For a couple of years now, Tom Coleman has been the only person directing productions of Savannah Community Theatre. No more.
While Coleman readies an original production to debut later this year, Anthony Paderewski will helm SCT's newest production, Butterflies Are Free, which opens April 23 at the theatre on Victory Drive.
"Last year Anthony was in Blood Brothers and also in a murder mystery we do at the Pirate's House," Coleman says. "He asked me if I was interested in him directing something. I told him, not in the first year, because I sort of have to keep tabs on everything that's happening, but in the second year talk to me. So as soon as the second year was being planned he called me the first day, and was like ‘Let me do this.'"
Coleman says he's confident that Paderewski's energetic approach will do justice to the classic late '60s comedy by Leonard Gershe about a blind man who falls in love with a hippie, much to the chagrin of his mom.
"He had done Butterflies Are Free at Armstrong while he was there and had a good grasp of the play," continues Coleman. "He was so enthusiastic about it that I decided that would be the first venture away from ‘Tom-Coleman-Directs-Everything' to let somebody else do something. Everything since then has been at a massive enthusiasm level, so if that counts for anything he should have a great show on his hands (laughs)."
A film actor by training, Paderewski says his directorial style will be totally different from Coleman's. Preparation included a week-long workshop in the Meisner technique of acting before the cast even had scripts.
"It's sort of like, what did that feel like when you said that? Did that feel right?" relates Paderewski. "And often they're honest with me and they'll say, ‘No, it didn't.' If it doesn't feel right it's not going to be believable. I don't want them to act it, I want them to live it in the moment."
He says the play's intimate quality lends itself to the technique.
"It's mostly you looking into the lives of these people. They're having conversations and unveiling these emotions and these moments, and you're looking right at it. It doesn't need to be theatrical, it's more like a film."
The cast includes Whitney Chappell, Reece Thomas, Pepe Streiff, and Kyle Price.
Savannah Community Theatre's Butterflies Are Free
When: Thursday-Sunday, April 23-26, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 26, 3 p.m.
Where: Savannah Community Theatre, 2160 E. Victory Dr.