Day 147 April 11, 2023 Drinking Blood

Actors always think they are the best and most creative to ever take the stage. That is why they are good actors but sometimes they take it too far. Sandy Scott, Tammy Strouse, and I had different styles of directing. One of the hallmarks of my technique was freedom on stage. The one cardinal rule of the theatre is to never upstage another actor. Upstaging happens when an actor stands in such a location that the other actor(s) has to turn their back to the audience. The other way to upstage someone is to do something that distracts from the main action. My approach of giving a little freedom to actors has haunted me a couple of times. Nothing can be as bad as my production of Dracula in 2004. It was my second production and so I was a little naive and thought that everyone would know this. They may have known but they sure ignored it sometimes.

In the story of Dracula, he has a minion called Renfield who is always doing his bidding. Renfield was also a drinker of blood but was able to put it off by eating flies and other insects. Carlos was Dracula and an imposing figure. Dr. Seward was Played by Robert and he was perfect for the role. You have heard about Robert because he was also Tevye from a few days ago. Renfield was played by Ryan. All of them were quality actors and fun to work with. The nights of performance when things went south, never to return. There is a scene where Dr. Seward and Dracula were talking. Renfield was supposed to be in the back quietly picking insects and flies off of the curtain and flying around his head. During the first performance, Renfield decides to move off of the window sill and crawl around the floor searching for insects. I just thought it was a lapse and I reminded him to not upstage the rest of the actors. I thought all was well but when that scene came, Renfield did the same thing but this time came closer to the other actors. I again reminded Ryan that he was upstaging his fellow actors. I was assured that it won’t happen again. Closing night comes and you can guess what happens. This time he is at their feet and picking imaginary bugs off of Dracula’s pants. He even lifted the carpet to search underneath it. This was a great group of students and I loved working with them and even staying in contact with them on social media. They did cause me to have the upstaging talk to the cast on the first day of every production.