The other night, while sitting in on a rehearsal for The Government Inspector, the director, Stefan Novinski, shared an interesting tidbit about directing that he was implementing more and more into his directing process. He said, whenever an actor asks the director a question about their character, the actor will usually have an opinion already. Instead of answering with a straightforward answer, the answer to the question should be, “I don’t know; what do you think?” The actor is then ready to present their view to the director.
To me, this approach to directing enforces the universally-accepted belief that theatre is a collaborative art, and allows it to remain collaborative between the actors and the production staff without the fear of total autonomy from one side or the other.
Coming at this from an actor’s perspective, if a director asks me for my opinion first before stating his or hers, I feel that my opinion is valued as an artist, and that I have the director’s trust to take the character where I feel is right for the play. It’s reassuring to me to have that permission to keep exploring and keep bringing new ideas to the rehearsal. In an art form that relies on collaboration in almost all aspects – production meetings, designing, casting, choosing material to produce, etc. – it’s comforting to me, as a young actor, to see that collaboration between the actors and directors is valued and respected. It motivates and encourages me to bring more ideas and questions to my directors in future productions.
I’ve had a blast sitting in on the rehearsals for The Government Inspector; it’s great seeing the show come together and develop so quickly. I cannot wait to check back in soon and see how much more the production has grown.
Until next time!