The Clink by Stephen Jeffreys
The Clink became a fitting metaphor for my artistic life while in graduate school; It was both prison & playground, a glorious (and demanding) mess that couldn’t settle on just one theme. Its questions are well suited to a campus community: The struggle to find your role in life, the work of a performer, the complexity of the various politics & scheming and the trades that come with patronage, the mix of humor & occasionally tragic struggle, contrasting desires for independence & societal accomplishment, and the intersections of all ends of society.
This production emphasized for me the pleasure of directing in an educational environment. Not only did I already have a good working relationship with some of the actors (mostly undergraduate students at VCU), and a sense for what sort of coaching and direction they would respond to, but it provided a context in which I could indulge mutual interest. The emphasis on process as much as product meant I could explore themes, acting approaches, and dramaturgical discussion that I simply would not have time for in a professional, results-driven environment. It also provided an excellent way to test and guide the students’ synthesis of their lessons outside of the classroom, without which the education we provide in our courses would be meaningless.
Additional images can be seen in a slideshow on YouTube.