by Enda Breadon, Director of The Shameshifter
How I feel about being involved with Out of the Fire in one word: grateful. No wait . . . excited. No, maybe "challenged" is better. No, "exhausted," well "exhausted in a really, really good way." But I guess that's more than one word. I can't possibly begin to articulate my many feelings about getting this opportunity in just a few words.
I absolutely love the character that Doug Reed has created, he reminds me very much of Ignatius Reilly from Confederacy of Dunces, particularly in his over-use of adjectives and adverbs when flustered or outraged. In the first draft that I received (I believe the first or second draft that Doug wrote) I felt there was a great character waiting to come out, but he was far from there. In discussions with both Doug and Donavon, our actor, we were all in agreement that there is something about the character that is almost wonderful but it wasn't quite clicking yet.
The process of mining him out has been mentally exhausting and very exciting. But the fact that it's so character-centric and Donavon brings so much has made the process really enjoyable. Donavon instinctually can go introspective and intense in a truly believable way without losing the audience's focus. I don't know of another actor I've worked with whom can do that. Donavon reveals the character to the audience in a way that is both endearing and funny. The deep discussions of the character's rhythm and motivations that Donavon and I shared would have been immensely fulfilling even if this was never being performed anywhere.
At the time of this writing Doug, Donavon and myself are still working on rewrites. In various capacities I've worked with many playwrights on new (or new versions) of scripts, including some heavily produced writers like Y York, Marki Shalloe, and Carl Djerassi. This one has been equal to any of those experiences in terms of how much I look forward each day to dealing with the text, the writer, and the actor. So of all the many words I could apply to this process, I suppose going back to "grateful" is probably the best single choice.