DSF’s Producing Artistic Director David Stradley will be directing this summer’s THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. He’s writing a blog entry each month to let DSF’s fans into the creative process behind the production.
As a director, now it’s crunch time. I’ve had a year or so to dream about the play and to work with collaborators on developing the physical world of the production. In just over two weeks, fourteen actors will walk into a room and the joyous work begins of exploring together how we will tell this story for our community.
One of the big things I’m giving thought to right now are the staging challenges. Our audience loved the in-the-round experience last year with The Taming of the Shrew. So, we wanted to give the audience another immersive viewing experience this year. The playing space for The Comedy of Errors will be a “runway” stage that is 64’ long and 8’ wide! Two of the characters talk about feeling like a drop of water in the middle of the ocean. It felt like an interesting way to try to capture that feeling was with a long, thin stage where the audience almost envelops the playing area. Also, in a play with two sets of twins, it felt interesting to have the audience be in two distinct seating sections, and to spend the play staring directly across at their “matched” audience section.
However, I’ve NEVER staged anything on a “runway” stage, although I’ve seen some thrilling theatre in that configuration. I typically do a draft of “pre-staging” in my script, diagramming out potential moves like a basketball coach drawing out a play to win the game with 2.7 seconds left on the clock. While I will still do this in the coming weeks, I’m guessing that even more of that “pre-staging” will get thrown away in the rehearsal hall as the cast and I figure out just what exactly it means to tell a story in that kind of space. It’s kind of scary to be facing the unknown – but scary is normally good for an artist.