He said he always tries to take the ideas offered by the group and make them work. We rarely say, ‘no that won’t work’, instead we say ‘okay let’s all try it.’” If an idea gets dropped, it’s because the person who had the idea didn’t stick with it.
“So much of what I did was put together thoughts and ideas. I had to give the cast members ownership of the process.” He said they all basically wrote the church scene. They didn’t worry about getting the lines exactly right. They focused on telling the story with their bodies and actions. There were people singing, gossiping, eating and sleeping in church. “That’s exactly what the cast said they see when they go to worship,” he said.
He said that if a member is rather non-verbal his job was to Guide them with the confidence to perform. “That was the core part of my job.” From what I saw of the cast, they definitely took ownership of the process. Jeff said they start with what they know. If someone dances well or sings well, they make sure those are the foundations of the performance. All the of other pieces, the Woody Woodpecker and the burping sock puppet where things that other cast members helped shape into the success that it was.
He said he treated the performers like he would any other group of actors. Everyone was given a set of expectations and they delivered. He wanted the cast to take a jump away from what they normally do and be expressive. “I told them it was okay burp, shake their hips and eat potato chips in church. ‘We are doing theater...that’s allowed.’”
He said he is grateful to Lynda Smith and the folks from ARC of Decatur County for giving him the opportunity to work with this talented group. “One of my favorite parts of the evening was sitting with the cast backstage eating sandwiches and talking about everyday things like TV shows, sports and family pets. There was no disability among the ensemble that night. They all stepped up their performances for that one shining moment. Everyone deserves a shining moment. ‘Ours was a dandy.’”