CoMo Theatre: Directors

One of the first real steps of any season is selecting a director for each show. At Columbia Entertainment Company (CEC) this is always a worrisome endeavor.  We want a quality director who knows what she’s doing and can keep costs down. Additionally we strive for directors who understand the show and have an artistic vision of what they want a show to be. Undertaking a show at CEC is no small task, most auditions take place two months before a show begins. By that time, a director should already have a strong idea of the characters, the set, the crew, the musicians, and the technical aspects of the show. For a director cultivating these ideas start early. This year, CEC once again selected quality directors with strong views on how a show should be brought to life. This article highlights two of the visions that each is bringing to the 33rd season of CEC Theatre.

Leslie Stock has never directed on the Columbia scene. This raised plenty of worries from the CEC board. Columbia has many opportunities for people to direct or assistant direct a show. Leslie’s only real directing experience was with a church production in Boonville. However, she has immersed herself in the Columbia theatre scene. She applied to direct Dracula, The Musical and meticulously showed her vision for the production. She researched the production by watching youtube videos of a Austrian production of “Dracula, das Musical” and understanding the characters, music and technical challenges of the show. She sought out crew members who have had experience at CEC and brought them on her team.

And, as is required by all directors, she created a beautiful mock-up of her vision of the set:

A doll house version of the set for "Dracula, The Musical"

The set opens in the middle with an upper level.

The "Dracula" set opens in the middle with an upper level.

With a strong, musically inclined cast Leslie’s production promises to be good, watch for a preview of it in the coming weeks.

Kirsten Malinee’s experience with CEC and the community theatre scene in Columbia is well known. She’s directed many of the darker stage II shows at CEC and has performed many memorable roles, such as the grieving mother in Rabbit Hole, which was later adapted to a feature film with Kirsten’s character being played by Nicole Kidman. However, for Lanford Wilson’s “Book of Days” Kirsten had to think long and hard about if she wanted to direct the late Missouri playwright’s show. She knew that this show, which involves a tornado hitting a southern Missouri town, is character driven. For that, she ultimately chose a simple set, shifting the focus to be on each actor and they character they portray.  Kirsten, a Stephen’s College alumnus and holder of an MFA in acting from Penn State, has taught acting classes for The Performance Lab. She’s already begun rehearsals for this November show, allocating plenty of time to work with each actor on  their character.

Also, if you’re interested, CEC still needs a director for our June 2012 show, “The Drowsy Chaperone”.

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