Grace Cullin, assistant director for A Line in the Land, has some tips and tricks for any student looking to work with our YAT directors. Or, you know, any directors.
Grace’s Guide to Assistant Directing
Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert on being an assistant director, but I wanted to share some things that work for me. I don’t always succeed in doing all these things but I try. And effort goes a long way, right?
Before the session starts, make a few goals for yourself. Some of my goals this session are: be more outspoken, don't second-guess my own ideas, and stay on top of writing down blocking, cast homework, etc.
In rehearsals, always have either a script or a notebook in front of you. In devised theatre, we don't begin with a complete script. It's a messy process, and it's hectic and amazing, and it's way better if you write everything down. I think it’s really helpful to have something to go back to and look at what we did last rehearsal before going into the next.
Do not be afraid to ask questions and make suggestions (I’m still working on this one). I know it can be a little daunting to share ideas you’re not sure would work, but you should share them anyway because it could turn into something that does work! With this, you must also be open to criticism of your suggestions. Just because your director says that a certain idea won’t work for the scene, it doesn't mean it was a bad idea.
- After rehearsal, ask your director what the next step is. Are there notes that need to be sent out? Scene edits that need to be made? What should I have prepared by next rehearsal? I try to make a habit of asking if there is anything I should do for homework since a lot of what the directors give out is more directed to the cast. Also, try to be willing to do what your director needs: be prepared to lead exercises, or clean out the prop closet, or type blocking into the script.
You can see Grace's meticulous work in person at the Indianapolis Museum of Art! A Line in the Land comes to the Toby Theatre on April 21-22. Tickets are free for youth under 18! Buy or reserve your tickets in advance or buy them at the door.