Monday, July 12, 2010

The Author and Auteur

What happens when you hear the script outloud either the first time or after a very long time?

It helps me immensely. I like hearing people respond to the piece. Sometimes during a reading you can get a thrill listening to the words coming out of actors' mouths. It is tough though in that you want to start directing right away.

There are somethings that a reading can't show you, can't tell you. Often a reading just can't tell you how powerful the visual component of the play will be. You can (and I have) spend alot of time and energy working on explicit descriptions of the nuts and bolts of the titanic as it goes down, but it just wont happen during a first read thru.

You can say "He stands there, eyeing the crowd" and never know during a read thru if that is the right moment in the script for such an action. Sometimes a reading can give you an excellent indication of pace, but other times it can't especially when action is being described rather than enacted.

In the end, I think that there is so much that is cinematic in its approach to a script, yes even a stageplay nowadays, that theatre is increasing less about literature and more about action. Shakespeare is precious, but if somebody tried that approach today, they would be told all sorts of feedback that would boggle the mind of a Bill's disciples.

That is not to say that you shouldn't be thankful for feedback. But, you should away look upon that feedback as a way to understand your deeper intent rather than as a way to make a more palatable 'product'. Everyone has an auteur inside them. That auteur has to be able to communicate, but still let the auteur smile and scowl and wink on occasion. Variety can be the wondrous result.

The author/auteur must be willing to listen to the response without abandoning originality and intent. The read thru is not a final judgement, but it is an experiment (god that is a hard word to type because of all it implies to so many out there). Even if the experiment fails, I say hold on to the intention of that experiment. Hold on to it as long as you can!

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