Why did you decide on Fables for Friends?
A lot of the decision making behind the selection of FFF was constraint based. That's one of the first/hardest things that a director encounters when working on a show. I looked through probably 500 titles that fit the constraints, of those I would say maybe 150 had titles were interesting enough for me to actually read about. FFF was one that I was drawn to largely because I find it to be an intriguing mixture of comedy and drama. I love shows that can make you laugh while still showing you something that matters, and FFF is a very good example of that.
What is the show about? Why is it relevant to freshmen at Tufts?
Wow...honestly what isn't this show about? It's your life dude! I think scene 3 is the most obviously relevant scene because it's set in a college dorm room. Getting past the surface though this show is just all about the roles that friends will play in your life. If there's one thing that was on my mind when I moved here from California last year, it was that I needed to make friends and fast! FFF is dedicated to the idea that friends are the ones that will just let you be. Most people in life make demands on you in one form or another, friends know that they have to give as much as they get, and that's what makes them unique and beautiful relationship
Have you directed before?
Yes! I've been focusing on direction since my Junior year of high school. The first mainstage that I directed was Freak by Naomi Iizuka in my Senior year. This will be my second mainstage lead direction role. In the interim I have served as an assistant director on numerous professional and academic productions. Directing is a total blast and I heartily suggest it to anyone interested in theatre.
How did you get involved in 3Ps and directing?
HAHA, if any of you joined me on one of my tours then you've heard this story. It's pretty long so I'll compress down to the elements. Basically I walked into the 3P's ice cream social meet and greet and I was freaking out about everything! I walked up to the main booth, and spoke with one Jeewon Kim (he was one of many total bosses in 2011...be jealous). I asked if I could AD anything with them, he told me he wasn't doing anything at the time, but he would go grab his friend Logan (another such boss). Logan sat down with me asked me a bit about my directing and “hired” me on the spot. The show was Assassins, and believe me you don't want to get me started I'll never shut up. In any case, at that point the ball was rolling. Even if I had wanted to slow it down I don't know that it could have been slowed. That's one of the beautiful things about this community, if I might mangle a quote “it want's you to want it, it needs you to need it, it would love you to love it.” From there I just kept doing stuff and I won't stop till I graduate and I hope you guys join me for the next three years of adventures!
How did you prepare for rehearsals over the summer?
Preparation for this show was difficult. It was a late and uncertain start, and I had never actually seen any of the actors play their roles, which is absolutely terrifying. To be totally honest, preparation in advance was fairly shallow for me in terms of the actors and the blocking. It was a lot of discussion with the designers about concept and artistic unity. And even more discussion between Jeff (the SM) and I about scheduling and general directorial neediness. With how much we all had going this summer I think our prehearsal (shut up it's a word) was pretty excellent. As far as my actual process, a lot of reading and just kind of thinking. I don't like committing much to paper without discussing it with my actors first, so it was all still very mercurial upon my arrival.
What are you most excited about this week?
I think it's twofold. I take a huge amount of pride in theatre that I'm even marginally involved in, so when I'm actually directing a show I get pretty emotionally invested. So the first thing I'm excited about is watching this thing that starts as ink and paper and empty words become a complex, fleshed out, human story. To be honest, in reading this show I was so nervous; too many things contributed to that than I can list here but needless to say I was freak-a-leakin. As soon as I head the actors during first read I knew this would be a blast. Which brings me to number two, which would, and always will, be working with the people. 3P's is a community of friends first, which is what theatre should be. Coming back a week early to an empty campus and spending every day with these people is a deeply badass experience.
What do you think your biggest challenge is this week?
TIME AND TECH! I think most directors will complain about this regardless of the months and millions that they have available to them...I call mularkey on their protestations. Putting up a fully realized, conceptualized piece in a week (in a hurricane no less) requires more than a little coordination, and more than a lot of compromise. A director I've worked with says that a director is only as good as the people he works with, which is truer than anyone who doesn't direct can know. Fortunately, throughout this whole process I have a had a hugely supportive and talented Production Staff that maintained a very can do attitude about most of the things that I got all artsy about...which has been a huge comfort.
Is it weird being a sophomore while most of the other cast and pstaff are upperclassmen?
You know at first I thought it might be, then about 6 minutes later I remembered where I was and what I was doing. It's only as weird as I wanted to make it be, and while I love nothing more than being wacky, this didn't need it. There is such a level of mutual respect among members of this cast and crew (at least I respect all of them...sure hope that's a two way street :D). But a little more seriously, this is not a community where being an underclassman makes a you a second class citizen. Pardon my french, but if you're chill and you kick a ton of ass then no one will make it weird for you...and if they do talk to me and I'll be and intimidating and beat 'em up...grrrr?
What is it like directing in the arena?
Directing in the arena is pretty uncomfortable at first. I knew what I was getting into but it's a monster of an experience regardless. After the first few scenes it started to feel pretty natural and I caught my stride. I don't know though, I think when you all see the show that will be the real test of how it is for me directing in the arena. My goal is to have 100% of the audience be 100% engaged in the show. That is both lofty, and a bit foolish, especially given the constraints of always having someone behind someone no matter what I do. So if I have you locked in for 95% of this show I think I succeeded. And honestly at this point, my actors are such ballers that no amount of Angry Birds can keep you occupied here!
Favorite character and/or line and/or scene?
The hardest of questions...sheesh Abby. Without giving away too much I'll give a quick go at each one. Character: This is actually the hardest one because almost every character is either a bit of me, or a bit of a friend of mine. If I had to choose I would say Cappy from scene 9, once you hear his closing monologue I hope you'll know why. Line: Well it's a comedy right? So I laugh a lot when I'm working on this show (which is always vaguely awkward, a bit like laughing at your own joke) but maybe never more so than when Deirdre enters with “This seems to require some comment from me” and Nicky responds with “What Doesn't!?” Part of it, obviously is the actors' brilliant deliveries, and part is that it's such a perfectly true moment. As far as favorite scene, this is tough because each one has a very different attitude. I won't go into specifics because I don't want to ruin it, but 3 is probably my favorite to watch. The one i feel most strongly about and will end up thinking about most (both during and after the show) is scene 4.
Favorite moment of rehearsal so far?
IMPOSSIBLE, I mean I'm only two days in as I write this and I can't even remember all of the good moments. If you really want a look at what I think is awesome and fun and such, well, ask me in person! But I'll provide an answer. The moment that made me happiest was when we ran scene 4 at lightning, super speed. I can't tell you why but that was a very important moment for me. To be a little sillier, sitting and watching dumb animal movies was pretty fun. Also, in retrospect, I'm pretty proud of my line concerning the actors' relationships' to set changes. If you haven't yet read all of Abby's fabulous posts, then now you have to so you can find out the big mystery of what I said!
Do you have any advice for freshmen interested in directing?
DO IT! Directing is awesome! Like many things in life doing is the best practice for directing. Unfortunately, there's only so much stage space available to us so we can't all be directing all the time. When it comes down to it directing is a whole melange of talents and quirks. Reading, and communication are the biggest pieces. You have to be able to read something and quickly dig past the grassy, soily layers and find the bedrock, the real core of the piece. Communication is the even more important factor. It doesn't matter how brilliant your artistic vision is if you can't effectively communicate it to your cast and designers. There are a ton of other things that go into but I would focus on those two first. If you want to talk more about directing I would be more than happy to talk to you! Let me know!
Now, Abby said I could have my own little bit here, and by damn I'll take it. With Drama as one of my majors it's really no surprise that you're getting the gushing review from me here. I urge you guys to consult second opinions. You'll find that 3P's appeals as much to Engineers, International Relation-ers, and Child Developers as it does to me. Now I can't make anyone else talk to you (but I'm sure they would be missing out!). Instead I'm just gonna offer myself up in their place! So if you wanna talk find me anywhere! Balch is a pretty safe bet, I live in Carm so anywhere up hill is good. I'm a tour guide so give me a yell if you see me walking backwards somewhere (yell especially loudly if I'm about to be walking backwards off somewhere) or just email me! Cole.firstname.lastname@example.org or Colester11@yahoo.com either one works. I do shows because I love directing, but I did this show because I love when my work means something to some one I care about. Well without getting overly cornball on you guys, I care about this community (both 3P's and the broader Tufts experience). This school means a whole hell of a lot to me and I'm really excited to be adding another 1.5k to my extended family! So on behalf of myself and everyone on this staff, be happy, be healthy, be welcome and more than anything...be on time to the show, or else you might miss some shenanigans!
Cole von Glahn