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Podcasts with America's seminal directors and choreographers

Enjoy rare insights into how theatre is made with this podcast interview series produced by Stage Directors and Choreographers Workshop Foundation (SDCF) and co-presented by TDF. Browse three decades of priceless one-on-one conversations and panel discussions with distinguished theatre and dance luminaries.

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Jerry Zaks

Date: Jul 08, 1986


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Just two months after the opening of his Tony Award winning production of The House of Blue Leaves, Director Jerry Zaks spoke to a packed house at Westside Arts Theater in the first installment of SDCF's three part "Directing for Comedy" lecture series, in July of 1986. One of America's greatest Directors of comedy opens up his process for the audience, taking us step by step from his first read of a script through the perils of keeping comedy fresh over a prolonged run of a show. He expresses his affinity for what he calls "crafted comedy", or moments that he has choreographed meticulously. When explaining the intangible quality of comedic timing, Mr. Zaks teaches us that comedy, by nature, is musical and that the actors he most enjoys working with are comfortable playing within the structure of its strict beat and measure. Above all, he expresses his love for "rich comedy", which he defines as comedy that is always grounded in recognizable human conditions and contains a basic understanding of human needs. As a director who has given us time and again funny, moving and meaningful plays, Jerry Zaks puts in to words the humor inherent to the Human condition, and the importance of connecting intimately to it through theatre.