Rebecca Hooton: Collective Writing, and Directing Hack

Theatre Sentinel

(Rebecca is the second from the right.)

Where do you live? Where are you from? Hometown?

I currently live in Toronto but I am originally from beautiful Montreal.

When did you start directing?

I have been assistant directing shows (aka giving my opinion as I had too many ideas to keep my mouth shut) since I started making theatre but the first time that I took on a whole show was in my final year of high school.

Why did you start directing theatre?

I have loved theatre forever. My parents brought me to shows from a very young age. Whenever I left a show, I remember thinking ‘I want to give this feeling to… EVERYONE!’ Once I started making theatre, I realized that I wanted to see the piece through from start to finish. It happened gradually, first I gave suggestions through the assistant director from onstage, then I became the assistant director myself and finally… well here I am. However, I wouldn’t strictly call what I do right now ‘directing’, as this piece was a collective creation made using devised theatre techniques. Directing implies that it was my vision from the start, where in reality, HACK comes from multiple minds put together. The actors, as well as my co-creators all had a say in the staging and direction of the piece. I don’t think I could every return to ‘normal’ theatre (whatever that means) as working in a collective is the most rewarding type of directing I have ever encountered.

What inspires you?

Too many things. I make a lot of issue-based theatre, therefore the real world is where I draw a lot of my inspiration for pieces.

Do you have a day-job? What do you do other than directing?

Currently I am a student at York University, but will be graduating in April after which I will indeed be finding a day job.

How long did it take you to direct this play?

It took us a month and a half to create the show (after brainstorming on and off since we found out we got into Fringe) and a month to get it on its feet.

What do you like best about directing theatre compared to other mediums or other theatre work?

Devising is probably the most satisfying artistic work I have ever experienced. Because you are making original pieces of theatre, you have the opportunity to craft everything from the words to the movement to the message you are trying to convey.

What is the greatest challenge you think directors/thespians face today?

Creating something innovative and original that will last.

What kind of support do you have for your directing? 

My colleagues are incredibly supportive; I can’t wait to work with them again and again.

Are you on FB, Twitter, Flicker? Do you have a website/blog? Can I contact you?

All of our team is on facebook (with our full names) and Theatre Sentinel is as well! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about our work!

What was it like to write as a collective?

We had a lot of fun. The process can be trying at times; when you hit a wall or can’t figure out the logical direction for a piece to go, but generally we laughed our way through it and came up with an absurd piece of theatre!

How does that work?

We discuss the characters together, come up with major plot points or action that we want to see happen and then figure out how to get from point A to point B. It is much like when one person writes a show, only this time there were 6 of us!

Have you written other works together? Do you plan to write together again?

This was our first, but we definitely intend to keep working together.

What inspired you to write as a collective?

We are all part of the Devised Theatre program at York University, so we have been trained to work collectively. I don’t think I would want to work in any other way anymore.

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