TEN MINUTE MUSICALS - Leeway Productions, The Other Room Theatre, 15/01/17
Reflections of an Emerging Director by Luke Hereford
Observing Leeway Productions' Ten Minute Musicals project from the perspective of an Emerging Director, so far has been enlightening, intriguing and rewarding.
The group of Writers and Composers met for the first time this Sunday, and as always in such situations, it felt a little like the first day at school - ten strangers have been thrown together in order to creatively collaborate, and make five ten minute musicals - no easy feat, right? But, I can safely that our audiences at the showing on January 29th are likely to be in for some surprises, that promise to break free of the usual conventions of musical theatre as we know it - exciting!
From day one, I observed that the whole project places a large emphasis on the collaborative nature of the work form; Angharad and Becky have facilitated a safe and enjoyable working environment, wherein all the writers are invited to try new approaches through abstract tasks, and are encouraged to leave this three weeks having tried everything, and to reflect upon what, if anything, works for them as individual artists to add to their own toolkit for their own futures. From my own facilitation experiences, presenting a wide range of opportunities and choices for their future craft is incredibly important.
Unlike most other writing workshops, there's been little to no concern about the traditional structure of writing a musical, and through our series of explorative tasks, the writers have begun to think deeply about character, having touched upon "I want Songs" and "I am Songs" as a way of establishing character in the early moments of a musical. The writers are constantly being encouraged to think beyond what they know of themselves as artists, and the musical theatre form; this creative approach lends itself perfectly to that message.
Already these tasks have allowed me to think about how I might bring them into my own craft as a Director, particularly how they might be applied to existing texts, and it's really intriguing. Most importantly, week one gave a message to our creatives of breaking the mould, and finding the enjoyment and fun in collaborating with new people. I think week one has presented a few things I'd happily add to my own toolkit as a Director, perhaps it could be as simple as comparing myself to a dog with a bag on its head for the rest of my career? That worked pretty well this week.
Until next week, when we're joined by our singers, and I'm sure the collaboration and teamwork will continue to flourish. I'm certainly looking forward to it!
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