A long time ago, I had a request from my friend Michael to write about the process of choosing a play for production. I don't know how other people do it, but for me it happens one of two ways. I either see a production, fall in love with it, and be filled with a desire to tackle it myself. That's how The Kabbalistic Psychoanalysis of Adam R. Tzaddik came to be. Or I read a script and something about it excites me enough that I want to bring it to life, which is what happened to Kingship de Facto and why Bare and Skin Tight are still on the boards despite the obstacles we've had in getting them off the ground.
This feeling of excitement is key because we have to live with the play for months. I've directed shows for the sake of getting a directing credit and I've found it hard to stay motivated for the length of the process. If it isn't something that both Kent and I really love, it's off the table.
As to what excites me, I'll try to answer that as best I can since people have asked me to define it. I gravitate towards plays that grapple with large ideas. Certainly a theme in my work is examinations of the nature of faith. Plays that explore spirituality will always get a look from me. So will plays that speak about love in a profound and uplifting way. I'm a history nut so I like plays that look at historical events or figures in a fresh way. I also like political plays that challenge accepted norms and prejudices without falling into polemics.
Plays that look at humanity as essentially unredeemable or hopeless, plays that show the dark underbelly of society, plays that are absurd in structure - no matter how well written, I'm not interested.
The next consideration is if it's within our means to produce it. The reality is that we are a small company still establishing a reputation, so our financial resources are limited. There are a few plays that I'd love to do but their scope is beyond our means at the moment.
Once we've determined that it is within our scope, we look at how we would approach producing it. It comes down to one of two variables: venue and casting. The two plays we haven't produced yet but plan to illustrate this. For Skin Tight, we've determined that its best audience is the Toronto Fringe, so that has left us waiting for the year that we win the lottery to gain a spot. For Bare, my conception of the production includes an touring actor I really want to work with, so it is a matter of making sure we can pay him enough to get him to stay with us for five weeks and to fit into his schedule.
From there it's all about the money, whether it's grants, fundraisers, donations-in-kind, our own pockets, or all of the above. Once all that falls into place, you have a show.
So Michael, was this post worth the wait?