A powerful female figure in the director’s chair for more than 20 years is Aliza Shane.
As a director, playwright and producer, Aliza works with her actors in a collaborative process, creating organic characters borne out of movement and improvisation in addition to the written word. Aliza is the co-founder and Co-Artistic Director of 3 Voices Theatre, alongside longtime collaborator and friend Jenn Tufaro. Most recently, she wrote and directed the original play, Mein Uncle, produced by 3V Theatre. In addition, 3V has produced numerous staged reading events, including Threesomes, Say Uncle!, Caged, Shocktober and Soaked, for which Aliza both wrote and directed.
She is former Assistant Managing Director at Looking Glass Theatre, winning an NYIT Award for her writing.
She is directing A Touch of Cinema by Duncan Pflaster featuring Michael Andrew Daly*, Lars Engstrom*, Russell Jordan*, Diánna Martin, Lucy Spain, and Kristen Vaughan, as part of the Spotlight On Festival opening next week.
Drama Queens is thrilled to be able to print a few words from this empowering female artist.
Tell us about yourself. How did you get started in the biz? Who were your inspirations?
I studied theatre and acting my whole life, and only discovered my true passion, directing at the very end of college. After working a while in the music industry, I realized I needed to break into theatre so I reached out to any and all contacts I’ve had in my life. I am grateful to have been given many opportunities to assistant direct, which led to directing my own projects. My main inspiration has always been my mother. She is a high school principal and English teacher, and while that may seem far away from theatre, the truth is that watching her lead a class or control an entire school of students reveals that she uses many of the same tools a director uses in a rehearsal room. Being able to keep control over a group while still caring for people and creating a safe space for them to be their creative best is a goal I keep in mind at all times.
What is your personal mission?
In general, I want to create beautiful, inspiring and provocative art. I try to push actors to their greatest heights and to bring the written word to life onstage.
What do you look for in your plays and players?
When it comes to theatre, I always want to work on shows with leading and exciting roles for women, and to make sure that women have a place at the table, creatively. I also always want to learn from other artists and surround myself with passionate people who have a part of the creative process.
What are your biggest obstacles as a woman in indie theater?
I find that people tend to underestimate me. They think I’m younger than I am, and sometimes in our society, women can be steamrolled over by a man with a louder voice. However, once I open my mouth, there is no doubt who is in charge. 😊
What would YOU tell the next generation of female artists?
I would say that a lot of wisdom comes with time and age… you are going to make mistakes; we all have. The most important thing is to forgive yourself for your missteps and to learn how to do better next time. You also lose nothing by admitting mistakes to others. As a director, you always have to have an answer ready for your actors, but you don’t always have to be right. It’s ok to say “I don’t know” or to say “you know what? I was wrong. Let’s try something else.”
In addition, never overrate kindness. Creating art can put people in a very vulnerable place, and being kind and loving during that process goes a long way.