Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Directing Focus

At tonight's sold-out performance of Henry V, I actually experienced something that our director had previously commented would be perfect if it happened. During a lot of the play, I am hanging around the edges of the stage watching the action taking place. I leap in, narrate a little bit and inspire the actors/students, and then I fade over to the side again to watch the action as it develops. During one of our first rehearsals, Director Aaron said that whenever he looked over to me and saw me watching, I served to direct his attention back over to the scene that was playing out onstage.

So at the performance tonight, a man wearing a very obvious blue shirt was sitting in the front row. During the opening scene, he kept glancing from the action onstage over to me in the corner. But I just remained engaged with the scene, and I always felt his head swivel away from me and toward the action. Even though it kept happening through most of the scene, he would always look away form me and toward the action that I wanted him to watch. It was a very clear and very immediate example of how powerfully an actor can direct the focus of the audience. Pretty cool.

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