Theatre director and teacher Robert Botello smiles during a rehearsal

Behind the Curtain – Interview with Robert Botello (pt. 2)

Community theatre director and teacher Robert Botello gives tips on how to create a show

For somebody who is eager to get into theatre, is there some advice you could give or something you would tell them? 

Robert: I would say two things mainly. First off, you can totally do it. There can be this feeling that you have to be qualified or you have to be trained or you have to sing all the right parts and not mess up. So much pressure like that and it’s just not true. Anyone can do it, anyone is qualified to do it. The magic of the theatre is not that the best people are chosen, it really comes when the right people are chosen!

Each individual plays a part—if you are the right person for a role, whether that is on stage, whether it’s technical, whether it’s stage directing—it doesn’t matter. There really is a right fit for you there. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, you don’t have to have studied it or have sang in other productions to be qualified. You can absolutely do it!

The other thing I would say is that anything is possible. When I watched the Broadway production of ‘Circle of Life,’ it excited me, because somebody (meaning one of the creators) saw the movie and thought, ‘how do we make animals come to life (on stage)?’ If you look at all the different costumes from the brainstorming sessions, they are the craziest ideas—like somebody said, ‘what if we have a bird on his head, and then three birds on his arms and then he dances around the stage?’ And then someone else said, ‘Sure, let’s try it!’

And so, anything’s possible. It just takes these off-the-wall ways of making things happen. And then sometimes, you think, ‘well, I don’t know, we’ll just see if it floats.’ Or ‘gosh, how could we bring the magic of xyz show?’ or ‘how could you tap into the hype that is High School Musical and make that translate into a local production?’ It is possible! There are things you can do. You can bring basketballs on stage and have twenty kids dribbling balls everywhere and it might seem like in your head, ‘this is gonna be a hot mess’ or ‘how are we gonna make this witch melt (in the Wizard of Oz)?’ There are ways. Be creative, have fun. The creativity that the whole team brings to the stage, it makes for such a cool experience!

Question 3 Coming Soon! 

Robert is a director with a community theatre program in rural Alabama, helping children and teens in an impoverished area gain opportunities through local theatre.

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