CDTPS presents 2023 Directors' Showcase

The Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies will present its 2023 Directors’ Showcase from December 1 to 3, 2023, at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. This year’s showcase features three distinct and exciting plays: The Sound of a Voice directed by Xinxian Xu, The Most Massive Woman Wins directed by Lisha Zhao, and Sure Thing directed by Miriam Sossin.

The Directors’ Showcase is the culminating performances of the DRM402 class. Students work throughout the fall semester to bring these works to the stage. It’s an exciting and unique learning experience for these student directors.

“We’re learning as we’re doing,” says student director Zhao. And that learning experience is supported by an incredible team whom she is so grateful to have guiding her through the process.

“The professor, the TA, the staff, they’re all there to support you,” says Zhao. “To bring your vision to life.” That support is so important at this stage of their training as these artists find their voice and develop their practice.

For these student directors, this is their first experience directing a full play. That has come with a host of surprises, challenges and exciting discoveries. For Sossin, that discovery came in how she approached her creative process — one that is much more collaborative and spontaneous than she had anticipated. 

“I let a lot be discovered or shaped in rehearsal,” says Sossin. With her core ideas guiding her, she really works to include her actors in forming the show. “When they come up with something or they’re excited to do something, I’m always down to try it.”

Each of the directors expressed joy and excitement in the collaborative aspects of their processes. In speaking about his team, student director Xu was grateful for all the knowledge they brought to the process. “I’m very lucky to have them,” says Xu.

For Zhao, that collaboration was really important. Her play centres on themes of body image. “We all have our own personal connections to this topic and to body insecurities,” she says. They’ve been working as an ensemble to really find what this topic means to them as a group as they develop the work.

These three plays are vastly different but have been thoughtfully selected and developed by the directors. When asked about what she is most looking forward to in bringing these three works together, DRM402 course instructor Baņuta Rubess says, “For me, the showcase is less about the texts and more about the directors. Each one of them — Zhao, Sossin, Xu — is such a strong individual, and this is reflected in the contrast of the three plays. Knowing the thoughts, dreams and struggles they’ve poured into each show, I love to see how the evening is coming together.”

The work that the directors and their teams have put in this year is sure to make for an incredible evening of live theatre, one that asks audiences to imagine, explore and reflect, but most importantly to have fun and enjoy in Xu’s words, “the magic of theatre.”

“Theatre doesn’t exist without an audience,” says Rubess. “I most look forward to the meeting of the shows with the spectators. I will sit back in my seat and watch people being wooed by the ghostly magical realism of a lonesome cottage, get fired up by the passion of the patients in a liposuction clinic, and I’ll laugh at every bell rung during the date that never seems to go right.”