My work is guided by several key elements, outlined below:
Actor-Based Storytelling: Actors are magic. I firmly believe we primarily go to the theatre to see actors perform. The best plays are the ones in which a tight-knit ensemble is allowed to soar. I always go into rehearsals with some ideas to start with and an end goal—but the path the actors and I take to get there is full of experimentation and play. I do not treat actors like pieces on a chessboard. I do not tell them exactly how to move or exactly what to do at each moment. This approach is sure to create a production devoid of life. Instead, I encourage actors to take risks. I use improvisations to guide blocking and character development. I work WITH the actors—I’m on their team, not outside of it.
Unexpected Comedy: All my plays, even the tragedies, have comedy in them. I am perpetually looking for unexpected moments or opportunities to create a well-placed moment of levity. I believe we laugh at things that are recognizable—comedy is a powerful tool to draw audiences in and to make them care about the characters. I also think encouraging actors to find comedy or lightness in moments keeps them creative, and allows them to explore more options during the rehearsal process.
Vulnerability and Humanity: I have zero interest in stereotypes or stock characters. I relish emotionally open, honest, and surprising performances. I like seemingly dainty princesses who hit people. I like seeing a villain get scared. I like seeing stoic characters crack and cry. As a director, I prioritize allowing each character to have a full range of emotions during their journey.
Wonder: I am drawn to plays that take our breath away and remind us of the vast possibilities of the human experience. While I do not like having design choices get in the way of actors, I often look for opportunities to create moments of wonder that may not be expected, and for moments when design can support or enhance what the actors are already doing.
Diversity: I am tired of seeing all-white, male-dominated productions. I work hard to ensure that I have included a diverse number of voices in the creative process at all stages. I also am aware and accept that I have much to learn in this area, and am constantly working to be a better advocate through art.