Foolin' Around With Infinity by Steven Dietz - Granville, Ohio - December 20
Infinity opened at Denison University on December 20th and ran for 2 fantastic performances. This show was a really great experience for me in a number of ways.
For one thing, I didn't direct the show. It's not the first time that's happened, but was really unique in that I was not very involved in the day-to-day decision making and production of the project. It was a relief that the director, Eleni, and the Production Manager, Dave, and Stage Manager, Michelle hardly needed me for anything. I kept emailing and asking, what do you need, what can I do for you, and eventually they did let me put the program together (I screwed it up pretty badly, by the way) and make small set piece (a simulation of an in-wall safe). But most of the time they said, "We're doing fine" and in fact they were. The show was really wonderful, I enjoyed watching it several times, and was very proud that our company has gotten to the point that we can support another director's vision.
The story behind Eleni directing is that she asked me if she could assistant direct something. I myself have done a lot of assisting, many years ago, and I know what a frustrating, nearly-worthless experience that can often be. "Instead," I suggested, "let's set you up to direct something short with a small cast, in a coffee shop or something." I figure there's much more to learn from a difficult directing experience that places actual demands on your creativity, than from watching me or any other idiot fumble around in the rehearsal room for a month.
Well, the show ended-up being neither short, nor small, and we got to do it in the black box at Denision University, which was a great little venue that Eleni used to brilliant advantage. The performances were both at 7pm, which seemed appropriate for a college town in winter, and despite the absence of most of the student population, we had large crowds both nights. It was also great to introduce new people to our work and the Denison audience was particularly smart in the analyses and questions they presented at the talkback.
I expected it to be a good experience, but for me and the company itself, it turned out to be a great one. I really loved sitting in the dress rehearsals watching creative people work. I love knowing that the work we've done in the past of building some infrastructure and gathering a good group of people can actually benefit more artists than just me. I hope Eleni and her cast had as much fun as I did.
And, for those who saw the show and loved it like I did, mark your calendars for late May when AVLT will present another great show directed by Eleni Papaleonardos.