Skip

If you have the chance, please work with Dame Judi Dench.
March 24, 2014 8:50 AM   Subscribe

23. On screen, your hero can blow away 500 bad guys, but if he smokes one fucking cigarette, you’re in deep shit. Sam Mendes’s 25 Rules for Directors
posted by timshel (16 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you have the chance, please work with Dame Judi Dench.

Yet people still question Vin Diesel's artistic bona fides.
posted by psoas at 8:58 AM on March 24 [8 favorites]


(#11 is particularly interesting since I can see how both directing a play/movie and running a theater are analogous in that there are a thousand things to keep track of and you have to always be on and the prospect of doing either fills me with terror.)
posted by psoas at 9:00 AM on March 24


Oh yes yes yes. I think I agree with all of this in either practice or theory.

You can destroy a scene in your show in this century by including smoking of any sort. Even vaporizers will lead one or two audience members to start coughing. Even a smoke machine. Not often in a "this is effecting me adversely" way but in a "I am sending a message of disapproval and won't stop doing so until all this fake smoke is gone" way.

Call the same machine a fog machine and nobody coughs. Always call it a fog machine.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:04 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


If you have the chance, please work with Dame Judi Dench.

This is sage advice in any situation.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:18 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


You can destroy a scene in your show in this century by including smoking of any sort.
My first show was Barefoot in the Park, which was an absolute smash, but my production on the stage of Backdraft was what really got them excited. This whole idea of 'In Your Face' theatre really affected them. The conceptualization, the whole abstraction, the obtuseness of this production to me was what was interesting. I wanted the audience to feel the heat from the fire, the fear, because people don't like fire, poked, poked in their noses, you know when you get a cinder from a barbeque right on the end of your nose and you kind of make that face, you know, that's not a good thing, and I wanted them to have the sense memory of that. So during the show I had someone burn newspapers and send it through the vents in the theatre. And well, they freaked out, and 'course the fire Marshall came over and they shut us down for a couple of days.

- Corky St. Clair
posted by griphus at 9:19 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]


It's imperative that everyone who does live theater watches Guffman once a year and asks themselves "have I turned into any of these characters yet."

Sometimes I worry I'm one curio shop away from being Corky.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:40 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


Avoid, please, all metaphors of plays or films as “pinnacles” or “peaks”; treat with absolute scorn the word “definitive”; and if anyone uses the word “masterpiece,” they don’t know what they’re doing. The pursuit of perfection is a mug’s game.
I've actually come to hate the word "masterpiece," because I almost always hear it used in a context where it's obvious that the person using it is deferring to received wisdom about which works of art are worthy members of the canon of Greatness.

Anyway, as far as "perfection" goes, I've come across some works that are basically unimprovable, which I imagine is the closest to perfection one can get. Almost universally I find those works less interesting than the ones with wild imbalances and prominent flaws. I like art best when it's functioning primarily as a communications channel rather than a formal exercise, and it's usually the case that blemishes and stains communicate much more than shiny, featureless surfaces.
posted by invitapriore at 9:55 AM on March 24


You can destroy a scene in your show in this century by including smoking of any sort.

When I was in college my best friend and I, who were in an improv and sketch comedy group together, did a two-woman show called Illegitimate Theatre or IT for short (obviously our program involved lengthy quotes about IT from A Wrinkle in Time. It also had a Matchbox-20 themed crossword puzzle and an astrophysics Jumble. The answer to the theme question, "What do astrophysicists think of meteors?", was "They rock!").

As part of our show, which was a mixture of scripted and improved scenes, we had an intermission for us but not for the audience, so I sat on stage smoking a cigarette and reading a book while my friend put on some music and danced around and we made everyone watch us just chilling out. The show was awesome and it was the theatrical experience of which I am most proud. I wish we'd taped it.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:29 AM on March 24 [8 favorites]


It's imperative that everyone who does live theater watches Guffman once a year and asks themselves "have I turned into any of these characters yet."

I worry about this sometimes, not least because "bastard people" is one of my favorite ways to describe people I'm annoyed with. Also, conversations at our house will sometimes go like this:

"Could you put this away for me?"
"You want me to strike it?"

I figure that I'm okay, though, as long as I don't start performing an elaborate "Midnight at the Oasis" routine at auditions.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:32 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Hmm... Nope. "Don't cheat on Kate Winslet" isn't on the list. Shows what he knows.
posted by gern at 12:52 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


"American Beauty, for me, was about my adolescence. "

...wha?
posted by cacofonie at 2:18 PM on March 24


I've actually come to hate the word "masterpiece," because I almost always hear it used in a context where it's obvious that the person using it is deferring to received wisdom about which works of art are worthy members of the canon of Greatness.

It's also a stupid name for PBS's standard vehicle for BBC drama and past time they called it something else.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:30 PM on March 24


Joey Michaels: "
You can destroy a scene in your show in this century by including smoking of any sort. Even vaporizers will lead one or two audience members to start coughing.
"

It was a hilarious commentary on our society's POV when I saw that the newest Sherlock Holmes is addicted to (gasp!) nicotine.

Which, to make him barely palatable, is via nicoderm patches.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:27 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


This interview of (and by) Marshall Neilan is a fun, somewhat related read.
posted by Gymnopedist at 1:00 PM on March 25


It was a hilarious commentary on our society's POV when I saw that the newest Sherlock Holmes is addicted to (gasp!) nicotine.
The original one was as well. He also had a penchant for opium. I think the BBC's Sherlock did a good job staying true to the original character in that regard, even hinting at one point in the latest series that he was using heroin. I imagine that the pressure to simply cut out any drug use was quite high.
posted by leo_r at 4:23 PM on March 25


leo_r: "The original one was as well. He also had a penchant for opium."

Yes, that is commonly known. I was commenting on the fact that 'opium' had been translated to 'nicotine' in the retelling.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:09 PM on March 31


« Older Scumdogs of the Universe: Hang thy heads in...   |   Aaaack! Why would you...no! NOoo! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post