Laura McLean, hot off directing this summer’s sold out Spring Awakening for Delinquent Theatre, is finishing up rehearsals for Dog Sees God right now. DSG was done last summer with Delinquent, and features many of the same cast – and a bunch of new ones. We had some questions for her:
1. What is Dog Sees God about?
Dog Sees God is the story of what happened to sweet innocent little Charlie Brown and his friends when they grew up and went to high school. And much like high school is for everyone, it’s not pretty. Awkward angst, earth-shattering disappointment, really foul language, and explicit drug and alcohol abuse all ensue.
2. You directed this show with Delinquent Theatre in 2008, with several of the same cast members, what’s it like to return to the script now, a year later?
It’s great, I mean a lot can happen in a year, and for all of us coming back to this show, which is about half of the original cast and crew involved, a lot did. I’m constantly amazed at how much more we are able to see and find now in these characters. Part of that is due to the new people who are all really outstanding and force everyone to shake things up a bit, and part of that is credit to the returning actors who have all allowed their characters to evolve with them really beautifully.
3. What’s the most difficult thing about being a young director?
Being a young director is not easy, I think it must be one of the steepest learning curves ever. You can read books by great directors, you sit in a classroom and listen to advise from teachers, but ultimately what I’ve found is you just need to do it. You need to make a lot of your own mistakes, and you need to learn from them. Which is not easy. One thing I’ve found is as much as possible I like to surround myself with people who know more than I do. It’s terrifying, but it forces me to work hard for them, and it means I am constantly learning from the people around me.
4. Which Peanuts character are you most like?
Oh god, as five year olds, or as high school kids?… Well when I was little and I used to read the comics I always related to Sally best, I was an annoying little sister too, and always had a crush on the wrong guy. Ha yeah alright, I think I have to say Sally, maybe minus the awkward Wicca phase.
5. What’s the best thing about working on a Fringe Festival show?
Well I’ve never done a Fringe Festival show before, but I guess I’m going to find out. I really enjoyed going to a lot of the different shows last year at the festival, and I guess this year because I’m part of one of the shows I get a pass so I can go see all of the shows for free right? Well that’s exciting I can’t wait to see all of the other shows. I was flipping through the program and it looks like it’s going to be a really great year.
6. What are rehearsals for this show like?
Well everyone involved with this show is also working full time, and most have ridiculously busy schedules. Everyone is volunteering their time for this, so I am conscious that I want rehearsals and the rehearsal process to be something everyone can enjoy and that everyone wants to take part in at the end of their day. And it is a really funny show; honestly I wish someone filmed our rehearsals we would have the best blooper reel ever.
7. What’s next for you?
Well I still have one year left at UBC where I’m doing the BFA in theatre design and production, so my next project is with UBC. I’m stage managing The Laramie Project which I’m excited to start work on this fall. And then next winter I’m directing Matt and Ben with Fighting Chance Productions it’s the (both ridiculous and completely unofficial) story of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck “writing” good will hunting. That one should be lots of laughs and another great blooper reel I’m sure.