I had a learning experience last night. It wasn’t comfortable, but true learning experiences often are. I learned something about myself and I’m not sure how I feel about it. How I feel is pretty irrelevant, because it is true. True enough to be squirmy in my gut.
Here’s the story. Last night the very sweet and wonderful people at Fantasy Playhouse asked me to videotape the dress rehearsal of their annual production of A Christmas Carol. Their normal person was booked, and they heard about my employment problem so I jumped at the chance. I didn’t think anything of it. I’ve been in the play, and I’ve directed the play… the story is one of my favorites. The script is pretty darn good, and I’ve loved watching it in the past. I even auditioned this year, but it didn’t work out.
So, I was videotaping and I couldn’t help it. This little voice in my head wouldn’t keep quiet, and it just over and over again told me all about how the things going on the stage was wrong. It drove me batty.
I directed the play in 2006. I had a great cast. I had a fabulous tech crew. The show was marvelous. I can honestly say it was a proud moment in my life.
Now this year’s show is directed by friends. I even interviewed them for my podcast. I love them dearly and have completely enjoyed other shows that they have directed. I respect both of them as directors, actors and people. So while anyone can have a bad show, I don’t think that’s what made me feel the way I did.
In fact, the audience was amazingly appreciative. They laughed, cried and shouted at all the right moments. Prior to seeing it, having interviewed them, I understood the directors intentions. They had decided to go “back to the roots.” The idea, with this being the 20th Anniversary, they would return as much as possible to the original show. Directors over the years have added some things and taken away others, so they wanted to get it back to the original.
So the directors are solid, the show is solid and the concept is solid. So why was I all upset with what I saw? I think the problem wasn’t the show… it was me.
We now come to the thing I learned. I clearly can’t watch a play I’ve directed. It felt like someone had stolen and ruined what I’d managed to accomplish.
It’s not like I’ve had many opportunities to learn this. Is not like that many shows get repeated year after year, so the odds of seeing a play I directed again is pretty slim. And I’m a little disappointed in myself. I was completely and totally biased against the play before I’d even seen it and I didn’t even know it.
Now I’m going to be spending lots of time with the play, editing four hours of video from last night’s shoot. I hope after realizing that I’m the one with the problem, I can look at it differently. It’s almost a second chance, and you don’t get those very often.