When Hannah Rice and Fernando Tipacti Jr. reached out to see if I may be interested in directing their thesis project, Lungs by Duncan Macmillan, I was thrilled and terrified at the same time. Duncan Macmillan writes honest pieces of theatre that seem simple at first, but are actually quite complex and demand a lot of the actors and the director. I have always wanted to produce one of his works, but this was a thesis project that required more in-depth research for the actors involved, and I wanted to honor their educational artistic journey as well as the story I was given. When they decided they did indeed want me to lead this production, I told them I wanted to go all in. I wanted to produce it, direct it, costume it, light it, all of it. They were elated. This wasn’t just a student project anymore. It was a professional production with an emphasis on discovery and growth. It was going to be our baby. Together we had decided, and to quote M, “We’re doing this.” We were all in.
We were able to rehearse and perform at Front Porch Improv, and I will be forever grateful to the entire team of artists behind this company for their generosity of space. It was through working with them, crunching numbers, and sorting contracts, that I really learned how to produce on my own.
Our rehearsal process was short and intense. Lungs is one of those productions that requires a warmup for the actors in addition to a reset at the conclusion of the run. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that is hard to ask your actors to repeat three times in a row. But Fernando and Hannah were strong, committed, and brilliantly brave actors, who showed up every day eager to work and to play.
I was so immensely proud of this production. We explored a lot. We messed up a lot. We discovered a lot. Who could ask for anything more?