In Studio

Megan Watson on the Timms set for When the Rain Stops Falling.

Director of When the Rain Stops Falling at U of A Studio Theatre

Before the curtain goes up tonight on Megan Watson’s MFA directing thesis, When the Rains Stops Falling, I caught up with the promising theatre director to find out what kind of rehearsal room culture she strives to create.

IMG_5003_Photo-by-Ed-Ellis

Sandra Nicholls and Bobbi Goddard with Kathleen Weiss in the background. When the Rain Stops Falling plays at the Timms Centre May 15 – 24, 2014. Photo by Ed Ellis. Lighting & set design by Lee Livingstone. Costumes by David Lovett.

A self-proclaimed “actor’s director,” Megan is an Ottawa native and Ryerson-trained BFA actor. She says directing has always run concurrent to the acting she pursued when she was younger.

“In Ottawa, I had all these lovely opportunities to direct things here and there within a very generous community of theatre artists. I’ve always had this notion that the really good directors were also the very best actors because those were my role models in Ottawa.”

Megan took off the director’s hat to really focus on acting at Ryerson, but once she graduated from acting school, she says the bulk of the work that cropped up was peer-driven, self-produced, indie projects. One project after another, Megan found herself donning the director’s hat once again.

“It was a great way to realize what I love about theatre is not being on stage but being a part of the process or even leading the process. The love was not actually the adrenaline of being on stage, it was the feeling of being in the rehearsal hall, making something out of nothing or working with a script and making it come to life. This is what I actually love and much prefer it to being rejected 16 times a week. I don’t love, love, love auditions,” she laughs.

Over the four years post-Ryerson BFA that Megan was living in Toronto, there was a moment when she woke up and realized she hadn’t stepped foot onto the stage in more than two years time. She recalls the realization that she was devoting herself to directing and teaching exclusively, and the fact that she was loving that, as an epiphany of sorts.

“I was like, whoa! I think I need more language…I need more training, more tools and a deeper understanding of the craft if I am going to put myself in the position where everybody apparently thinks I have something to say.”

She immersed herself in a year of self-study where she did as much assistant directing as she could and took as many workshops as possible. During that time period, she became friends with Mitchell Cushman, a U of A directing alumnus now based in Toronto. Mitchell coaxed Megan to go out West to pursue the University of Alberta’s directing program.

“The thing I found most appealing about the University of Alberta’s directing program was the opportunity to do a lot of plays and in some cases, like at Studio Theatre, on a pretty large scale and platform. Toronto can be really fast and you need to work a lot to pay the bills. I thought I needed to slow down a bit, which is funny, because this program is in no way a slow down! Opening myself up to the rest of the country was also appealing because it can feel pretty claustrophobic in Toronto, as wonderful as it is.”

During her graduate studies at the U of A, Megan also had the chance to teach. She taught three acting and play analysis courses in the Department of Drama and was recently recognized with a Faculty of Arts 2014 Graduate Teaching Award for giving such articulate and meaningful feedback to her students.

Megan Watson received a 2014 Faculty of Arts Graduate Teaching Award, presented by Kathleen Weiss and Dean of Arts, Lesley Cormack on May 6, 2014.

Megan Watson received a 2014 Faculty of Arts Graduate Teaching Award, presented by Kathleen Weiss and Dean of Arts, Lesley Cormack on May 6, 2014.

For Megan, directing and teaching are intrinsically linked.

“It isn’t to say that I am teaching in the rehearsal hall but my philosophy remains the same. My primary function is to develop an environment where people feel safe and challenged to take risks and to go beyond what they thought they were capable of. The culture I am trying to create in both the classroom and the rehearsal is a space where people can do their job the best that they can do. That’s the beautiful thing about theatre – we all have these roles and they all overlap and everybody contributes by bringing their strengths to whatever group of people you assemble. It is about being able to be the best version of yourself; I think that’s a great way of creating art.”

For her MFA thesis project, When the Rain Stops Falling by Andrew Bovell, Megan finds herself in a bit of a role reversal situation. She is the student, but at the helm of a cast that includes U of A Drama veteran teachers David Ley, Sandra Nicholls and Kathleen Weiss. Is it strange to direct the Chair of the Department of Drama?

“The casting started with the play and the play required these humans and, in fact, I don’t think I would have cast them any other way. All the faculty members are so right for their parts and bring something so amazing to each character. I didn’t think about their other roles in the Department of Drama. I was just thinking…I need to do a really good play. And you are the right person to do this play! Will you do this play with me?”

The reality is that Megan and the faculty members do work together in a different student/teacher context, but in both the classroom and rehearsal hall, all players — whether they be actors, directors, students or teachers — are collaborators with each other.

“We are all working together to serve the play the best way we can. That’s the feeling I want to create in the room. And that’s how our faculty, teachers like Kate Weiss, work in the classrooms here too. A lot of their drama pedagogy is about asking the right questions of their students. That approach transfers into the rehearsal hall nicely for all of us in this new context.”

photos by Ed Ellis.

About Megan Watson

Megan Watson

Megan Watson

When the Rain Stops Falling is Megan’s MFA thesis project at the University of Alberta. An Ottawa native and Toronto-based freelance director, Megan is a graduate of the BFA Acting program at Ryerson University. She is the winner of a 2014 University of Alberta Faculty of Arts Graduate Student Teaching Award.

About When the Rain Stops Falling

When the Rain Stops Falling by Andrew Bovell premiered at Brink Productions in 2008 for the Adelaide Festival for the Arts. It won numerous awards, including the Queensland and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for Best Play, the Sydney Theatre Award for Best New Australian Work, and the Adelaide Critics Circle Individual Award. It has been produced extensively internationally and is arguably Andrew Bovell’s best-known work, with its New York production at The Lincoln Center (2010) named Best Play of the Year by Time Magazine. For show times and tickets see www.ualberta.ca/artshows

 

32 replies to this post
  1. Link exchange is nothing else however it is only placing the other
    person’s weblog link on your page at appropriate place and other person will also do
    similar in favor of you.

  2. whoah this blog is wonderful i really like reading your posts.
    Keep up the good work! You know, lots of individuals are looking around for this info, you can aid them
    greatly.

  3. A dirty ball can damage the screen and also leave spots on the screen.
    On my last trip from Denver to Oklahoma, on I-25
    during rush hour, there was of course an accident, the cars
    in front of me slammed on their brakes. As a matter of fact, we have measurements
    for oils as well.

  4. That is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.

    Short but very precise information… Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  5. The other features are the 3 x digital zoom, photo effects, various shot modes, auto white balance and auto focus are some of the features that
    help you get the perfect picture so that you can cherish some bright and
    clear memories. Some of them have a fixed set anywhere in particular
    for viewing or playback. The Samsung Galaxy Smartphones provide improved user experience to the users.

  6. Unless you work hard in following a streamlined
    exercise and dieting routine, you cannot lose the beer belly.
    PIC, as in picture, is a simple little acronym I have intended to make these principles basic to remember.

    By creating our very own classroom quilts, it’s actually a win-win.

  7. The Truth About Cellulite has both pros and cons.

    However, the cons seem to be really minor and easy to overcome, making them far less weighty than all the positives the e-book
    brings with it. The reality is that there’s no more need for you to invest in various
    lotions, creams, pills, moisturizers and scrubbers, spending hundreds of dollars and things that
    don’t do the job and can actually harm you as well.
    Instead, join the thousands of folks across the world who have tried the Truth About Cellulite, including myself, and rejoice in the fact that your cellulite will soon be
    a thing from the past. The very best of all, because it is your own efforts
    and actions that will reduce this cellulite, you will immediately feel better about
    yourself and notice your self-confidence building back up to the right
    levels. And best of all, the system can be used by men and women alike.
    I say give it a go!

  8. So with a bit of study and frequent sense, you can get your hands on a brand-new Apple
    Apple ipad totally totally free. I highly recommend the Winx DVD Ripper Platinum to
    rip TV-shows DVD for i – Pad. Thanks to applications built into Apple
    i – Pad and available through the Apple App Store,
    many people use the Apple i – Pad for relaxation purposes, such as book reading.

  9. Karate was developed out of a sense of self-preservation to defend one’s self
    from attack from others. Qualities attained in youth remain with
    us for life. These tips I helped you learn on how to win a street fight may sound incredibly basic but they are actually completely essential
    for your personal safety.

  10. Get Cash for Surveys is a membership program that connects you to many firms wanting to pay out you for your view about their goods.
    The plan will direct you to signing as much as on the net organizations via
    emails and varieties. When you’re on their database the surveys commence coming for you via emails.

  11. Sunday April 6th, just a week into the month-long campaign, more than 400,000 viewers had watched the Kickstarter video and
    more than 3000 supporters had helped the project reach its $137,000 goal.
    The Hacker group ‘Anonymous’ has threatened that they will soon kill Facebook,
    the world’s no. So your approach and selections of arms to perform is modified
    by your placement, instead of set in concrete based mostly exclusively readily available power.

  12. Remotely monitoring premises using internet protocol (IP) camera
    equipment is a relatively new technology arrival even more
    so with wireless equipment capable of pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) with wireless connectivity.

    And, never, ever wait until your customer leaves or threatens to leave and then offer them the world to stay.
    This guide will focus on Combat path with some points mixed into other two
    trees to support the main talent.

  13. We stumbled over here by a different website and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so now i am following you.
    Look forward to going over your web page again.

  14. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme off this blog.
    It’s simple, yeet effective. A llot of times it’s very
    hard to get that “perfect balance”between supdrb usability and visual appeal.
    I must say you have done a great job with this. In addition, the
    blog loads super fazt for me on Firefox. Excellent Blog!

  15. Buena manera de describir y analizar este tema. He estado buscando
    más informacion por internet y esta pagina es una de las mejores que he encontrado, gracias
    por compartirlo.

  16. プラダ バッグ コピー 2015新作、536点入荷 !トート、アウトレット、 ピンクなら豊富な品揃えの当店へ!激安 CELINEセリーヌ バッグ スーパーコピー大量入荷! ブランド コピーサングラス レイバン アルマーニ バーバリー シャネル 3000点新作 ! 2点5000円ブランド コピー Tシャツ アルマーニ D&G MONCLER 新作800点入荷! 2点以上注文20%OFF ! 母の日プレゼント特集 イヤリング 指輪 ネックレス ブレスレット ヘアピン 新作 1000点入荷! http://www.newkakaku.com/lb5.htm

  17. 2008年8月、時計世界も注目して同じテーマである北京オリンピック。も中国オリジナル、また外国ブランド時計、違いを通じてそれぞれ特色の設計、演繹ひとつひとつの記録オリンピック時間の顔。 http://www.bagkakaku.com/vuitton_bag/2/N41542.html

  18. Gaga Milanoスーパーコピー時計販売、 はガガミラノコピー時計販売・通販店です . 0.316883211 レプリカGaga Milanoのマーカー: ローズ ゴールドのアプライド インデックス ガガミラノOTコピー、SS品、N品、価格、品質の保証,2015人気偽物,歓迎光臨楽天★送料無料(日本全国) . レプリカガガミラノ時計Blog: http://www.okakaku.com/brand-1-copy-5-cheap-0-max0-attr0.html

  19. obviously like your web site however you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a
    few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very bothersome to inform the reality however I’ll definitely come again again.

  20. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My site has a lot of completely unique content
    I’ve either written myself or outsourced but
    it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the
    web without my agreement. Do you know any methods to
    help prevent content from being stolen? I’d definitely appreciate it.

Leave a Reply