Laurie, in the Director’s Chair

DSCN2465.JPGWe are thrilled to get a chance to speak with director, Laurie Rae Waugh on her latest endeavor. A stage play by adventure novelist, Irving Greenfield. Laurie is an accomplished stage and film director and performer and is a theatrical journeyman having begun her career distributing Michael Bennett.


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Tell us about yourself as an artist.

When I first came to NYC, I spent a good portion of my theatre career as a stage manager.  I learned a lot from the directors I was working with and couldn’t wait to get a chance to direct.  I am an organic and passionate director.  I have a vision of how the plays should look and I give the actors freedom to explore.    I have worked with a number of playwrights several times.  One of them had written a part for me in one of his plays and he also wrote another one for me to start in.  Both were very fun and humbling experiences. 

Tell us about the play and what make you chose it?

The play is called Banned in Bisbee by Irving A. Greenfield.  Several characters in the Depth Force Book Series step into real life to right a wrong.  They are looking to get the ban lifted on all of Mr. Greenfield’s books.  This is the 4th play of Irving’s I have directed.  I like the subject matter and how it fits into what is happening in the world today.   His plays are thought provoking and autobiographical.

Tell us about directing in NYC – the good and bad; and at ATA … the good and bad

When I first starting directing in NYC, some theatres would only give you a weekend to perform your play and if you had a good audience turnout they would offer you another weekend.  The problem with that was the actors for the most part would already be booked for other projects.  This was not the best way to start a directing career but a useful one.   I had answered several ads for directors in Backstage and worked with a couple of theatre companies until I finally found a home with the American Theatre of Actors.    The first play I directed at ATA was Trailer Trask Deluxe by Laurie Allen.  During the first couple of years directing there, the plays would only run one week which was difficult to build a following.  I am one of the resident Directors at ATA.  Working there gives you the opportunity to direct in all three theatres, pick your cast from the ensemble of actors at ATA or go outside if needed and having ample rehearsal time to go from auditions to performance.  The downside to indie theatre in general is finding avenues to get the word out about each and every production to generate an audience.

What is your style of directing and how do you go about crossing your team?

I am a very organic director.  I give the actors room to explore their characters as we discuss the script.  I personally love to work with actors at all different levels.  With seasoned actors, I look to bring them to the next level. I also thoroughly enjoy working with relativity new actors as I like to challenge them to see themselves in a new light to provide them with skills and confidence to take on new roles in the future.  I cross the team by having them work in a safe environment where they can learn from each other while keeping the integrity of the play intact.

You also work extensively in film. What’s the difference between the arts? 

The biggest difference is theatre is live with no do-overs. What you see on stage is what you get each and every night.  The actors have to keep the performances as consistent as possible from one day to the next.  Fresh and new every time.  With film you can take scenes over and over again until they click.  You can also film it from several angles to get different viewpoints of the same scene.  So film is built by the director’s vision of the screenplay.  Telling the story though a series of scenes put together to invoke a mood or response with the help of music and voice overs.  It takes much longer to do a film than a play and both are equally rewarding.

What’s your next endeavor?

I have several plays coming up in the next couple of months.  I am currently working with two playwrights whom I have developed a bond with to finish up their latest version of their plays so I can get them scheduled for production.  The playwrights come to me with an expectation that I will bring their plays to life to the delight of the audiences who get to see their great works.


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