Friday, September 18, 2015

Guest Post: Being Assistant Director of A LITTLE SHAKESPEARE


Since 2013, Two River’s education department has produced a 70-minute adaptation of a Shakespeare play, directed and designed by theater professionals and performed by talented high school students. It is called A LITTLE SHAKESPEARE. There are many backstage opportunities through this program as well – stage crew, assistant stage managers, assistants to each of the designers and the director.

Annie Zucker has been a part of the Two River Theater family for many years, writing and performing in various education programs as well as being a 2013/14 Metro Scholar. Annie has served as the Assistant Director for both A Little Shakespeare: As You Like It and A Little Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, working with adaptor/director Jason McDowell-Green. She graduated in May ‘15 from Ocean Township High School and will begin studying at Boston University in January ‘16, completing general studies through their January Boston-London program, and studying film after that. When asked to write about working with Jason and being the first (and second) Assistant Director for Little Shakes, Annie had some lovely and insightful things to say about the program. We will miss working with her for the upcoming A Little Shakespeare: Pericles, and we wish her the best!

From Annie Zucker:
Nothing can compare to the sense of accomplishment during the curtain call of the Little Shakespeare’s last performance.  All the hard work that the assistant director does during the course of the rehearsals, tech week, and actual shows is all worth it when the actors take their final bow. Jason McDowell-Green is undeniably one of the best directors to shadow if you have any interest in this field. In many cases teen interns are the assistant TO the director, where as in Jason’s case you are truly the assistant director. Throughout rehearsals you get to bounce ideas back and forth with him, and he always is willing to listen and try your point of view.
His work environment is a very relaxed atmosphere, but with that privilege comes a lot of responsibility. As the assistant director, you are expected to have read the show before the first rehearsal and have a prior understanding of what is going on in the script (trust me, this really helps). As rehearsals go from talks to actually having the actors on their feet, you do get to be more interactive and be more of a vital player in the game. Additionally, you listen in on meetings with the costumers and set designers.
During the tech week, which is my personal favorite time of a show, you are Jason’s notetaker. You sit with him as he watches his show. He is looking at a hundred things going on, so it is really important to be his scribe, so when he gives notes at the end of the run, he’ll remember to tell the actors the little things that probably would have slipped his mind otherwise. The actual run of the show is really fun as well, obviously. Staying backstage you are there to run down the dressing rooms if someone forgot their hat, help with quick changes, and just truly be that extra set of hands that someone needs. Your duties of director are gone, and you step into the role of joy. Especially during the show, you must just be present and enjoy every second, yes that is a part of this job! If the opportunity comes up for a chance to work with Jason, always take it. You will learn more than you ever thought you could. Being the assistant director in the Little Shakespeare program at Two River Theater is one of the best things you could do during high school. So don’t pass it up!



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