Workshop may give actors a new direction

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, March 29, 2005

To be or not to be, as Shakespeare once wrote, is the question.And it’s one many actors may consider when deliberating thechallenge of becoming a director.

A free workshop hosted by the Civic Center Playhouse from 10a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Lawrence County Civic Center mayhelp them take that leap while also serving as an educational toolfor others interested in community theater.

“I think it will really be of interest to anyone interested incommunity theater,” said Jim Oakes, president of the playhouse’sboard of directors and workshop instructor. “They can expect to getan A to Z of directing in a nutshell. I’ll boil it down to the keyelements.”

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Oakes, a veteran director of several successful playhouseproductions, said the workshop will walk people through the entireprocess – from selecting a play to its final performance.

“I’m going to try to make it as humorous and informative as Ican by using my experiences on and behind the stage so that peoplecan learn from them,” he said.

Oakes, who has also performed in many of the playhouse’sproductions, said that although the workshop is primarily targetingdirecting, it will also benefit other areas of community theaterpatronage.

“I think for all actors it’s good to understand what thedirector is doing, why he is doing something,” he said. “It willhelp an actor or stagehand be more receptive to direction.”

One element of the workshop key to the relationship betweendirector and actor is communication, Oakes said.

“It’s important to understand how the doors of communication canbe opened between directors and actors,” he said. “Actors cannotperform the way the director wants them to unless they understandwhat the director wants them to do.”

The workshop is the second one hosted by the playhouse since itwas established nearly a decade ago, but is the first specificallytargeting directors.

Oakes said he hopes that the workshop serves as a precedent.

“Further down the road I would like to see the playhouseschedule an actors’ workshop, but there’s not one planned rightnow,” he said.

People new to community theater may find the workshop theperfect opportunity to see if public performances are somethingthey would enjoy, Oakes said.

“It’s a lot of work, more than people believe, in getting a playfrom inception to stage, but it’s a lot of fun too,” he said. “It’sworth it.”

Oakes encouraged anyone interested in auditioning for a play toattend the workshop to get a glimpse into how the entire processworks.

The workshop is free and any materials needed will be provided,Oakes said.

For more information, call Oakes after 6 p.m. at (601) 587-7191or e-mail