Women Stage Directors Speak

Exploring the Influence of Gender on Their Work

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About the Book

Though stage directing has traditionally been a male-dominated profession, the number of women directors in the United States has grown significantly in recent years.
In this work, 35 contemporary women stage directors, with regional, national and international theater backgrounds, share their views on the creative process and the influences of gender on their artistic decision making. How does it feel to be defined as a woman director rather than simply a director? Does gender affect their authority? These questions and many others are explored in this study.

About the Author(s)

Rebecca Daniels was one of the founding members of the Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Oregon. She is currently an associate professor in the department of Performance and Communication Arts at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Rebecca Daniels
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 255
Bibliographic Info: photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2000 [1996]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0965-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8043-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS      V

PREFACE     1

The Study, Its Significance, and the Methods Used      1

PART ONE —INTRODUCTION      9

1: A Brief History of the Directorial Function, Theories, and Processes      9

Directing Theory      10

Qualities of a Good Director      11

Practical Elements of the Directing Process      12

Communication in Directing      12

A Director Plays Many Roles      13

2: The Women Interviewed and Their Perceptions of Gender Differences      14

A Brief Introduction to the Directors      14

Positions on Gender Differences      18

3: Gender Means Everything and Nothing     29

Resisting Definition as a Woman Director      29

Thinking About Gender When Working      33

Ignoring Gender      36

No Easy Answers      39

PART TWO—LEADERSHIP ISSUES FOR WOMEN DIRECTORS      45

4: Leadership Qualities in a Good Director      45

The Importance of Good Leadership      45

The Power of the Director      48

Reception of Women in Positions of Authority      56

5: Problems with Power      64

Resistance to Women in Authority      64

Issues of Behavior      76

Internal Resistance and Self-Doubt      82

PART THREE—COLLABORATION ISSUES FOR WOMEN DIRECTORS      91

6: Collaborative Qualities in a Good Director      91

The Importance of Successful Collaboration      91

Social Conditioning and Collaboration      94

A Different Approach to Collaboration      101

Possible Negatives in Collaboration      112

7: Women’s Ways of Collaborating      115

Sensitivity to Feelings and Emotions      115

Creating an Environment of Trust and Intimacy      119

Nurturance      124

Use of Instinct and Intuition      127

Finding a Balance      130

PART FOUR—PRACTICAL ELEMENTS OF THE DIRECTING PROCESS      137

8: Issues in Script Selection and Interpretation      137

Factors in the Script Selection Process      137

Themes Related to Women and Gender      139

An Awareness of Women’s Issues      142

Other Influences on Script Selection      148

Overcoming Perceived Limitations      152

9: Working with Actors      157

Casting Issues      157

Character Development Issues      163

10: Technical and Spatial Issues Influenced by Gender      174

Technical Considerations      174

Use of Space      177

11: Economic and Career Considerations      185

Family Demands      185

Career Development      188

CONCLUSION      197

APPENDIX A: SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCE ON THE DIRECTORS’ ARTISTIC IDENTITY AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT      205

APPENDIX B: THEATRICAL BIOGRAPHIES OF THE DIRECTORS      216

NOTES      231

BIBLIOGRAPHY      237

INDEX      241

Book Reviews & Awards

“extensive and scholarly…recommended as an excellent and valuable addition to theater and women’s studies collections”—Library Journal; “the directors are well chosen for their ability to examine their experiences in the theater. Recommended for all academic and professional libraries”—Choice; “quite thorough…fascinating and informative”—Theatre Journal.