Lord of the Flies
Tackling the Beast
Have you ever tried to get crickets to jump in unison? With 11 young actors ranging from 11 to 14 years old, that’s what it feels like sometimes in rehearsal for Lord of the Flies. The young people I am used to directing are college-aged, aspiring actors who come with their own challenges, but that certainly did not prepare me for the leadership skills necessary for a pack of boys more accustomed to the soccer field than the rehearsal hall. My last experience with Youtheatre was the joint IPFW production of Oliver! where I was spoiled by Leslie Hormann who acted as my “kid wrangler,” leading me to believe Youtheatre actors were a special breed of young folks who were all well behaved, attentive and eager to please. Not that my troupe of Lord boys aren’t all of that and more; they are just not all that when I need them to be so. That said, I am lucky to have 11 really smart, talented and courageous actors who are meeting the challenge of a three-act dramatic play probably unlike anything they have been asked to perform before in their young lives. This play required more frequent, longer and and more intense rehearsals than I expect these boys are used to. Each day I challenged them with new ideas of acting and introduced them to new tools to help focus and concentrate their energies. I also asked them to have the courage to embody characters that go from young British school boys to island animals and, finally, to brutal savages. Believe me, this takes courage! I’ve been surprised and thrilled by the amount of courage they all brought to the table. Each day as I try to corral these crickets, I am awed by the young, unbridled creative energy in the room. It has required me to provide a new kind of leadership and stewardship that has taught me about myself and these young actors. I know audiences will witness this courage and appreciate the dedication of these terrific young performers. It is a privilege to steward this project and be part of tackling this “beast” called Lord of the Flies.