This week, our theme is SECRET ART. To kick things off, we sat down with the director of Caught, Lee Sunday-Evans, to chat about physical language, spoilers, and the secret to good directing!
What attracted you to Caught?
I’m attracted to the structural inventiveness, and to the incredibly intelligent way that the piece is illuminating the complex layers of perception that go into making a person’s understanding of ‘reality’ or ‘truth.’ And – Chris is extremely good with language.
You work as both a director and a choreographer. Do you find your work as a choreographer informs your work as a director? Are there things that can be expressed through movement that can’t be expressed in language?
In any production, I think of there being a verbal text (the script), a physical text (the staging), and a visual text (the design). The composite of these three texts creates the audience’s experience. Because of my background in modern dance, I definitely think that I am interested in how to expand the range of physical expression that an actors body can bring to the stage, and also how rigorous, acutely tuned stage pictures can contribute to how the audience experiences the story in a more specific, visceral, and engaging way.
How do you feel about spoilers in the theatre? Do you believe in keeping an element of mystery around your work?
Well, I’m sensitive to not spoiling the plot of things for other people. But a huge part of my job is to try to watch plays and stories as if I’m seeing it for the first time, not anticipating what’s coming next but experiencing HOW the story is being told moment to moment. Is there more juice in this moment? Should this emotional peak be hotter? Should the rhythm of this section be different to more directly provoke suspends or contemplation? So I guess that’s all to say – I enjoy watching how stories unfold even if I know it already.
Name three secrets to directing.
1. LOVING actors
2. Knowing when and in what way it’s most effective to tell a collaborator something
3. Having an insatiable depth of curiosity about how people and relationships and societies work
What are you working on next?
I directed a 3-woman Macbeth that’s running all summer at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Then this amazing play about tennis and masculinity and relationships called Don’t You Fucking Say a Word by Andy Bragen which will be at 59E59 in the Fall. And a new play by Jaclyn Backhaus that’s being developed through a collaboration between Playwrights Horizons Theater School and Clubbed Thumb. There will be lots of fun pop songs and dancing in that one!