Fresh Milk is excited to have Bajan actor & director Levi King in residence with us, as we get our collaboration with the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) to host the second edition of the Emerging Director Residency Programme underway!
This project is funded by the NCF, and allows a local emerging director the chance to research, experiment, work with actors and connect with a theatre arts mentor during the course of the residency. Levi will be mentored by Barbadian performance artist, theatre director, writer and educator in theatre arts Sonia Williams. See more from Levi below about his first week in residence, and stay tuned for more updates on the programme!
The importance of open-mindedness in the process of directing
So, I began this residency last week, and to be honest I was anxious, never mind the constantly cool exterior. I know what piece I want to explore, I know the areas I wanted to improve (or thought I did), I knew to some extent the approach I wanted to take. I knew all this, but I still felt woefully unprepared, and it scared me. Then in my research process (reading some of the many books at Fresh Milk), I came across a statement in the book Scriptwork: A director’s approach to new play development about open-mindedness. In that moment one thing became clear. I was, up to that point, not being as open-minded as I needed to be. It made me immediately relax.
I know that a director has to have a solid plan, and know every detail of the work they are about to do. I completely overlooked the part of the work that also requires a director to be open-minded. Open-minded to the possibilities that the work can open up to you. Open-minded to ideas different than yours on a project that may actually work better than your own (but not so open-minded that other people end up directing your work lol). Open-minded to the process and all the dimensions and directions it can open up. The stage is a blank canvas, the script is the paint, the set, the technical, and performers are the brushes. Together, they can form a masterpiece.
In my realisation that I needed to be more open-minded, I abandoned the fear of my own failure for lack of being adequately prepared. I abandoned my fear of not being good enough to produce something of quality. I abandoned my feeling of needing to have every single aspect of this residency under complete control and began to refocus. I am now more open to the process that is learning through mentorship, when I didn’t realise I was closed off before. Though I still have much to learn, now I am more prepared to be open to learn it effectively. I look forward to the mentorship with Sonia Williams.
Here’s to week one, where by confining myself to a desk in a room, restricting my actions to reading for research purposes, I was reminded to be more open in my approach to the residency and to directing as a process. On to week two.
This project is a collaborative initiative, funded by the NCF Barbados