December 12, 2014
Last week, I had the opportunity to take part in an enjoyable Hamilton theatre tradition: the Directors’ Showcase. This event included five one-act plays, each directed by students in Directing. In many ways, the Directors’ Showcase is a miniature version of a full production process. In early November, the student directors were assigned the plays that they would direct, and the mounting of the Showcase took place over a few short weeks. Auditions were held in mid-November, and the technical and dress rehearsals, as well as the performance itself, happened shortly after Thanksgiving break.
For the directors, the Showcase serves as an opportunity to put the techniques learned in class into practice. Since for many of the students, this is their first directing experience, the fact that each piece is only about ten minutes long keeps the process from being too overwhelming. It also allows the directors to zero in on all the details of the play, so that they can mount the best possible production.
While this process may be a stressful one for the directors (as directing a play often is), every Directing student with whom I have spoken has recommended the class to me. In fact, some have gone as far as saying that, as a Hamilton student, I need to take the class.
The Directors’ Showcase provides an excellent opportunity for all theatre students on campus. Most actors and acting teachers say that young actors should take every possible opportunity to gain acting experience. For actors, the Directors’ Showcase provides a chance, with relatively low time commitment, to gain valuable acting experience. Both students who want to act but are unable to dedicate the time required in a main stage theatre production, and students who take part in the main stages, but are interested in gaining more acting experience, are encouraged to participate in the Directors’ Showcase.
In my own experience, acting in the Director’s Showcase is a fast-paced but enjoyable process. The directors of the plays in which I participated this year and last have often been students with whom I have worked in the main stage productions, and it is always interesting to work with them in a new dynamic. Since I have spent time with these students, I am even more motivated to help them realize their goals for each play they direct. Since the time commitment for Directors’ Showcase is so small, many people audition, and therefore, I had the chance to work with actors with whom I had not previously worked. It is my belief that the most enjoyable part of theatre is working with different people to create a piece of art that everyone involved cares about deeply. The Directors’ Showcase allows many Hamilton students to experience that.