The festival is done black box, arena-style, which means shows need to be blocked to be viewed from every angle. That was one of my biggest priorities as a director. I watched rehearsals, walking circles around the set, so I can how it looks no matter where you sit. I did everything I could to make it as visually interesting and available without taking away from the story.
The first play we saw tonight is about a homeless woman who befriends a runaway teenager. For the first half, the two characters mostly sat on a bench in the middle of the stage. I only saw the back of the woman and the boy's reactions, and she does most of the talking. I missed a ton of important stuff she was doing in her lap. (The quilt she's wrapped in plays a big part of the story.) It was...very static.
The other two were mildly better about movement, but neither had much pace to them. When we walked out, my actors asked me, "Is ours so much shorter than everybody else's?"
It's not. They were all roughly the same length. But the others felt much longer - even though two of them are comedies - because of how badly they were paced.
Only one of the comedies is in our set on Sunday. I hope the other shows are better than what we saw tonight.