directing, theatre, production


This study is based on the Vine Theater Company's production of "Steel Magnolias" performed in March of 2007 at the Garden Theater in Winter Park Florida, directed by Aradhana Tiwari. This document examines the directorial journey from vision to the stage. Specifically it will explore a.) The dynamics of the production process from a directorial lens. b.) Interpreting Harling's text for design and performance c.) The development of an artistic aesthetic through collaboration. In May of 2007, I mounted a production of "Steel Magnolias" for the Orlando International Fringe Festival. The show was performed in the Universal, a thrust space at the Orlando Repertory Theater. Soon after, Producers Stephanie Williams invited me to direct the same production again for her theater company, The Vine. This time the show will be mounted in a proscenium space called the Garden Theater, located in Winter Garden's Historical Preservation District. We will have three to four weeks of rehearsal. Two of those weeks will be in an alternate rehearsal space with one week on set prior to open. The show will run from March 7th through the 22nd with a few days in the dark. We will soon re-audition the show and open it up to professional actors. I am being paid a set sum for directorial responsibilities and an additional sum for sound design of the show. I'll be collaborating with Lighting Designer Erin Minor and Set Designer Tommy Mangieri, and costume designer Kelly VanDyke. We are all advised to stay within the parameters of a set budget. A tech crew will be provided by the Vine Theater Company. Everyone involved with the production is being compensated for their work, specific sums are at the producers discloser. My early vision for this production is romanticized realism. From the set, to lighting, costumes, sound and even blocking. My goal is to execute a "slice of life" in this salon located in a tiny Louisiana parish during the mid 1980's within a slightly romanticized portrait. One of the ways I'll go about doing this is to create a series of character building exercises tailored to the specific story. I aim to craft real characters with honest moments, but frame them inside a slightly romanticized set and proscenium blocking. Some of the challenges I'll be exploring in this study are how to adapt a thrust show to a proscenium, how to integrate old and new cast members into a unified process and progression, how to facilitate a collaborative process and lastly, how to achieve an artistic vision while sustaining the integrity of a small budget. The materials I'll be submitting is a collection of research, a log of technical needs and other printed information, reflections on every aspect of production such as set, sound, lighting, costumes, and a detailed rehearsal journal logging the production progression. These documents will track design ideas and archive any required changes that ensue. Finally, upon completion of the show I'll write a post -production summary. This will examine how close I got to my original goals, evaluate the process I implemented, highlight necessary modifications that were made along the way, and discus what I learned from the experience.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date



Harris, Lani


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program









Release Date

April 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)