By Ryan Stevens
Photos by Alex Herstik
I directed Player King as my Senior Thesis for my BA in English at The University of South Carolina. The plot of the piece was conceived as a love letter to theater—written and performed in the Shakespearean style, with all the soliloquies, disguises, and convolutions of plot that such a style entails. Directing the full-length script of my own writing proved an interesting challenge—finding that way to mediate between writer and director, being able to distinguish where, in practical terms, the script was limited. The design team I assembled helped keep perspective on the project.
The key concept was to make the show as welcoming as possible to the non-theatre enthusiast as it was to the people who’d worked in it their entire lives. The iambic script needed to be delivered with a well-enough defined clarity so that any audience could follow the action and feel as though they knew the characters after a scene or two. I also wanted to incorporate the natural talents of my actors: We added bits with juggling, improvisation in the commedia style, and a song during intermission. We underwent very minimal rewrites and were able to deliver a night of fast-paced, innovative, and welcoming entertainment.
Director: Ryan Stevens
Set Designer: Zoe Fulton
Costume Designer: Kat Marchant
Lighting Designer/ Production Stage Manager: Megan Branham
Sound Designer: Nick Ducko