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  • Writer's pictureBroadway Beat

"Maybe Try Saying It Different or Something," Suggests Innovative, Daring Director

by Zach Raffio. @zachraffio.

TUCSON, AZ - University of Arizona theatre director Alan Curtell made waves this week after suggesting the actors in his production of The Iceman Cometh should “maybe try saying the line different or something like that”, amongst other innovative, daring directorial moves, shaken sources confirmed.

“You can’t be afraid to step outside the box,” noted Curtell while watching footage from the day’s rehearsal, which was really just him looking at some stick figures of the show he drew on a coffee cup. “Telling an actor to ‘do something different or stand a different way or something, I don’t know’ is a directorial trick that most don’t dare use. But not me - I almost exclusively do that, and the results speak for themselves,” he added while pointing to a printed out picture of a Super Bowl trophy we’re pretty sure he thinks is a Tony.

The production’s cast were understandably taken aback by his gravitas and willingness to test the limits of what an actor is capable of. 

“What he did out there was downright dangerous,” noted U Arizona senior Melissa Horvin. “You often hear of directors taking risks with their actors - making bold, controversial choices that ultimately draw out a singular performance. But this took it too far. He’s out of his mind - I mean, what’s next, letting musical theatre performers ‘have fun with it’ and make the choreography their own? It’s sick.”

Curtell’s mad directorial choices didn’t stop with the actors. When asked about the timing of certain light cues, the show’s techs were supposedly told “oh, do whatever looks best, whatever’s easiest”, and when given choices between two completely different light gels, Curtell simply said “yes that works for me” without really making a choice. However, nobody faced a higher dose of pure, raw directorial vision than the show’s costume designer.

“He made Milo Rau look like whoever directed Air Bud,” noted costume designer Frankie Leon. “His frenetic, pointed vision really pushes boundaries. Every option I showed him was met with an ‘I like that but I don’t know’ or a “hmm maybe something different’. That’s what most directors are too afraid to do - provide vague ideas of what they’re looking for with the hopes that it’ll all kind of fall into place. Brava.”

At press time, Curtell is being courted by the most powerful producers on Broadway to “breathe life” into some of their more dated productions. When asked how he plans to revamp the shows with his brash, savage directorial wit, Curtell notes that he’ll probably “not change much, unless… I don’t know, I mean they can if they want to, whatever they think is best really” - a statement which immediately won him two Drama Desk awards and a Pulitzer.


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