The Gentleman Clothier: Meet the Director
We are less than 2 weeks away from our Fall show, The Gentleman Clothier by Norm Foster. Valerie Boyce is making her directorial debut with this show and has graciously agreed to answer a few questions for our patrons.
Rebecca: Can you give us some idea of your theater background?
Valerie: My love for the performing arts started when I was in middle school. Dancing was my first passion, but I soon realized that I loved to sing and act once I began to get cast in lead roles in my high school musicals. This passion continued into my college years at Penn State University, where I became the Vice President of the Masque’s Drama Club and had various roles in the university’s productions and plays. Throughout college, I began to get involved with local community theatre. During my summer breaks, I participated with Centre Theatre Players and R-ACT Theatre Productions. Upon graduating, my involvement with community theatre only grew, and my interest went from not only on stage, but to ‘behind the scenes.’ I choreographed Stage 62’s production of “Cinderella,” participated in musical revues within Beaver County, stage managed and assistant directed two productions with R-ACT and served on their board as secretary for a number of years. I also participated with Stoops Ferry Productions and was given an opportunity to be involved in their workshops as well as take a lead role in their first film production. I became involved with the Bobcat Players in 2016, after being cast as Gabriella in “Boeing Boeing.” From there, I had various roles in their productions and outreach shows. In 2018, I assistant directed “The Drawer Boy,” and in 2019, was elected to be on their board of directors. That year, I also participated in Red Barn Theatre’s musical production, which had been my first musical in 10 years! I am so excited to continue to grow with the Bobcat Players and to have been given the opportunity to explore my interests both on and off the stage!
Rebecca: What interested you about The Gentleman Clothier after reading the script?
Valerie: Upon reading the script, I loved the subtle humor and the character relationships. The script is thought-provoking and contains valuable lessons. Longing for a much simpler time, the title character, Norman, shows much growth throughout the play and discovers that no matter what time period it is, the most important thing is the relationships with those you care about.
Rebecca: As a first-time director, what’s been the easiest and hardest part of this role?
Valerie: The easiest part has been working with this stellar cast! They each add great depth to their character. Everyone has been patient with me as a first-time director. The hardest part was making sure I stayed on top of all my “to do’s.”
Rebecca: How would you compare the preparation process of directing to acting?
Valerie: You wear many hats when directing; from scheduling with the cast, blocking, designing the set, thinking about your props and costumes, all while staying in communication with your team and crew to ensure we are all on the same page. Whereas with acting, your primary focus is on the development of your character. You have time to learn your lines and blocking. When directing, you need to have a clear idea of what you plan to do prior to rehearsals to ensure you stick to schedule.
Rebecca: What would you want the audience to know about the show before they arrive?
Valerie: The audience should come prepared to think about what life might be like in a different time. If you wished to go back in time or advance to the future, in what ways could that alter your life or the lives of others that you might not be prepared for? The audience won’t fall out of their seats laughing, but instead they will embrace the whimsical comedy and the moments of genuine warmth that fill the play with wisdom and truth.