I don’t trust people who present me with a list of rules. Tried and true methodology? Sure. Experience? Absolutely. But as soon as someone tells me it has to be done a certain way or it isn’t going to work/isn’t right/will fail, I balk. I balk, because experience has told me, art can’t progress unless you think outside the box. In my world, intuition and creativity always trump the rules. Always. Trust your creative instincts and work with people who trust their creative instincts, and you cannot fail. But the inherent freedoms that exist in the Art World naturally attract control freaks. They can't help themselves. They must create tidy rows. Your job is to FIGHT THEM... as politely as you can.
STAY OPEN! You never know when inspiration will come to you. A walk through a hardware story can cause a set change that boosts the feel of an entire production. You can walk past an odd space and suddenly wonder if you could perform there. Meet a stranger and something tells you they’d be perfect for the next show. So you ask if they’ve ever thought about acting. Well they did act, in fact, a long time ago. And you cast them, and the audience goes crazy for them. Stay open!
DREAM. And if something looks like it won't work, dream bigger. I have yet to be disappointed living life outside the box. As for Control Freaks, you have to be on your guard against...
• The actor who tells another cast member how to say a line (Without fail, the worst, most insecure actor in the group);
• The director who directs by humiliation (A person who consistently brings actors to tears shouldn’t be allowed to direct anything but traffic);
• The crew member who says if it isn’t done exactly their way... Phhhffft.
Creativity always has to trump control. And artists HAVE to trump control freaks, but, well... just remember to be polite.
Meredith Bean McMath is a prize-winning playwright, award-winning historian, stage director, speaker and former Managing Director of Run Rabbit Run Productions, Inc.