, the students in the directing class must stage and direct a scene from a pre-existing play of their choosing. Their job is to assemble a cast and create a set to stage a performance of at least ten minutes from their chosen play. The classmates held open auditions for students, faculty, staff and friends, then chose from the pool of applicants. The chosen plays range from classics like “No Exit” and “A Streetcar named Desire” to comedies and dramas like “Six Degrees of Separation” and “Not about Heroes.”
Watkins insists that directing is challenging on every level, so it is important for students to be organized and have strong leadership qualities to manage both time and the people they are currently directing. Watkins provides her students with their own creative control over the plays to achieve the educational goal of showing an audience the execution of the student-directors’ ideas.
Senior Kayla Rearick Kish is directing a scene from the cult classic horror-musical, “Little Shop of Horrors.”
Frankie Bruny chose “In the Blood,” a tragedy written by Suzan Lori Parks. The play takes place in New York and is about the struggles of an impoverished African American woman who is surrounded by negativity, no matter who she turns to for support. Bruny will direct a scene that involves Hester, who is the main character, a reverend, and an entitled rich woman named Welfare. While developing the scene, Bruny said “the hardest part was organizing the set pieces and using specific lighting features to highlight those same pieces.”
The Directing Class provides students with a laboratory in which they can express their ideas and visions while simultaneously producing something tangible. This class provides valuable directing, evaluating, and team-work experiences, which serve as a vital asset to students interested in pursuing any subset of theatre arts after college.