072: Representation matters. Stepping out of boxes with Director Michele Okoh

This is theatre director Michele Okoh’s second appearance on the ASBX podcast. We first spoke in early summer of 2018 prior to the Women’s Theatre Festival in which she directed Danai Gurira’s play ECLIPSED.

In this episode, Michele talks about what she learned from her directing experience last summer. She also speaks very passionately and with great vulnerability about the need for representation and inclusivity in the theatre for women artists of color and for creatives with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.  

Michele Okoh is a local director, playwright, and actor. She is currently directing “The Black Spectre: A Train Grown Cold”, a radio play, for Cary Playwright’s Forum. She is also currently writing  a new play THE VOICE OF TAMAR. She has previously directed a well-received production of Eclipsed for the North Carolina Women’s Theatre Festival. Selected ECLIPSED Reviews: Triangle Arts and Entertainment and Indyweek

Mentions: 037: Director Michele Okoh brings the heroes of ECLIPSED to the stage as part of the Women’s Theatre Festival

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Let’s talk about your experience directing ECLIPSED by Danai Gurira during the WTF of 2018.

We first spoke on the podcast prior to even your first rehearsal — I think you’d just had your first production meeting and had just cast the show.

Expectations vs. Reality: What did you expect from your experience as a director and how did the actual experience measure up to those expectations? (This can include your experience with the production team, designers, cast, producer, etc.)

What were some of the challenges that you bumped up against during the process?

What were some of the most successful aspects?

What did you hear during the talkbacks? How did the audience respond to the show?

As you spent more time with the play in rehearsal…how did your understanding of the story/characters/theme deepen? What did you learn about the play (or the themes of the play) just by doing it?

How did you grow as a director thru having this experience? What would you do differently and what would you do the same?

Now that you are on the other side of it, what value do you see in telling that particular story in this community?

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