Meet the Artist, Kevin Ehrhart!
Kevin Ehrhart is one of the professional teaching artists at The Rose Theater and he is directing our production of The Cat in the Hat. Kevin has directed many shows at The Rose Theater, including recent productions of Judy Moody, Madagascar: A Musical Adventure and Madeline’s Christmas. We asked him to tell us more about the experience of directing this beloved Dr. Seuss classic!
Q: Can you tell us a little about your job as a director? What does a director do to get a play ready for an audience?
A: The first thing I do to prepare to direct a play is read the script a few times. Each full read-through gives me new inspirations. After being inspired by the content of the script, I explore the inspirations in terms of production elements of sets, costumes, props, sound and lighting to prepare for the first design meetings with the technical staff. The next stage is an in-depth analysis of the script to tie in every element to the themes that inspired me before. This analysis will act as a sort of yardstick with which I will measure forthcoming ideas as I prepare for rehearsals. The rehearsals will allow me to play with the actors in a safe environment as we make discoveries and prepare a structure with which they can play with the audience.
Q: What is one of your rehearsals like for a show like The Cat in the Hat?
A: The Cat in the Hat is about chaotic fun so my rehearsals will reflect that. Of course all of the chaos will be planned out and be contained in a fun sort of order. There will be days when we study clowning and days when we fly kites at the park. There will also be days when we stage things in the studio with tape lines on the floor.
Q: You have acted in many shows at The Rose Theater – in fact you’ve performed on stage in Rose Theater productions for more than 30 years! How does your experience as an actor help you to do your job as a director?
A: I believe my experience as an actor helps a great deal when I am directing. Having been on the performance side of things has provided me with a unique vocabulary with which I can communicate ideas as I collaborate with actors in a production. I attempt to create an environment for play that has allowed me to make discoveries as an actor in the past.
Q: The Cat in the Hat is a classic story by Dr. Seuss that has been loved by many generations. Did directing a story like that present any special challenges?
A: The fact that this story is so beloved is only encouraging to me as I work through the aspects that inspire me the most.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a director?
A: My favorite part of being a director is when I am collaborating with actors and we are finding ourselves lost in the story we are preparing to share.
Q: What is one of the most challenging things about your job?
A: One of the most challenging aspects of directing is making sure that I communicate my inspirations to the technical staff in such a way that the actors are not stifled as we create
Q: Is there anything you hope audiences will notice about how you’ve directed
A: Absolutely not. My largest hope is to stay out of the way and allow this important story to be created a new for each audience that shares it with us.
Thank you for sharing your work with us, Kevin!