“These past 2 years have been interesting. I watched a couple of plays on zoom and realized that I did not want to direct in that form, so I decided to wait until things improved,” says Laurie Rae Waugh, one of the leading directors of the landmark American Theatre of Actors, “I am a people person and I prefer to work in person,” She concluded with a definitive aire. This did not stop her from being an actor – in October of 2021 – in an event celebrating the life of playwright James Crafford who passed in October of 2020. James Crafford Times 10 compiled ten of the profound playwright’s one-acts as a tribute to him. Shortly after that she received a play from producer James Jennings. “He had me read the play DADDY’S GIRLS which was written by Ms. Norma Mortimer. I enjoyed the script very much but realized that the play was only an hour long. I reached out to Mr. Jennings to see if there was another one-act that I could pair it with that had a similar setting. Mr. Jennings put me in contact with Ms. Mortimer who sent me another one-act and we now have an evening of one act plays by Norma Mortimer.”
These two family dramas or drama within the family, open March 2 at the ATA putting Waugh, an expert at initimate relationship plays back in the directors chair. We grabbed a few minutes with her before she started a rehearsal:
What obstacles are you expecting to face now?
First, finding actors who were willing to get back into the theater while following COVID protocols. Most importantly I wanted to keep everyone in the cast safe. Since both casts have 4 actors, I have been rehearsing them separately until we run the shows together to get a sense of just how long the evening will run. I also had to make sure that everyone was vaccinated to be a part of this production.
How are you different from pre-pandemic in terms of your theatrical style or passion or creative process?
I don’t think I am different at all. I still go in with the same passion as I would any play I am directing. The only difference here is that I am working with a new playwright. I am looking forward to hearing her thoughts after she sees the play for the first time,
Do you think this should be a Broadway play or an off-Broadway play? Why?
Yes. Each play has its own rhythm, flair, and drama. We are only doing part of the play RUN THE COURSE as the play was also written as a full length. The longer version of RUN THE COURSE has the making in itself as an off-Broadway play.
The first one act play RUN THE COURSE is a drama filled with several twists and turns along the way. What I like about the play is that I didn’t see them coming and neither will an audience. The second one act play, DADDY’S GIRLS, is also a drama with some funny and touching moments throughout. If you’re paying attention, you will see early where this one is going. If not, then enjoy the ride.
I am not sure. I have 3 full length plays that have been approved for production however the cast sizes range from 8 to 12 actors, with one play having all the actors on the stage at once. I am waiting to see where COVID will be later this year and whether we will get back to some kind of normal. The 3 plays are written by two members of the same family. The late Irving A. Greenfield with WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT WALTER? And MY MOTHER’S BOOKIE and his son Nathan Greenfield with Poznan, Poland: 23 May 1943.