“Each production is like a fingerprint,” Taylor Freeman, one of the directors in the Playwright Showcase, said. Freeman explained his simile by expressing how every play has a unique audience, set, director and actors. He explained how from all these unique elements, different experiences are realized and different obstacles need to be overcome.
The showcase is an entirely student-run production which will present four one-act plays. Each play has its own playwright, production manager, director and actors.
Freeman is directing “Invincible Sword Locking Technique,” one of the plays to be featured in the Playwright’s Showcase from Feb. 12 to Feb. 15 in the Blue Door Theater. Other plays in the limelight include: “Goodnight Amanda,” “Therapist for a Day” and “Lost and Found Souls.” Freeman revealed that “Invincible Sword Locking Technique,” written by Tim O’Donnell, tells the tale of two sisters sharing one last night before the younger sister departs for college, leaving behind a verbally abusive stepfather.
Although it is Freeman’s first year at Lane Community College, he has directed plays before and works with the Oregon Contemporary Theatre. He was the main director for “This Is a Text,” and the assistant director for “The Glass Menagerie” and “God of Carnage.” He said that his past experiences have helped him develop an ability to identify character motives.
He said he believes this ability will help him successfully direct his current play. Also helpful is his familiarity in planning the movement in a play, and knowledge of what he called meta-thinking, which he said is thinking about thinking.
There is still a lot to be done before opening night. “I need to solidify the set design, finish blocking, make sure actors are memorized and get with the light designer,” said Freeman. He stated that each play has different challenges, in this case communicating with other directors in order to schedule time for his rehearsals. In contrast, Freeman enjoys collaborating with the actors and the playwright, Tim O’Donnell.
Marly Gross, a first-year LCC student, will portray the younger sister Zody in the play. Gross says she feels she holds herself back and needs to work on emoting. She is utilizing what she has been taught in Acting II at Lane in order to get closer to the character Zody and focus on her actions.
Gross has appeared in several Shakespearean productions, including: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Tempest,” “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Much Ado About Nothing.” She agreed with Freeman’s direction of the play when she first read the script for “Invincible Sword Locking Technique.” Notwithstanding her list of credits, Gross says that she has not had professional experience, and that many of the titles were produced at schools.
Brian Haimbach, the lead theater faculty member and the advisor to the Playwright Showcase, said the showcase gives participants professional experience. When Haimbach first came to LCC, the theatre program was more akin to a community theatre; he hopes to turn the focus on the students. Haimbach says a professional production may require a few less rehearsals, but the showcase has the same structure and process. He added that the production acts like a safety net which allows participants to get their feet wet. “We’re not making or breaking anyone’s career,” Haimbach said.
Ultimately, Haimbach says he expects the rewrites for the scripts to get stronger, and the students to improve their communication skills. He wants the returning audience to see how the scripts have changed, and to give students the experience of producing a play.