An Inside Look at Directing “Gone Tomoro” with Tom Wojtunik
"Adventurous theater in Astoria"

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An Inside Look at Directing “Gone Tomoro” with Tom Wojtunik

1. What are the main differences between directing a reading/workshop and a fully staged production?
Tom

APAC is probably best known for its full productions–we do two a year, generally a play in the fall and a musical in the spring. We rehearse our full productions for 5 weeks. They are fully staged and feature full (often elaborate) designs, which we plan for months ahead of time.

Our staged reading series are rehearsed for much less time (sometimes only the day of). The actors hold the script, and there are no sets and costumes. Workshops live somewhere between the two–we rehearse them for a couple weeks and the actors are “off book”, but there really isn’t any design to speak of. Readings and workshops at APAC are really focused on the development of the script and letting the writers have an opportunity to hear the material out loud and work on it during the process.

Gone Tomoro will be a 2-night staged reading. Because there is a full score, we will be rehearsing for a week ahead of time, so the actors can learn the music, though they will still be holding scripts.

 

2. How do you work/collaborate with the creators to further develop the show?

It really depends on what the individual piece needs and who the writers are. Some writers are game for lots of meetings ahead of time, where I will ask questions as I wrap my brain around what they are trying to say. Sometimes that process can lead to rewrites.

Many times writers prefer to see what happens in the rehearsal room and respond with rewrites as the process goes along. This is the first public reading for Gone Tomoro–Tim and Galt have wisely decided to wait and see how the material plays when actors bring it to life and an audience is experiencing the story. It’s likely that they will have ideas about where to take the material after the readings at APAC are over, and I think it’s so exciting to be a part of that journey.

 

3. How do you help the actors connect with their characters when costumes and set are limited?

Honestly, cast smart people and you don’t have to worry about it. There is such limited time in a reading rehearsal process, that your primary gesture as a director is casting. I might have time to say one or two big notes to individual actors as we go–so you reserve that for the sort of linchpin note that will unlock a scene or moment for them.

 

4. Why do you feel readings and workshops are important to the development of a new musical?

Theatre isn’t theatre without the audience. The reason anyone writes a play or musical is for an audience, so without them, it’s always unfinished. Readings and workshops are a way for us to get close to replicating the experience of a full production in front of an audience, without the pressure of critics and reviews, or the risk of spending a large amount of money producing something before you know how it works.

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