Directing the iconic Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing has been a whirlwind romp at SCR. We did the design presentations on Tuesday, May 2, and three weeks later to the day, I drove away from Costa Mesa, job complete. Thank you to John Glore for having me. Thank you to the off the charts gifted and hilarious sextet of actors, and the fast and accomplished designers.
The TYA program has artists retool their bios for young theatergoer consumption. Here is mine. (The “great artist at my college” was professor Lou “Luigi” Salerni).
The arts were loved and supported where I grew up in Miami ,FL. Starting in 4th grade I left my elementary school one day a week to attend a special arts school where I got to make believe all day long in drama class.* It wasn’t until college that I considered I would do anything other than act in plays. There was a great artist at my college who taught the directors how to direct. His directing work inspired me to try directing. He taught me how to imagine what the story on the page looked and felt like off the page, with actors and designers telling the story upon the stage. My work on Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is dedicated to my 7 year old daughter, Caroline, who asked me to direct a play for children, and has given me some great ideas for the show.
*For publication I left out the part about how I was first enrolled in the music program of the special arts school. The only thing that separated music and drama and visual art were accordion doors, and all day I heard the drama students doing improvs and scenes, and I wanted to be over there with them instead. One day when the drama class had a substitute, I snuck into drama after lunch. I got hooked before my music teacher realized I was missing.
The rest is family history. I asked my mom to talk to the drama teacher. She did, and Mr. Mac (short for Mr. Tim McNamara) arranged for me to transfer to drama. It was a dream come true. That was Rainbow Park Expressive Arts Center, which led to Norland Jr. High, North Center for the Arts, which led to PAVAC (Performing and Visual Arts Center), which transformed into New World School of the Arts, where I was in the 2nd graduating class. Kudos to Dade County Public Schools, who, like I said, fosters the arts.
Fellow SDC director Carl Cofield has a similar path and was in the first graduating class at New World. Proud of Carl and his work in the American theater.