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Catching up with King Charles III’s Assistant Directors
We are lucky enough to be working with two wonderful Assistant Directors on our production of Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III, presented by David Mirvish. Robert Motum is a former student of director Joel Greenberg, and Sarah Orenstein, our RBC Emerging Director, is beginning a career in directing after decades working as an actor, including in such Studio 180 productions as My Name is Asher Lev and The Normal Heart.
Studio 180 spoke to Robert and Sarah just as they were about to make the move from the rehearsal space at St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, to tech at the CAA Theatre (formerly the Panasonic), where the show will be performed.
How has the rehearsal period been?
Robert: Assistant directing on King Charles III has been, and continues to be, an incredibly rich and rewarding experience. I consider myself lucky to spend this amount of time working on such a clever text with such talented, veteran theatre artists.
Sarah: It has been a very stimulating rehearsal to assist and observe. And I must give him credit – due to Joel’s openness to input and discussion – very engaging.
What have you learned?
Sarah: It’s difficult to answer ‘what is being learned’ mid-flow in an artistic practise. I have been thinking a great deal about process – whether it’s the individual actors’ or the project as a whole. And note taking and giving…when is it worth passing on certain notes and when do you hold them back? Waiting for the right time to incorporate them. So perhaps I’m gaining a version of patience!
Robert: For me, this process has been filled with new experiences – from simply navigating the role of assistant director – to working in a union house – to having a month-long show run. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the basics of directing – and how one effectively communicates an idea to a cast.
What are you looking forward to next in the process?
Robert: I’m excited to see where the next few days in the theatre take us before previews.
Sarah: We are just about to move into the theatre today. This always propels a cast into the next step of owning the show, and these guys are perfectly ready for it. We ended the time in the hall with strong runs and got as far as we could in that space. I’m looking forward to see how the stage size and added tech grows what they have already. For myself, I’ll be paying attention to what the designers are bringing in and how all those new elements fit together.
King Charles III, a Future History Play by Mike Bartlett, is onstage at the CAA Theatre February 10 – March 4.
The participation of Sarah Orenstein is made possible through the generous support of the RBC Emerging Artists Program. As our RBC Emerging Director, Sarah’s work will be showcased in two public readings this coming spring: she will direct a reading of an established play as part of our Studio 180 READS series and will assist on the development of works-in-progress as part of Studio 180 IN DEVELOPMENT.
Photos: Director Joel Greenberg gives notes during a King Charles III rehearsal (Sarah Orenstein at right); Robert Motum; Sarah Orenstein.