Almost two years ago I was asked as a St. Thomas Alumni to direct a short play written by a St. Thomas student. "Thieves of Paradise", written by Michael Pallotto was my first shot a directing in a professional theatre outside of my formal classes.
Theatre St. Thomas placed a call out for script submissions for the "What’s Next? Theatre Festival". Samuel Crowell, Esther Soucoup, and I were asked to direct. We were given our own crews of stage management, ASM’s and technical directors. It was like being given the keys to the castle.
When asked what was my favorite piece to work on, I will always think back to "Thieves of Paradise". The “What’s Next?” festival allowed me to get some work under my belt and find my style as a director.
I found that I loved humanism and realism in acting. This practice created a bond between the performer and the viewer. It had the ability to create a kind of voyeurism. It allowed me to think more about world building and what belonged in that world. I wanted the audience to feel like they were just watching real people go through this torment, like God watching from above.
My proudest moment was watching the actors in the boat mid-show. Castaway at sea in thunderstorm praying that God would save them. The ASM’s has covered the actors in water so it looked like they were drenched from the rain. We created a pinhole spotlight with a rain filter. A strobe light made the flashes for the lighting and the soundscape make it seem like the storm was getting closer and closer until it hit the climax and end of scene. They looked like a dot in a big sea of black nothing.
So, to sum up this post: Theatre St. Thomas’s ability to support St. Thomas students and alumni is a wonderful thing. I hope to see more of this kind of work in the future. It’s all well and good to put up known shows that will sell tickets, but sometimes you need a foot in the door to an industry.