The Miraculous Mandarin
About a year ago, Bill Eddins at the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, asked me to direct The Miraculous Mandarin. It is usually done as a ballet, but he wanted to do it in it’s original form, as a “grotesque pantomime”. Sure, why not?
Casting, preparing, scheduling (and more frustrating scheduling), listening over and over to the music, and some many hours of rehearsal, and now here we are all on the other side of it…
I guess making art has to be painful, and this was no exception. I learned a lot about directing. Dealing with lights, set, costume, and more questions than should have to be answered by any one person. Of course there was a great cast, and a great designer who all did great work – but inevitably here are more and more questions. And then I had to call the show as well. Learned about that too.
I learned about patience, and how you really have to try to be a good parent. I am pretty sure I was not the best parent, but I tried real hard. And I did lose my patience. But ultimately, whose fault is that? Mine. Shouldn’t happen.
I also learned that when you create something, you are ultimately responsible for all the choices. After the first disastrous run, I wasn’t sure what Bill thought of it. I couldn’t get an answer from him. It was really frustrating, and annoying. I was pissed. At least say something!
I find myself in these approval seeking situations more than I should. This was a big eye opener for me. I had to look at what I (we, but I am the responsible one here…) had done, and had to resolve what MY opinion was. Was I happy with the way I had called the lights for that run? Of course not! I didn’t have a cue sheet, and I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Things went very wrong, and I lost it by the end. I lost my cool. But apart from that, I had to look at it and decide, definitively, what I thought about it. And I came out feeling very proud. Feeling very confident that I had made the right choices.