The Theatre of Les Waters: More Like the Weather combines original writings from Les Waters with short essays by a wide range of his collaborators, creating a personal and multi-faceted portrait of an influential director, revered mentor, and inspirational theatre artist.
The book begins with a critical introduction of Waters’s work, followed by essays written by a wide range of Waters's collaborators over the past four decades. These essays are framed by shorter pieces of writing by Waters himself: reflections, inspirations, observations, and personal anecdotes. At the heart of this book lies the notion that the director’s central position in theatrical production is defined by collaboration and that a study of directing should take into account how a director works with playwrights, designers, actors, stage managers, and dramaturgs to turn artistic vision into concrete reality on stage.
An insightful resource for early career or student directors in theatre programs, The Theatre of Les Waters sheds light on the art of theatre directing by exploring the work of a major theatre artist whose accomplished career sits at the heart of American theatre in the 21st century. Drawing on aspects of memoir, case study, interview, miscellany, biography, and criticism, this is also an enlightening read for anyone with an interest in how theatre artists bring their creative vision to life.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: A Long Conversation
Scott T. Cummings
2. Early theatre experience
3. School report
4. "My Les"
5. Some things will be lost, maybe.
7. "The Next Phase"
8. I love lists
9. Theatres I have known
10. "Archeology, Erasers, and Les Waters"
11. Working things out in public
12. "Les Waters is an Attractor"
13. "If you have Les Waters direct your plays"
14. Silence onstage
15. 24 things I could look at all day
16. "A Story, A Whisper, A Joke"
Quincy Tyler Bernstine
17. "A Huge Vat of Human Skin"
18. Ten films I admire that other directors might find interesting
19. Testing for COVID-19
20. "Les(s) is More: The Essential Artistry of Les Waters"
21. Some productions I saw that made me the director I am
23. "Les. Fragments."
24. Room control
25. A good rehearsal room
26. "Les in Space"
27. "Hearing Things"
28. Learning to direct
29. Friday, August 28, 2020
30. 50 works of fiction that I love
31. "The Power of Contradiction"
32. "Inside and Outside"
33. Actors and notes
34. The list of films goes on . . .
35. Thin places
36. Max and the Royal Court
37. Ten key productions for me
38. "Les Waters at the Royal Court"
39. Off a cliff
40. Diary: Top Girls in Tokyo, 1992
41. "Just Nod and Say Thank You"
42. National identity
43. Something about lists
44. "Designing with Les: ' . . . back in the arms of a good friend.'"
46. A few more productions of mine
47. "About Memory. About Ghosts."
48. Evacuation list
49. The Humana Festival of New American Plays
50. "Partnership Leadership"
51. Chair exercises
52. "The Search is the Destination"
53. Some thoughts on somebody who is a stage manager
54. "The Trust Factor"
Paul Mills Holmes
55. A cloud of direction
57. "The Thing"
60. Humana on my watch
61. "The Art of Seeing"
62. Four more productions of mine
63. Do's and don'ts for directors
64. "Unfounded Belief"
65. The last list of films
66. The need to do it
67. "Dear Mr. Les Waters"
68. Things unfinished
70. Pandemic reading list
71. "Don't Talk"
72. Kenneth Tynan
73. Some of my favorite places
76. Comfort, solace
77. "Still Connected"
78. What is Beauty?
79. A list catalogues experience
Scott T. Cummings has directed plays and taught courses in playwriting and dramatic literature in the Theatre Department of Boston College since 1994. He is the author of Remaking American Theater: Charles Mee, Anne Bogart and the SITI Company (2006), and Maria Irene Fornes (2013), as well as co-editor with Erica Stevens Abbitt of The Theatre of Naomi Wallace: Embodied Dialogues (2014).