A Day in the life of… James Kennedy

by on October 22, 2015

See more posts about: Apprentice/Intern Company, Blog

The “A Day in the Life of…” series highlights members of the 2015-2016 Apprentice/Intern Company. This week, we follow James Kennedy, Directing Intern, as he leads rehearsals for ‘The Wedding Guest’ and Solo Mio Round 3.

A Day in the life of… James Kennedy

Hello! My name is James Kennedy, and I’m a Directing Intern at Actors Theatre this season. October has been a really exciting month here–so many awesome things are happening! While no two days as a Directing Intern are truly alike, here’s an example of what a typical day has been for me recently.

My day begins promptly at 7a.m. After only hitting snooze once (I promise) (actually I’m lying, sorry, it’s three times minimum), I sleepwalk my way into the kitchen and make a big pot of coffee. After a few sun salutations to wake up the ol’ muscles and selecting the most director-y sweater I can find, it’s time to hop on my bike and head to the theatre! Good morning, Louisville!james_15

Today begins with a rehearsal of the second A/I Company Ensemble Project, which I’m directing–Steve Moulds’s The Wedding Guest. It’s our first time running through the entire play, and we’re really starting to get a better understanding of how this whole shindig is going to come together.james_14 It’s a site specific play on the empty fourth floor of the Actors Theatre office building, which is a delightfully creepy place to rehearse first thing in the morning. The talent in this room blows my mind–the actors are incredible, Steve has written a james_2scarily good play, my dramaturg Helena helps us unlock the play’s mysteries, and our stage manager Anna keeps us on track. They make it look easy, but we’re putting a lot of work into pulling this play together…though not without a shenanigan or two along the way.

After rehearsal, it’s time to head down to my desk and tackle today’s to-do list. Usually I say hello to my supervisor, Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Associatjames_3.1e Artistic Director Meredith McDonough, but she’s not here today! She’s at another super exciting regional theatre working on a super exciting project. I miss her when she’s gone, not only because she knows everything there is to know about directing plays, but also because she’s the funniest person in the state of Kentucky.

james_4I try to say hello to Les Waters, Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Artistic Director, but he’s not in his office either; his wisdom was needed elsewhere in the building. That means it’s time for me to indulge in one of my favorite secret habits: perusing his bookshelves. I think his library contains every play ever written…or at least the good ones. I’ll be sure to pick his brain about them when I see him later.

Ok, time to sit down and be productive. Here’s a sneaky photo of Nick O’Leary, james_5this season’s other directing intern, on the other side of my cubicle. Look how hard he’s working! I need to step up my game.
Quick pause to take some time to admire the Halloween decorations that Kyle Hatfield, james_6the wonderful Company Management Intern, has provided for the 3rd floor. I usually swing by Company Manager Dot King’s desk so we can talk about Beyoncé (and also because she gives me candy) but she’s away at the moment. Must…resist…candy jar…

Then I pay a visit to the Literary Interns! They’re very good at ignoring me while they get work done. They’re two of the smartest people I’ve ever met–Kate and I are currently collaborating on a Solo Mio (more on that later), and Helena is the dramaturg of The Wedding Guest. Smart, smart people, I tell you.


The to-do list slowly gets shorter (although I still owe Steve that email, sorry Steve!). Also pictured is my script for The Wedding Guest, which is still holding up despite how often I’m scribbling in it and flipping through it. It’s a dense, tricky play that requires a lot of figuring out, and as we rehearse, I’m constantly referring back to Steve’s words to be sure that we’re executing the play the best way possible. In addition, you can see my copy of the Theatre’s master production calendar, which helps me keep track of everything that’s happening simultaneously here–thank goodness for colored highlighters.

james_8I have a quick check-in with Katie Sammons, our Production Management Intern, at the Barry Manilow Conference Table. We’re discussing preparations for next week’s performances of The Wedding Guest. Here, she’s most likely telling me that we don’t have money in the budget to cut a trapdoor into the 4th floor, nor can we afford to purchase a puppy for every member of the cast and crew. What can I say, I’m an ideas guy! Katie helps keep it real.

We all know that coffee is life, and every afternoon I need to refuel to keep things going. Sunergos has my favorite coffee in Louisville, so I usually pay them a visit. Then, because it’s such a nice day, I sit outside to begin work on Sara Turner’s Solo Mio, because we have our first meeting about it today. What is a solo mio, you ask? A long-standing tradition here at Actors Theatre, every Apprentice writes and performs their own short solo performance piece. james_9This is the fourth Solo Mio I’ve directed, and they’re one of my favorite things I’ve gotten to do here. On this first read of the play, I note things that stick out to me: moments that reveal who the character is, details about the physicality of the space, props and costume things I need to know about, shifts in tone and texture, jokes, and other observations. I’ll then make a list of these observations and any questions I have about them, and use those questions to guide our discussion when we have our meeting. Sara has put a ton of work into her Solo Mio, and I want to be sure I honor her ideas and hopes for the piece.

One of my other favorite things about this job is getting to know the artists james_10from out of town who come here to work on productions. Today, the interns and apprentices had a “career chat” with cast members of Luna Gale. Not only are these actors wonderful to watch on stage, they’re gracious and generous with their knowledge about how to make it in the business of show.

Sara, Kate, and I met to discuss her Solo Mio script and make a rehearsal schedule. Those two like to have too much fun when it’s time to work, james_11so I really had to lay down the law.

I’m on the run crew for Luna Gale, so after a quick dinner it’s time to head down to the basement and prepare for this evening’s performance. I’m responsible for the men’s wardrobe and quick changes, so I iron everything before the james_12show and pre-set costumes backstage. When you ask yourself “How on earth do those dress shirts look so crisp and also how do they change so quickly?” the answer is that it’s all because of yours truly.

Before bed, I like to decompress with some quality reading time. Tonight’s selection is in preparation of the next production I’m working on…Christmas may still be two months away, but rehearsals begin next week!james_13

That’s all, folks! Thanks for coming along for the ride. Be sure to come see The Wedding Guest, and also Solo Mio Round 3, and also HMS Pinafore, and also The Lost Weekend, and also…really, you should just come see everything. I’ll see you there!


James Holod Kennedy
Theatre Person

Actors Theater of Louisville
316 West Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Box Office: 502.584.1205
502.371.0956 TDD

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