This year is a big one for me, for I will see my first full length musical produced on stage. Southeastern Louisiana University is producing High and Mighty November 17-21. Consequently, I feel like a woman waiting to give birth. It is the strangest/most exciting/scariest/most intimidating thing I have ever experienced. The good news is that the script is in the hands of a master. Jim Winter was kind enough to read my script, as a favor, about two years ago with the goal of offering me guidance to either
a) keep going, but revise
b) stop writing and learn to paint instead.
What happened was unexpected. He took the script under his wing and mentored me through the revision process. At the same time, he orchestrated a series of readings and workshops to support the development process. He confided to me that new play development was his favorite aspect of theatre. This process was exhilarating for him. The crowning touch for me came the day he asked me for permission to produce it on stage. Wow.
That was over a year ago, and we are now into the home stretch of rehearsals. Jim has treated the script as a doctor would a healthy pregnancy. He is positive, capable and gentle with the mother. Still, he is firm regarding the final stages (no pun intended) of this journey. Observing him at rehearsals has been one of my favorite pieces of this pie. The man exudes the patience (again-no pun) of Job as he sets actors free to discover their characters. Never once have I seen him spoon feed an actor a motivation, a movement or a line. He Socratically offers fodder for development, then stands back and lets them find their way. It is the most generous thing a director can do for an actor, no matter how seasoned, no matter how green.
How did this cast, crew and I get so lucky to have Jim as our leader? Hmmmm. It was just in the stars, I guess. All I know is that my due date is November 17, and I am certain that this baby is in the best of hands.