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A Day In The Life … “The Family Shakespeare” By The Numbers

by Karen Tortora-Lee on April 4, 2011

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If you’ve never directed a show you probably don’t have any idea how many things need to be juggled, handled, addressed, discussed, solved, finessed, smoothed out, put in order  … it boggles the mind.   I asked my beloved friend Antonio Minino to tell me what a random day is like for him as he directs David Stallings’ The Family Shakespeare for MT Works.  I need a nap just reading his answers!

The Family Shakespeare is a magical and dark fictional look into the dangers and consequences of caging innocence. It is inspired by the true story of the Bowdler family and delves into the psyche of a family who thinks it has the right to cross out and modify words with the supposed aim to protect youth and purity.

As the director of this ambitious tale Antonio is busy from (early) morning till night (or … would that be even earlier morning?).  Here is a breakdown of how he spent his Saturday …


When did you wake up?
Around 8am today.

The amount of times you hit the snooze button
I actually don’t hit the snooze button, I just check my phone (which is my alarm clock) every 2 minutes to see how many minutes I can get away with – I should probably start embracing the snooze.

The cups of coffee you need to wake up
Two cups will do it!  Normally I brew it at home but with rehearsals I’ve been buying it at the closest deli or Starbucks to wherever we are rehearsing that day.

The time you REALLY feel awake
Lately around 11am - I’m normally a good morning person, when I hit the gym I like doing it at 6am – last time that routine happened it was 1985… no just kidding, it was a couple of months ago. The show has changed all my routines and added back the 10 pounds I had successfully lost.


What did you eat?

The number of emails you answer before you take your first bite
I try and check all my emails before I walk out the door, probably an average of 20 emails.

The number of emails you ignore / put off for later
Lately I’ve been putting off for later more than ever. Normally I’m very good at replying, I feel like the person that emails me is waiting on the other side, desperately seeking for an answer.

The number of emails you write that have the words “Shakespeare” in them
Probably all of them … Well if my signature counts which says “buy your tickets to The Family Shakespeare” then definitely all of them.


The songs on your iPod that you listen to the most
I’m obsessed with Jamie Cullum, if you don’t know him look him up. Lately I’ve been listening to Jessie Montgomery’s compositions for the show. They are just beautiful and get me in the mood for rehearsal. I also like the Black Swan soundtrack.


The number of calls you take
Not many, maybe 5 a day tops.

The number of calls you send right to voice mail
Probably 4 of the 5 :)

The number of calls you make
I’m more of an email, facebook and text person. So maybe 1 call a day keeps the doctor away.

The number of people who meet with you about the production
Including the designers, cast, marketers, press rep, company staff … around 26

The number of people who come to rehearsal 13

The number of people who say “what do you think about …” 26


The number of times you yelled
Do the number of times I’ve wanted to yell count? if they do around 5 times.


The number of times you laughed
Every rehearsal I laugh, so maybe 5 times a rehearsal? not bad for a drama.







The person who gets me through the day is …
If it wasn’t for the playwright of The Family Shakespeare, David Stallings, the stage manager Carolynn Richer and the producer Martha Goode I’d be lost every day of this process. Totally lost at sea with no lifeboat or water or sexy trunks.


What did you have for lunch?
A grilled chicken salad … well no that’s what I should have had for lunch … a ham and brie sandwich.







The number of notes you take at a rehearsal
An average of around 7 pages. I have big hand writing though and only give the actors around 1 page of my 7. A lot of notes I take are things that I know will resolve themselves on their own.


The number of changes you made today
Today we fixed a couple of blocking issues that were making me lose sleep and a “floating” moment. We cut a couple of lines that are now acted and need not be said with the words.

The number of times you said “that was amazing”
I can’t remember the last time I said that was amazing and not for lack of amazement. Wait that’s not true, 4 times today when I was talking about Jessie Montgomery and her Quartet.

The number of times you thought “I want to quit!!!”

Only twice and at the beginning of the process. You see I was a replacement and accepting the gig completely changed my routine and it meant directing actors I did not cast, so it took me a couple of days to feel them out and understand how they work and how our styles would merge. Also walking into the first production meeting with the designers when they already had some ideas as to what the show would be and basically changing their concepts on them was also difficult for me, thankfully they liked what I had to bring to the table.


What miracle happened today?
We ran the show at 10am in the morning. We’ve been running the show since last Tuesday which is a miracle of its own in the off-off circuit. We’ve been running the complete show two weeks before opening! On a not show related miracle I napped from 4pm to 9pm.








What time was dinner?
It’s 10:41pm and I haven’t had dinner yet. I guess I should sign into seamlessweb and figure that one out.

What did you have?

Haven’t decided. Something decadent. I’m dreadful to my body temple during a show. Something I definitely need to work on.

Who was your last email of the day to? What was it about?
It was sending these answers to you! No really it was about bar options as to where to celebrate our opening night party.

What was your last thought of the day before hitting the pillow?
I know it will be “Is rehearsal really at 10am again tomorrow? on a Sunday! I miss Unity of New York” that will be my last thought for sure.


Time you went to sleep?
I’m predicting 2am. I just can’t seem to make my brain slow down and I’ve tried meditating every night, using nature soothing sounds … 2am seems to be the norm.



Now that you know what’s going into this amazing production you know you want to see it.  Click Here to purchase tickets for this wonderful play.  I’ll see you there.



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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

DiannaNo Gravatar April 12, 2011 at 11:52 am

He’s working so hard! I swear I can see smoke coming from his ears…the show is going to be great.


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