Vlietstra and Romans talk directorial vision for “The Glory of the World”
February 8, 2016
Q: What is your play about?
Maggie Vlietstra: It’s about a group of people with very diverse religious and philosophical beliefs having a birthday party for the late philosopher and monk Thomas Merton. They discuss love, life, death, and religion, but as the night goes on, they become increasingly hostile towards one another. The party ends disastrously.
Q: Is it a comedy or a more serious play?
Vlietstra: It’s absurdist, so it’s hard to label it as a comedy or a drama. Overall, it’s a very funny play, but it has very serious moments as well.
Q: Why did you choose it?
Vlietstra: Jack and I saw the show over the summer, and it was unlike anything we had seen before. We really wanted a challenge, and we also wanted something that gave us a lot of room to make our own choices and make the play our own. The Glory of the World was perfect, because the script has barely any instruction on how to put the show together. We had to come up with our own concept and circumstances for the show. Also, the show is so odd, and matches my sense of humor perfectly, so I’m excited to see what the reaction to it will be.
Q: What have been some challenges you’ve faced while directing?
Vlietstra: Things have been going really smoothly, but the hardest part for me has been translating my vision for the show into a set of directions that my cast can follow. It’s easy to have a plan and a picture in your head of how you want the final product to be. It’s hard to break it down into steps so that someone else sees the same thing you see.
Q: What are some things that you’ve learned about directing so far?
Jack Romans: As a director, you really need to make sure that you have an understanding of everything. Planning is important! Definitely as a director when you’re competing with a bunch of other directors for time and space and actors, you have to make sure you know what you’re doing and you have to be prepared to have things change. Also just making sure that although you are the director and you have to make sure you understand everything, I think that what’s really going to be important is making sure that we create an environment where actors feel like they can also contribute what they want to be able to do and just be like “do you guys have any ideas?” To make sure it’s a natural process between the director and the actors.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about directing?
Romans: Mostly it’s just the anticipation of seeing it all come together because up to this point, everything’s just been a lot of planning and making sure everything’s set in place.
Q: What are some challenges you’ve faced so far?
Romans: With our show, we were prepared to have 8-15 people in it, because it’s supposed to be a party with people in it. So one of the big challenges we’ve faced is working with the bare minimum amount of people that we can afford. And also you know with timing, we don’t have very much time so we have to make effective use of our rehearsals. We have minimal casting options since all of the directors this year have chosen shows that require large ensembles, which I think is really great. And again, each one is going to be a cohesive process instead of two people putting the show together. And especially with the time of the year, just juggling directing along with other schoolwork and other things like that has been a challenge. But overall I think the fact that Maggie and I have been able to talk, a lot and a lot and a lot of things things have been able to come together.