Howard DaSilva and Alfred Drake
Beginning in January 1985, SDCF held a series of interviews with Actors Who Direct in order to explore with live audiences of theatre enthusiasts, professional theatre artists, and SDC Members and guests the processes, experiences and craft of this brand of professional artistic hybrid. In the first installment of this series, moderator Ike Shambelan met with Alfred Drakeand Howard Da Silva for a discussion about these very issues at New Dramatists. Da Silva and Drake shared a malleable professional relationship, both as cast mates and taking turns directing each other professionally. To get to the bottom of what characteristics define a good director, the pair relayed stories of mentors George Abbott, Arthur Penn and Sidney Lumet. They spoke of the common characteristics of being an effective communicator with the entire production team, while also being eminently prepared before beginning rehearsals. The two admitted that these are the traits they most try to cultivate in their work as directors, and acknowledge that the development of the former has been facilitated by their careers as performers. They speak about their process, the joy of true collaboration, and how they deal with critics as both directors and actors. And as they ruminate on their life in theatre and what they hope for from a successful production, they conclude that the more truly gifted and creative a director is, the more concealed is their contribution to a show.