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One Man, Two Guvnors: Director Interview

Today's the day: tickets are officially on sale for our season opener, One Man, Two Guvnors! Richard Bean's hilarious farce will open in just one month and we are so excited to finally bring this play to our stage. Obviously, rehearsals are well underway, but I was fortunate to steal a little bit of the director's time so that we could discuss everything you need to know about this show!

But first, a little refresher! Most of you already know Keith Zagorski, the director of One Man, Two Guvnors. He was the long-time president of the Bobcat Players and is our current vice president. He most recently directed Something to Hide and was last seen on our stage in Red Herring. What you may not know is that Keith has acted in this show before at Little Lake Theatre! Check out our interview below to find out more about One Man, Two Guvnors:

Casey: You bring a unique perspective to this show, having performed in it before! Have you ever had that experience before and how does it change your process as a director?

Keith: While I’ve played the same character in a show with two [different] theatre companies, I’ve never had the chance to direct a show in which I’d also previously acted. I think there’s more good than bad with that perspective. On the positive side, I was lucky to be in a successful version of this show, so I have a good idea on what may work during my own staging of it. I also have no problem shamelessly stealing good ideas from other directors! I consider it a compliment to those people and their ideas. In addition, I like comedies and feel confident directing them, so that helps with the staging. This show has some elements I’ve never had to direct--like a big food scene and musical components--so having been in the show gives me some [helfpul] approaches to those items. Also, I have a lot of help from Erin Bock (who has also performed this show) and she’s handling the musical end of the production, which is not my forte. In addition, [stage manger] Patty Hamilton and [producer] Pat Depenhart are experienced on their production end of the show, which helps immensely. On the negative side, I have to be careful that I don’t simply copy another show, which isn’t very interesting to me. I did this show “in the round” versus our more traditional staging, so that forces me to think about the blocking differently. Ultimately, it’s a funny show and I want to make sure we do it justice.

C: Has your impression of or feeling toward the show changed as you view it through the lens of a director rather than an actor?

K: I don’t think it’s changed my feeling about the show per se, it’s a very funny, slightly irreverant show if done well. On the other hand, it’s certainly given me a different perspective. I now know why TJ Firneno, who directed me in the show a few years ago, always looked so stressed out! This show is very farce-like in its elements; it has a classic door banging scene, mistaken identities, etc. Making sure those elements work across every scene is a challenge. Also, it’s a heavy accent show, so I need the actors to be accurate, consistent and understandable at the end of the day. Working musical rehearsals into the regular rehearsals has also cost me a few hours of sleep. You don’t need to worry about all of these things when you’re acting in a show, as your focus is just the scenes in which you appear.

C: What is different about this show compared to other farces we've done in the past, and what challenges does it bring?

K: As I mentioned, the food scene is new to me, but certainly in line with other farces. The amount of music is unlike anything we’ve done. Also, the size of the cast! I’ve never had to direct so many people at once, so scheduling, being reasonable with the demands on everyone’s time, etc. is a challenge. This show also breaks the “fourth wall” with the audience more than any show we’ve done--that’s especially exciting. Finally, the casting itself: I inherited a show that was originally cast for our 2019 season and supposed to be led by another director. Unfortunately, she had to drop out for personal reasons. In addition, we had to postpone this show due to school construction work last summer. I’ve been lucky, however, as most of the original cast agreed to remain. So while I’ve “inherited” a cast, since I attended the original auditions and was part of the casting process, I feel like that’s the easy part of the show. We were also able to supplement the cast when a few of the original actors couldn’t make the schedule work for them and haven’t missed a beat!

C: Do you have a favorite part of the show, or something that you're particularly excited to show the audience?

K: As I mentioned, this show really breaks the “fourth wall” with the audience which makes it especially fun and engaging for the patrons. I’ve never been part of a show that invites the audience to participate in the way this one does. I think our audience won’t be sure how to react initially, but they should quickly adapt and start to wonder when the next interaction will take place. So, I really enjoy those moments when we can (hopefully) make that work!

C: What would you say to encourage patrons to attend One Man, Two Guvnors?

K: Come out and be ready to laugh and engage! This is a show our patrons will love and follows in the vein of some of our most popular shows. The cast is strong, the music adds a different flavor and the silly premise of the show will make it a fun evening of theatre!

One Man, Two Guvnors runs March 27-28 and April 2-4. All performances begin at 7:30 pm and as usual, tickets are only $10! You can purchase yours at the Hostess Gift Shoppe or online. (Bonus: all online ticket fees have been waived for the year!) You can also reserve with our box office by calling (724) 494-1680. Don't miss this must-see comedy smash of the season!

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