If I Were the Director

If I Were the Director

by Vidyuth Gargi

I usually despise self explanatory titles, but I’ve obviously made an exception for myself. I can afford to do so. You see, I’m an actor. Or that’s what I tell myself even though I spend barely a couple of months in a year “acting”. Therefore, it’s acceptable for me to change and evolve as and when I please. I am a vessel of art, after all. A mere instrument of sheer…um…never mind.

Where was I? Right. Being an actor isn’t hard. Being a writer isn’t hard either. Being both is exceptionally ordinary, to be honest. Succeeding at them? That’s a different conversation. Being good at them? Let’s not bother bringing that up. But save a couple of projects I’ve worked on, I’ve always found a moment or two to zoom out and think, “If I were the director, I’d probably do this ​or at least that​ or perhaps a combination of this ​AND that​. Or wait, I could do this ​other thing. I can’t decide! Thank god I’m not the director.”

I find it rather easy to be in a position to follow orders, while being arrogant about how differently I would do things from a position of power. It isn’t just me; any and every stage production has its share of post-rehearsal smack talk where the cast decides to envision how they would have directed it. If they haven’t said it, they’ve thought it; and if they’ve thought it, it probably had a lot to do with their own scene.

–  “I think the scene could be so much better. I’m doing so many things that the audience won’t pick up. Such a waste.”
–  “You’re playing a tree.”
–  “Excuse me, I establish the presence of the breeze.”

Ah, self importance. A mighty tool in the actor’s kit of “how people perceive me”. I’m not saying it isn’t useful, I just think it’s the windows-run-smartphone of personality traits. It works, but sheesh. We can’t help it, you know. Imagine being in a profession where your entire self worth as a human being depends on other humans loving you. It’s a no-win scenario. If they love you, you’ve succeeded; but humans lie. If they don’t love you, you’ve failed; and that’s just great.

–  “Wow, you were so good!”
–  “Really? I forgot all my lines, skipped three pages and probably gave the leading lady a concussion!”
–  “Yes, you were so good!”

If I were a director, I would either do everything every director I have ever worked with has ever done or try very hard not to. Because if I were a director, at this very moment, I probably wouldn’t know where to begin. And yes, someday I’d love to be at the helm of a creative ship sailing through the indomitable tide of… I’d love to be a director. Imagine having the power to call the shots, to direct every creative choice, to determine exactly which emotional string is to be plucked – when, how, why, who, what. Imagine conducting every sound, every light and being the master of an audience’s senses for an evening, for a show, on a screen, on a phone. Oo oo, imagine it all crashes and burns and you have to take the blame for it all! Oh, what a rush!

– “It dragged a lot.”
–  “Yeah, the director isn’t very experienced.”
–  “I meant your monologue.”
–  “Yeah, the director isn’t very experienced.”

It’s a job, but conditions apply. Thankless, yet potentially immortalising. Respectable, but usually the seedy suspect. Who wouldn’t want to be a director? I know I would. Would I be good at it? Possibly. Would I succeed at it? I might stand a chance. So, the real question is, what’s stopping me?

Editorial Desk

Editorial Desk