The Show Must Go On: UCA Continues Production Without Director Present

The paint on the wall is drying, the stage has been set, and rehersals are drawing to a close. Opening night approaches, but the director’s seat is empty due to a car accident which occurred last week.

Last Thursday evening Guest Director Sanaz Ghajarrahimi was involved in a serious car accident that put her in serious condition and forced her to become absent in the final weeks of production leading up to opening night.

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She may not be in the director’s chair, but her vision survives.

“We are proceeding as scheduled,” said Carrie Care, publicity coordinator for the University Center of the Arts.

According to Scenic Designer Roger Hanna, Ghajarrahimi’s vision was well established with the cast prior to her accident, which has allowed them to carry on in her absence.

“Theater is one of the ultimate collaborative art forms,” Seymour said. “That only works with a sense of trust between the collaborators.”

That trust is established through shared creative aspirations and each member of the team putting in the hard work.

“Sanaz assigned an awful lot of homework,” said Hanna. “People would watch film or study various aspects of the show and bring them in and show n’ tell to the cast and so what we’ve ended up with now is a much deeper understanding of the history that’s alluded to in this play.”

That deeper understanding is formed when each member of the team has the creative space to merge ideas and form a true collaboration.

“She’s a wonderful director to work with because you would suggest something and she’d run with it,” said Hanna.

This approach is important to the development of a role, linking actor and character into one, according to Cory Seymour, producing technical director.

“It’s much easier to learn your lines if you do like Roger was saying, which is if you know the core value of the person who will be saying that line, then you have something to hang your hat on,” Seymour said.

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“Orestes 2.0” is a play mixing classical theater from ancient Greece and modern-day connections to ancient Greece.

“The director’s focus was really to have it mirror the greek theater,” Care said. “It will pull things from current media, things like interviews with porn stars, Rush Limbaugh, and National Enquirer stories.”

Seymour said opening night would be unimaginable without the collaboration that’s taken place throughout the production process.

“This production doesn’t happen without the collective effort of 70 to 80 people putting in countless hours to arrive at our destination,” Seymour said. “Our destination is opening night.”

According to Seymour, the production is already moving in the right direction due to the dedication of the staff and the creative freedom Ghajarrahimi allows. She is missed as the director of the production.

“A bulb is a magnificent thing, it has all the nutrients and all the possibilities and all the genetic information that makes the flower you see later on so spectacular. That’s what a director is,” Seymour said. “That’s what Sanaz is to us.”

Collegian Senior Reporter Lawrence Lam can be reached at news@collegian.com.