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Of Course, I Can Direct Broken River

Being asked to direct a play by friend and playwright Darren Brealey after quite a substantial hiatus was quite daunting, but as in my usual style – I can do it!

Darren gave me eight plays to peruse in my spare time which at the moment seems to vanish as soon as I think of it!! What do I want?

  • A challenge

  • Small cast

  • Dramatic

  • Interesting characters

  • Not too long with no interval!!! – That’s always a bone of contention! Might have to survey before lights up!

Eight scripts down to two – I chose Broken River.

Broken River was a 45-minute play Darren had written, directed, and produced originally called ‘Separating the Dust’ performed in regional Victoria and then in Kensington, I saw both productions and had lots of visions of how also it could be staged. Darren decided to elaborate on the theme (out go those visions/ideas!!) and now the 45 minutes is 110 minutes, which I saw as a task I should delve into.

Why this play? It has a very strong undercurrent and very strong characters all vying for attention. It could not be performed just as is because the entry-level would be too high.

So many layers to wade through and to find those soft moments and capitalise on them to move the play on its trajectory, taking the audience on a joy ride, to its climax and beyond.

Have read the play, well lost count of how many times now, and am still finding nuances to find the right person for the job and to pass on these valuable insights to the actors when we commence rehearsals.

Finding the actor who can fulfill these roles in a 15-minute timeslot is never an easy task. Everyone is nervous and to give off the impression ‘I know what I am doing’ and to make them feel comfortable, relaxed, valued, and listened to, is just so important to ensure we get the best out of their 15 minutes from both sides of the table.

We were very fortunate in our first round of auditions to have a talented bunch. The debrief session after we had packed up and wandered home was easy – no fighting! We found three out of the four required and then the bubbling doubts rise to the surface for a fourth person. Was this decision right? Do we hang on to what we have or let it go? Luckily we do have a good sense of being on the same page – so those niggles fade away because that’s what our collaboration and support for each other is.

Another round of auditions to find that elusive Virginia. Where is she? I am sure we will find her. I have put the character in a pink bubble and sent it off into space to let it land at the 1 pm auditions on Friday 21st July!

Soon I will view Gasworks Theatre to plot out entrances and exits and what I will need for lighting, staging, props, etc. Catch you then.

To be continued…….

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