You Have Ten Ducks by Jamie Kushnick
Hello all. Imagine with me for a moment you have ten ducks. They’re all squawking and waddling and flapping around, but someone handed you these ducks and said “I need these ducks to walk in a parade in half an hour. Get them ready.” So now you have ten ducks AND you have half an hour to train them to be in a duck parade. “How on EARTH am I going to get this parade afloat in HALF AN HOUR?” you may ask yourself while these ten ducks peck at your shoelaces.
Well, I don’t know. I think it’s a pretty adorable image, but I’ve never organized a duck parade in thirty minutes! Sounds like the start of a great children’s story though. No, I’ve never organized ducks. HOWEVER, my name is Jamie Kushnick, and I’m an assistant director for our production of Pippin, so I CAN tell you what it’s like to organize ten talented, imaginative, friendly, and flexible actors!
This is my first time filling the role of assistant director, so I had to learn the ropes of how to go about, you know, directing! I’ll always start with reading through whatever section of our script I’m working on. While I do so, I’ll start devising the blocking (any movements, gestures, entrances, or exits actors have to carry out) for each actor to follow as we roll through the scene.
But that’s not even half of it. Directing, to me, is a conversation that happens in real time, not a project you make by yourself beforehand that you then hand the actors. I’m talking with the people involved in each scene, leading them through the scene, yes, but more so working together to find what is the best way to display their story and their characters.
While blocking my sections of this show, I’ve scrapped half pages of prep work in favor of an actor’s ideas in the moment. Because I’m not their BOSS. Because they have amazing ideas, and everyone is able to work together to make this show what it is: a collaboration between all of our creative minds to create something truly wonderful. Sometimes, actors propose “better” ideas about what the scene should look like. AND I LOVE THAT!
This is my senior year, and I wouldn’t want to spend my time anywhere else than
working on this show. I’ve made new friends, helped to welcome new folks into Hale Theatre, and I’ve learned so much from watching everyone do what they do best. This community is one I cannot live without. Thank you all for making this such a creative and friendly space. YOU’RE ALL AMAZING!
I CANNOT WAIT for you to see this show! This amazing, inspiring, impactful story that we have POURED OUR HEARTS INTO! Thank you actors, thank you friends, thank you volunteers, thank you techies, thank you fellow production team members, and thank YOU! ENJOY THE SHOW!