Micah Goodding, the director of the KC’s production of Middletown, has a personal connection with this production. As an actor in the Middletown premier in London while he was in graduate school, Goodding expressed the complexities that come with directing and the weight of responsibility that this role carried and is excited about this being the Texas premier of Middletown.
Goodding’s experience in small towns as a high school theatre teacher and now as a theatre professor allows him to relate to the small town feel of this production.
His experience on both sides of the spectrum of theatre, as an actor and currently as a director, proves he can relate to the challenges of both arts.
“I think that directing is more challenging for me because it is more collaborative. Your job as the director is to respond to what all the other artists are bringing to the table,” Goodding said. “You have to create a unified vision out of all of these different parts and have your own ideas of what the show should look like, sound like, and feel like, well ahead of time so that you can communicate that to your cast, crew, and designers, and be ready to respond to what they give you,”.
Goodding compared being a director to being a midwife, because “you’re not really doing all of the work yourself. Your actors, your designers and your cast are, but you are coaxing it along.”
Goodding also said, “Directing puts you in to mind of a traffic light because you have to tell things when to stop, when to go, and when to slow down.
”Directing takes a lot more maturity then acting does because you have to let go and release control whereas acting is more of taking risks that are more personal,” he said.
This play was written so the characters could articulate the common fears, hopes, anxieties, and dreams that are beneath the surface of which all of human kind experiences.
“We should be able to relate on a deeper level and feel like ‘. Hey I know someone like this’ or ‘I can see me in this character’’’, Goodding said.
Relationships unfold between Mrs. Swanson played by Madison Gable, and John Dodge, played by Ian Kirckpatrick, who are the only characters who are actually named in the play. The remainder of the cast will be named by their job title but the play equally focuses on the entire cast.
Middletown is set to open on Thursday Feb. 23 in the Van Cliburn Auditorium and is written by playwright Will Eno. The play is about a town that could represent any town in America and emphasizes everyday experiences and relationships that are common while exploring the mystery of common existence.