Steve Stettler came from Weston Playhouse recently to give a
program at Osher. From his director's chair he had a lot of
interaction with the audience. Stettler talked about the difference
between the producer and the director of a play. The producer is
the money person, concerned with the cost of things, the budget and
future planning. The director is the collaborator, helping actors
interact with the play and with each other, bringing the story to
life. He has the vision. If the play is a revival, he understands
why the story resonates today; he makes the play work. If he has
chosen a brilliant cast then that alone can make the play
successful. Stettler is both a producer and a director, one of
three people with that title at the playhouse and the only one who
is a resident.
Critics play an important role, Stettler said. They ask the
question like "Was the play worthwhile?" and "Was it done well?"
Directors and actors learn from this kind of commentary.
Weston's Main Stage this season features four modern classics:
Educating Rita, Next to Normal, and 42nd Street and To Kill a
Mocking Bird. The latter, a true classic, will be seen for the
first time on the Weston stage. In addition, the Youth Company will
perform a musical version of the children's classic, "Alexander and
the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."
Stettler spent some time recognizing members of the audience
included Peter Marsh and a number of local producers, directors and
old friends including Helen McKinley from the Gables. 40 years ago
her father hired him to teach English,
launching Stettler's career.
To emphasize the importance of using space to make the play
successful, he selected four 'characters' from the audience. He
demonstrated that changing their positions on the stage could
advance the plot. The fourth 'character' stood in the door most of
the time doing nothing but when he came through the doorway he
became the center of the story. After the demonstration, we were
all ready to be in the play, to be one of the collaborators.
Unfortunately, Settler had to leave to go to Randolph to judge a
children's play, just as our interest was peaked.
He certainly had the audience's interest while he was with