With the opening of BUS STOP just a week away
we wanted to turn the spotlight on the Director of
this upcoming production, Center Players’ veteran
actor & director, Jeff Caplan.
Over the past several years Mr. Caplan has been seen in a number of productions including: 20th Century, Doubt, How the Other Half Loves, Mr. 80%, All My Sons, and Miracle On 34th Street: A Live Radio Play.
In recent seasons, Mr. Caplan has directed our productions of Neil Simon’s Laughter On the 23rd Floor and last holiday’s A Christmas Carol.
With less than three weeks to go before opening night, you’d think Center Players Director Jeff Caplan would be running around frantically, jumping up and down excitedly, screaming hysterically when things don’t go exactly perfect, and carrying on like a maddened director. That’s what you’d think, right? Not if you know Jeff Caplan. Instead, this Jeff Caplan, of both director and actor acclaim, is as cool, calm and collected as always. It doesn’t appear that anything rattles his cage.
At a recent rehearsal, Jeff sat quietly while the rehearsal went on. It appeared he was studying the faces and expressions of cast members as they went through their parts. Occasionally, he rubbed hi chin in thought, sipped idly at a cardboard container of coffee, or whispered a thought or two producer Colleen DeFelice. Colleen sat sipping her own cup of coffee anf following the script, ready to give a “line” when an actor forgot or omitted one.
This week, Jeff added another chore to his already busy schedule. Director Jeff Caplan, in addition to directing BUS STOP which opens October 10th, will also be Actor Jeff Caplan, portraying Carl, the bus driver whose long distance bus is stranded at a roadside diner waiting out a blizzard.
I got the chance to seat down with Jeff for a few minutes after a late night rehearsal recently, and got a little more insight into what makes him such a terrific theatrical person.
As far as directing the play, Jeff never quits. After next week, the cast and crew launch into Tech Week, the time when the director goes over all the lights, sound, equipment, movements on stage, voice, lines, and all the other big and little things that go into ensuring perfection. He’ll make changes here and there, but he adds that “there’s always a little tweaking, even after the show opens.”
That’s because, Jeff explains, “the audience becomes part of the performance.” He admits to watching the play every one of the 15 nights it’s on stage, and making changes according to the interaction with the audience. “If an actor says something in a certain way and it gets a big laugh, then we’ll change it to incorporate the new words or expression for the rest of the performances.” Similarly, if it appears that something “doesn’t work” with the audience, then he’ll make the modification to change or delete it.
“Every audience gives energy to the actors , “ he said, “they become part of the show, and the actors can react to their energy.” I guess that’s why they call it live entertainment!