Dial “M” Director’s Blog
August 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
I was so excited to sign onto this project, because I had never done a true psychological thriller like this before. I had directed some intense pieces such as the musical JEKYLL & HYDE, but nothing like DIAL “M” FOR MURDER with so many twists and turns throughout. The other thing I loved about the show was that it took place during the 1950’s, a time period that I happen to love because of the overall sophistication and wardrobe. There’s just an elegance about it all that makes it intriguing to me.
The staff on this show is top notch. The great thing about it is that we were all on the same page from day one. The show is centered around The Wendice’s, a wealthy couple who reside in London. Since they were wealthy, it was important for me that we show the grandiose lifestyle that they live in. I also love levels, so having a platform raise upstage was something we thought would really give the set some dimension. There are some other fun tricks we’ve concocted for the show, including some brilliantly intense fight choreography by Claire Yearman, but I definitely don’t want to give anything away.
With all shows there are challenges to overcome. This show definitely has its share of challenges. The first big challenge are the props. This show is extremely specific when it comes to who has a key, who doesn’t have a key, or if the key is placed somewhere on stage or if it’s removed. The same thing goes with stockings, scarves, handbags, glasses. Sometimes during rehearsal, we find ourselves having a NOISES OFF “sardines” moment. We stop in our tracks and say “wait, who has the key now?” or “where is that handbag?” At times, though it can be frustrating, it tends to be comical after the fact. The other thing that is challenging, is that the script is also very specific in terms of directions. I, sometimes, try to ignore some of the stage directions so I have the opportunity to get creative, but with this play, I don’t really have that option most of the time. Most of the stage directions within the script are so important to the story and what happens next that we have no other option but to do what it tells us. However, even though we have some restrictions, I think we have created a lot of great moments and stage pictures in the show. I think the audience is really going to be at the edge of their seats.
In order to have a successful show, though, it really comes down to the casting. If you have a cast that has chemistry and trust, the possibilities are very exciting. The cast for DIAL “M” FOR MURDER is a group of fearless actors that are excited to explore during rehearsals. Directing needs to be a collaborative process; not just with fellow staff members and designers, but with the actors you’re working with as well. It’s important for a director to have an idea of what he/she wants, but at the same time, the actors involved need to be apart of that creative process. I feel so fortunate to be working with these talented artists, and I am looking forward to Opening Night!