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LISTEN: The directors of Hamilton and Allegiance discuss their work

Date: Nov 06, 2015
TDF Stages is delighted to present the latest installment of Masters of the Stage, a podcast series created by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF). This episode features directors Thomas Kail (Hamilton) and Stafford Arima (Allegiance) discussing the current state of their work and the theatre.

We asked Kail to write a few sentences about this podcast... and the ongoing series of conversations he's recording with important contemporary directors. Read his thoughts below and listen to the podcast here.

Want more Masters of the Stage? Browse the podcast archive!

One of the challenges of being a director is that you rarely get to work with other directors. Few people in the world really understand this strange job, yet fellow directors are always in another room, just out of reach. Directors that run theatres have the opportunity to work constantly with their comrades-in-arms, but for freelance directors, the occasion for anything deeper than the two-minute exchange in a crowded lobby is infrequent.

As an active SDC Member, I appreciate the community and protections of my union. No matter what kind of work we make, we sit in the same room whenever we congregate for union activity, and I know that we are taking care of each other. I’ve also gotten to work with SDC Foundation, which was founded by union members to create access to the field, a space for professional development and craft building, and to celebrate the artistry of directors and choreographers. SDC Foundation, through their Masters of the Stage podcast series, provided me with a chance to share airspace and ideas with my cohorts.

In 2011, I proposed a podcast to SDCF that followed the free-form, wide-ranging conversations that Marc Maron has on his podcast, WTF with Marc Maron. The podcast features Marc, a well-known stand-up comic, sitting down with another comedian, and the fundamental understanding that exists between two people who speak the same creative language generates dynamic and remarkably open conversations. SDCF liked the idea, so I sat down individually with five terrific directors I admired: Moisés Kaufman, Joe Mantello, Jason Moore, Susan Stroman, and Alex Timbers. I had such fun spending time with these gifted artists, and I'm so pleased there is a record (still online!) of these exchanges.

This year, I began another round of hour-long discussions with some of the directors I think are shaping the theatre right now: Stafford Arima, Rachel Chavkin, Lear deBessonet, and Leigh Silverman. Each of these conversations is distinct and completely of the moment in which it took place—influenced by the rehearsals we just had or the production meeting coming up.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. I promise I won't wait so long until the next round!

Want more Masters of the Stage? Browse the podcast archive!

Photo -- of Thomas Kail (right) with Lin-Manuel Miranda in a rehearsal of Hamilton -- by Joan Marcus.