Amazing Grace

Written by Emma Kikue Munson

Powerhouse, 2013

This was my very first time directing during the first part of the Powerhouse program in 2013. Powerhouse has an Acting program, a Directing program, and a Writing Program. As part of the first day of the program, Powerhouse brings all of the programs together in a Spontaneous Plays festival. The writers have a certain amount of hours to write a ten minute play, then the directors get 1 day to direct one of the plays. My year, we had 3 writers and 5 directors, so Program Directors Tom Pacio and Ed Cheetam asked me to be one of the directors even though I was one of the Acting Apprentices. Because we were short one actor, my show had to be altered for 6 characters instead of 7.

Because of this, I got to really work with the playwright, Emma Kikue Munson. Each director was given a style to direct their play in, and mine was Cartoon. Emily Mendelsohn, one of the Directing Mentors (and eventually my director for the summer) worked with me to give me a basic understanding of directing and what they were looking for by giving me a theme to follow.

I made the mistake of wanting each actor to read a few lines of each character, especially with Emma in the room, so we could cast each role as best we could, and that ended up taking up a bit of my rehearsal time, but in the end we were able to not only get some great characters, but I was able to bring some key “cartoonish” images to life. For a first time directing, I’d say it was a success. It certainly got me hooked on directing.

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Photos by Buck Lewis