Thursday, August 5, 2010

ENGAGING IN DIALOGUE (Spring Forum 2010 Wrap Up)

Founding Artistic Director of Looking Glass Theatre, Justine Lambert begins the complicated process of Post- Forum Wrap Ups. After every Looking Glass Writer/Director Forum, each director has a one-on-one meeting with Justine to discuss the Forum: what went wrong, what went right, the overall creative process and how each artist can continue to move forward in her relationship with the theatre.
PART ONE: Engaging In Dialogue

First I got to meet with Amanda Thompson,  Director of Ampersand: A Romeo & Juliet Story - ACT II by Mariah MacCarthy. We’ve done this before. This was Amanda’s fourth Forum so I feel like I know her a little. Yes, only a little. Isn’t that funny? People take a long time to really get to know and sometimes artists even more so. We put our stories out there in our work so often our personas are a bit guarded. But I digress. I’m really enjoying the process with Amanda. She’s talented and smart and a really interesting person to boot! I hope our relationship continues to grow.

We had so much ground to cover in our meeting. We discussed the current summer acting internship, the upcoming children’s show Betsy is Bored, Bored, Bored, Bored, Bored!, a new script she’s interested in workshopping and of course Ampersand. I’m afraid that with so many subjects each one only got a few minutes, but a lot of good information came out of the discussions. I’m very excited to see what she’s going to do with Betsy not to mention many other projects going forward.

I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with the three first-time directors who each directed work by the lovely playwright Jennifer Barclay. Dara Malina directed Constriction; Laura Hirschberg directed Swallow It; and Alex Mallory directed Snapshot.

Having my first Forum follow up with these ladies was enlightening. So exciting to hear that Alex just worked with three-time Forum playwright Lauren Yee in the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival. Small world. Who knew that Dara worked at the Prospect Park Alliance in my own ‘hood, Park Slope? What a great place to have a day job. And I learned that Laura just directed a full blown production of the opera The Magic Flute at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College with costumes from the Met - “.very posh!” Wow, these ladies are up to such cool stuff!

One thing all three agreed on was that Jennifer Barclay was terrific to work with, described as “lovely,” “wonderful” and “adorable.” I think Alex expressed something we all felt; that having a playwright be so enthusiastic and appreciative makes us all proud of our work and helps us remember that we’re doing something valuable.

As always, I felt honored by the opportunity to discuss these artists’ processes and get inside their heads. I learn so much from these conversations it’s like an ongoing class in directing and theatre

Justine Lambert

Artistic Director

Looking Glass Theatre -
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