Directing: my own plays

For more than two decades, beginning with “Captain Jack’s Revenge” in 1970 at La Mama, I directed the first productions of all my own plays, not because I necessarily wanted to or thought it was a good thing, but because I was unable to find a director who would be faithful to my intentions in writing them. I was well aware that another creative eye could be valuable. But Jacques Levy had radically altered “The Next Thing,” and the director Ellen Stewart proposed for “Captain Jack” had a different idea of the play than mine. A New York revival of “Cowgirl Ecstasy” was altered beyond recognition and a hideous disaster. Besides, I love directing. I love working with actors, and there is nothing I enjoy more than directing a good rehearsal. But it was difficult in later years to fit in the obsessive demands of directing a play with other responsibilities. So I was overjoyed to find the young director Maurice Lord, who did a lovely job with “The Dinner Show” (see Short Plays) in Santa Barbara in 1996. His youthful energy gave me a way back into the theatre, and we started a theatre company together the following year, calling it Genesis West. After I left Santa Barbara in 2003, Maurie revived Genesis West, incorporated it as a nonprofit, and continues to produce and direct plays, some of which I have lit. When I went back to do “Bad Dog” in 2007, he did not want to produce it so I started a new company, Re-genesis, which continues to be active in Oregon.

Plays by Michael Smith directed by the author:

“Captain Jack’s Revenge,” La Mama, New York, 1970

“Tony,” La Mama, New York, 1971

“Peas,” The Changing Scene, Denver, 1971

“Country Music,” Theatre Genesis, New York, 1971 (Obie Award)

“Double Solitaire,” The Changing Scene, Denver, 1973

“Prussian Suite,” Theatre Genesis, New York, 1974

“A Wedding Party,” The Changing Scene, Denver, 1974

“Cowgirl Ecstasy,” The Changing Scene, Denver, 1976

“Life Is Dream” (translation), Taos Theatre Company, Taos, 1979

“Heavy Pockets” (staged reading), Westerly, R.I., 1982

“Entertaining Vancouver,” Trust for Historic Preservation, Santa Barbara, 1993

“Time Is a Round,” Trust for Historic Preservation, Santa Barbara, 1994

“Come In Here,” Ensemble Theatre Company, Santa Barbara, 1994

“Trouble,” Theater for the New City, New York, 2006

“Bad Dog and Other Plays,” Center Stage Theater, Santa Barbara, 2007

“Summer Lightning,” Brush Creek Playhouse, Silverton, 2009

“Hamlet in Love,” Re-genesis, Silverton High School, 2010