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It’s a perspective from which we’ve never experienced a play before. The audience watches the actors perform on stage, while we watch the audience from a hideaway on the balcony of List 104. Although we can’t be seen, we tremble with stage fright as actors present the result of three and a half weeks of work. Yes, it’s our big night: the Directors’ Showcase.
Occasionally we glance below to catch a peek at the comments Professor Craig Latrell writes on his yellow notepad. While we value the approval of friends and peers, the man grading THETR 303 is our most important critic. For a semester he has guided us through in-class exercises focused on the conceptual and technical aspects of directing a play. Then he cut us loose, handing over the reins to our own 10-minute one-act plays.
During rehearsals, we learned to respond to the questions and development of our actors, including some who’d never before performed on stage. That was us just two years ago — looking up to a student director for guidance in our own inaugural roles on the Hamilton stage. Perhaps no other course so emphasizes the cyclical nature of the Hamilton community as THETR 303 does; we learn from those who have gone before and direct others through our learning.
As the night winds down, Latrell’s semester-long teachings become apparent. It is not just the playwright’s words that tell the story: Behind every onstage action there was a choice to be made. And one by one, we let out sighs of relief at the applause.