The Friendly 4-Headed Director Monster
Post by Directors Lab Member Jessi D. Hill
A few months ago I started calling our director team “the friendly-4-headed-director-monster.” It still feels like the most accurate description of our team to me. We are all striving to be of one mind about the direction of the play each time we receive a new draft, but the concept of having 4 directors equally controlling the creative process can seem frightening and maybe even like a recipe for disaster to any outside eye. There is, of course, a lot of risk involved as this experimental set-up, but I think the challenge is something that excites and whets our theatrical appetites.
Our director collaboration will demand constant communication so the actors and design team consistently feel like we are a unified front. So far, what’s been a real surprise to all of us, is that we are not only open to experiencing what it will be like to fully collaborate as directors; but that we have already been able to experience the joys and benefits of having 3 other directors eyes on every moment – we all see something the other may not see. And when we disagree we have been able to have challenging and fun conversations without taking anything personally.
Though we each come from different backgrounds and approach our processes in different ways we all seem to share many of the same aesthetic tastes and truly trust and respect each other. We are eager to put the unified front we’ve built to the test in the rehearsal room and see how our process evolves.
Looking forward to bringing the 4-headed-director-monster into the rehearsal room in a few weeks!
Jessi D. Hill is a theatre director and recently named Associate Artistic Director of terraNOVA Collective. Recent credits include: Sladjana Vujovic’s The Tender Mercies (One Year Lease at Teatro Circulo, NYC), Mia McCullough’s Lucinda’s Bed (Chicago Dramatists), Alena Smith’s It or Her (soloNOVA Arts Festival at PS122, Berkshire Fringe Festival, 2010 Frigid Festival Audience Choice Award, NYC) Jeff Grow’s Creating Illusion (terraNOVA Collective, 2 New York Innovative Theatre Awards, NYC), Johnna Adams’ Angel Eaters (Flux Theatre Ensemble, 6 New York Innovative Theatre Award Nominations, NYC), The Children’s Hour (Astoria Performing Arts Center, NYC), as well as many new plays in development at The New Group, The Lark, The Playwrights Realm, Red Fern, Diverse City, among others. She has been Staff Repertory Director for The Acting Company, a Director-in-Residence at Ensemble Studio Theatre, an Affiliated Artist of New Georges and a guest director at Fordham, NYU/Strasberg, NYU/Tisch and Long Island University. Jessi is a transplant to NYC from Chicago where she lived for eight years working as a freelance director and Artistic Director of Stage Left Theatre, an ensemble based company dedicated to developing and producing new plays. Jessi is a recipient of the Denham Fellowship from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation and was recently named a finalist for the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors. MFA: Yale School of Drama.