Get Cultured — July 12, 2017 at 2:50 pm

DIRECTING THEATER: Female is the Future – Meet Blayze Teicher

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We are in the middle of summer here in New York City, which means theater festivals have taken over the city and talent is blossoming on every corner. In the years since I started working in the theater industry, I have seen my fair share of ups and downs and let me tell you, we are on a very big up at the moment. Strong playwrights are putting out new work everyday, and with a lot of theaters working on diversifying, more are being discovered each day. With new perspectives going up on stage and new styles meshing, we shouldn’t forget one of the main people to work on these productions and make the magic happen. Of course I’m talking about the grandmaster themselves: THE DIRECTOR!

And while there’s a vast number of male directors out there doing great work, I’ve noticed that most of my favorite works in the past few years have been directed by women. Then I noticed that the majority of the plays that have become critical darlings have also been directed by women. For an industry so set in traditionalist ideas, and that sadly, still have a patriarchal stench when it comes to playwrights, the women have staked their claims in the captain’s chair and made the future of directing undeniably theirs!

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One such woman is Blayze Teicher. A visionary with immeasurable talent, it is her patience, ideas and drive that make her a perfect subject for this theory. From film to musicals, from plays to concerts, Blayze always achieve her goal: a great production. Not only am I proud of collaborating with her at the moment on the play The Diplomats, but I think you should all meet a prime example of why the future of directing is female.

  • Of all the things in this industry, why directing? And do you dabble in other aspects of it?
    • I’ve always heard that directing isn’t about having the best idea in the room but about being able to recognize it when you hear it. It’s leadership within a collaboration and it’s that philosophy that drives me. I’m all about collaborating with a team of actors, designers, producers and all of the talent it takes to realize my vision. Growing up, I was a performer but got a taste of directing in high school and got hooked. Now, I am a director through and through. I love being mindful of all the aspects and details it takes to tell a story.
  •  How long have you been part of the NYC theater scene and how do you feel about it?
    • New York City has been home for 4.5 years! I jumped into the theatre scene as a PA for Off-Broadway companies like Primary Stages, Classic Stage Company, and The Public to learn and network. This is the greatest theatre city in the world because in one day I could be in rehearsal downtown for an independent new play and then run uptown to assist on a project with Broadway actors. You can continually create your own work and also be a part of bigger projects. I’m also very grateful to be apart of this specific theatre scene. It’s so tough to live and thrive in New York City but having that sense of community gives me the needed support to keep moving. Whenever I feel run down from balancing life, work, and career, the New York theatre community somehow comes through for me in unexpected ways to remind me that I belong.
  • As a woman in a position of power, have you ever dealt directly with discrimination from those you worked with? And does it discourage or fuel your drive?
    • I think about this type of question a lot. I’ve heard a great response from one of my favorite directors, Anne Kauffman, something to the effect of keeping your head down and just focusing on the work. But I’m not as cool headed as her yet! I definitely clock it when that kind of thing happens and usually talk my girlfriend’s ear off about it, but I look to those women who have paved the way in our field with hope. They were persistent. And things are changing. And, ultimately, there’s nothing that can keep me from making the most clear and engaging story possible.
  • What are your aspirations and goals for later in your career?
    • Ultimate goals include being a working director in the Off-Broadway theatre scene for companies like Playwrights Horizon and Second Stage, which develop new plays and foster playwrights. I want to be a part of the reason the American theatre gets to hear new voices and underrepresented stories. Further down the line, I hope to be the artistic director of a regional theatre and make theatre by and for a specific community.
  • What’s the main difference for you between the two?
    • You definitely have to collaborate with a larger group of people when working on musicals. There needs to be stellar communication between the book-writer, the composer and/or lyricist, the musical director, and the choreographer, plus all of the designers and actors.
  • You also direct film, tell me a little about your work in that art form.
    • Directing for film was such a learning curve because of my theatre background. Coming into it was all about learning what types of shots are possible and what makes interesting storytelling choices. I’ve read up on filmmaking techniques and watched a lot of great movies for research to fill in the gaps of what I didn’t know. I mostly direct scripted comedies which has been an exciting contrast to most of the plays I do which tend to be dramas.
  • I see you direct in both musicals and plays. Do you have a preference in either? Why?
    • I grew up consuming and loving all things musical theatre. I come from a musical loving family where Sondheim rules supreme and family road trips always included singing through the entire score of The Rocky Horror Show. But since going to FSU School of Theatre, I’ve grown more interested in new play development. I love that I get to dissect language, stakes, and structure with up-and-coming playwrights.
  • What are you working in next?
    • After The Diplomats is over, I will be going into pre-production for a feature film produced by my good friends Jamison Daniels and Patricia McCarthy.
  • Sadly, today, there’s this section of people that believe in a patriarchy. What kind of advice would you give those women thinking of directing but feel discouraged because of the idea that it’s a man’s world?
    • To quote my favorite t-shirt, RIP the patriarchy. It’s time has come.
  • Favorite work and most inspiring figure
    • One of my favorite directors is Anne Kauffman. When I was getting out of school, I read about 4 new plays in a row that I just loved and realized their common thread was that they were all directed by her. She’s got a laser sharp intellect and it shows in every aspect of her storytelling of new works. I especially loved her work on Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime. The play exposed how comfortable we are as a society allowing technology to slowly infiltrate every aspect of our lives.

Follow Blayze’s career as it keeps rising, and shameless plug… COME SEE THE DIPLOMATS at the Fresh Fruit Festival!

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