AD: Art of the Denial
by Sari Chreiteh
Moving to a new city and being able to sustain yourself financially exclusively through theatre is almost unheard of in our day and age. I feel privileged to be able to do so less than two months after moving back to Beirut. I’m in my sixth month now and I realize that this privilege comes with a price. After having worked on my own projects for two years in London, going back to assistant directing causes me to be reflexive, to put it lightly.
As any assistant director in the world knows, there are ups and downs to the job. On the surface, the negative is a frustrating amount of research that is essential, yet often amounts to nothing. Couple a widely varying job description with the lack of public credit for any of this work and you get quite a woozy of a job. That is not to say that it is worthless. You get to witness a professional run a well-oiled machine and the techniques you develop while doing research really do stay with you.
This time around I face the same challenges and rewards but from a slightly shifted perspective. Nowadays I struggle to comprehend a director and their choices while I can barely comprehend myself. I see the virtues of diligence and humility as something a director should never to forget. We must all retain that malleable and adaptable AD mindset, We should be accepting of other people's’ opinions, not just because we have to. I would have thought of another example but I’m an assistant director and I need to go research some shit.
This might be the last time I assistant direct and it might not be. Either way, I am still in the very beginning of this process and it is looking very fruitful already. Or maybe my skills of denial have been secretly injecting themselves with meth, who knows?