There are many roles in the theatre - some sung and some unsung. The beauty lies within the collaboration. Many people often have an idea of what an Assistant Director does, but it generally changes from show to show. Communications Intern Sadie La Manna sat down with Megan Georgeo, Assistant Director of A Lesson Before Dying, to uncover HER role as Assistant Director.
1. Tell us a little about A Lesson Before Dying.
A Lesson Before Dying is an engulfing story that will leave you heartbroken and hopeful. It is a powerful piece set in 1948 Bayonne, Louisiana where a young black man has been sentenced to death by execution. After his lawyer, in an effort to save him, called him nothing more than a hog he starts to believe it himself and acts out as such. As Jefferson awaits his execution his godmother enlists the help of his former schoolteacher to teach him to die with strength and dignity, like a man. Each and every character in this backwoods Louisiana town learns something of their own along the way. With such courageous performers and a clear view from our director this story is accessible to anyone with an open mind and heart.
2. What are your responsibilities that contribute to the process and success of the show?
I am currently wearing a Stage Manager and Assistant Director hat so I feel my number one responsibility is communication. I am present at every rehearsal taking set, costume, props, light and sound notes along with giving blocking and line notes. I am in constant communication with our director, performers and theatre staff to ensure everyone is on the same page. I am lucky enough to have a director who truly believes in me, and my views, and has generously allowed me to direct a few scenes in the show. My main contribution to this process is keeping everything align and within the view of what we are creating on that stage.
3. What made you want to Assistant Direct A Lesson Before Dying?
Luckily I have worked on many shows in various ways with Brian Grant, and I had no doubt anything he directed would be a winner. I have been a fan of Romulus Linney since college so I was eager to read the play when Brian had approached me with the project. I fell in love with this story that night when I couldn't bare to not see what was on the next page, I knew I had to be a part of it.
4. What has challenged or surprised you in the position of Assistant Director?
I'm surprised at how vocal I've been throughout the process. Even previously assistant directing, I tend to keep views and opinions to myself and I feel I have really found a voice in this project. I generally have a hard time putting into words what I see, feel, or want but with this story and the people I get to work I've found a comfort and confidence in voicing my views.
5. What have you gained from this experience and process so far? Is this preparing you for directing in the future?
I have gained so much confidence from this experience so far, and that's due to Brian and our fearless cast. They are so open and collaborative to all ideas and opinions and are so willing to work and try things that it makes me feel like we're definitely doing something right. This process is absolutely preparing me for directing and being side by side with a director throughout an entire process is the closest I can get. It's shown me how important it is to create a safe space for your actors to work and explore, how to approach scenes with different angles and fresh eyes, and the importance building strong relationships with everyone involved on the project so collaboration happens freely and frequently.
A LESSON BEFORE DYING opens February 13th on our Mainstage.
PLAYERS BY THE SEA THEATRE
106 6th Street North
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
Players by the Sea is dedicated to enriching the community through excellence in theatre.
Players by the Sea is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization.