Seussical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
The Theatre Company of Bryan/College Station,
Why this show?
I rarely turn down the opportunity to stretch myself or my audiences, and this show did both. When Adrienne Dobson, the Artistic Director at The Theatre Company of Bryan/College Station, approached me about directing her in this production, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. However, as I began reading the script, I discovered a character that was problematic, crass, and just plain offensive at times. Halfway through reading, I found myself questioning how I could agree to direct this show, while still trying to ally with those on the margins. However, as I read on towards the end, what I discovered instead was a portrait of a woman who knows that she is all of those things, but is also trying to be and do better. At the core of this comedy was one of the most meaningful Christmas stories I’ve heard in recent years.
I knew right away that everything in this show had to build to make the most emotional moments of the show feel utterly real, honest, and vulnerable. This meant that we focused our effort on creating a heightened personality that allowed for the broad, blue comedy to land with a bang, but also left room for that mask to slip in a very real, very painful way when it was time.
As with any one-person show, direction is incredibly collaborative, so Adrienne and I spent a lot of time talking through different perspectives before usually finding a happy middle. Ultimately, it affirmed for me that my style of directing fits everything from 40-person musicals to one-person shows: people first, and then focus on the “why.”
Photo credit: Alan Bryant, used with permission. (Full production photos forthcoming)