Elise Annette Delap
Directing Artistic Statement
As a director I am strongest at observing all of the numerous puzzle pieces that go into a production, and finding the best way to section them together, making sure it is a visual, emotional, thought-provoking, successful piece of art. The most important way to guarantee that all of this happens, is by making sure my actors, designers, stage management, and any other collaborators are connected to the art in their own personal way. No story is the same for two people, and incorporating everyone’s take on the piece helps me to better understand how the audience will react to it. Relating to the human experience is the best way to make a show work and become most effective. Stripping away all of the excess, superfluous, materialistic aspects of a piece, and getting to the heart of it (relationships, inner thought process, choices, discoveries), is the best way to achieve that humanistic necessity in my opinion. After working on a production of The Great Gatsby, I understood this logic for myself. While the show is typically presented in a large-scale and extravagant nature considering the time period (Roaring 20’s), it was crucial for our interpretation to not immediately fall into that choice, because when we do that we lose the most important aspect of the piece: the relationship between the characters. I believe that ideology to be true for every work of art. You cannot allow yourself to say, “Wouldn't it to be cool if…” When beginning to direct my own work, Imagine the Musical, the philosophy of the human experience was ever prevalent during the whole process. It’s easy for a musical to get sucked into the idea “it’s time to put on a show," but we pushed past that, and used the music and lyrics as a driving force to the natural conversation. The stakes of the relationship between the two people in the piece rise when the song begins, but the connection to one another never gets lost.
While directing is my career and life choice, I am also particularly passionate about youth theatre education. I created and directed my own workshop titled “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” Children’s Musical Theatre Workshop through the Jeffersonville Indiana Parks Department, in which students K-5 learned about acting, singing, and dancing performing in a showcase at the end of the week. With all of the pressures of creating the perfect professional production, working with children helps us all get back to the basics of artistry. The way kids have such an uninhibited creative process is a beautiful reminder that sometimes it’s beneficial to not become too weighed down by the mind, and to be able to let go. I also find extreme satisfaction in seeing kids grow in their expression, knowing that they are the future of our art that we love and care for so much.
Theatre is a journey. My job is to bring that journey to life through story telling and human connection. I can only hope that the pieces I direct will maintain a long-lasting effect on the audiences that view them so that they can apply the themes and topics to their own lives, positively. The Arts are all about education and advancements throughout society, and as a director, I think it's pretty awesome to see all of these things come to life.
“The Director's Role: You are the obstetrician. You are not the parent of this child we call the play. You are present at its birth for clinical reasons, like a doctor or midwife. Your job most of the time is simply to do no harm.
When something does go wrong, however, your awareness that something is awry--and your clinical intervention to correct it--can determine whether the child will thrive or suffer, live or die.”
― Frank Hauser, Notes on Directing: 130 Lessons in Leadership from the Director's Chair