March Madness 2019 winning director, Shannon Broekhoeven on the March Madness experience.

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I came into March Madness directing with the goal of bending the script as much as possible while still telling a cohesive narrative. The thrill of March Madness for me came from taking a script that will also be used by the other teams and finding a way to take it and make it my own. When we got our script, I immediately sat down with the rest of my team and we hashed out our plan so we were ready for auditions with the character archetypes we wanted.

Because that's the other thing about March Madness: it's extraordinarily collaborative and it has to be for it to work. We had our plan but were open to things discovered in rehearsal or suggested by the actors or other team members. Things * will * show up in rehearsal you weren’t prepared for and didn’t expect but work really well, and being able to roll with that will make your show that much stronger. Plus it's exciting to see that happen!

I directed a March Madness team while only having a little directing experience, and found it immensely rewarding. My team was fantastic, and having a set of people who could help with the brainstorming/planning meant the end result was much better than I could ever do on my own. I found teasing the script apart and finding what each moment meant (whether it was the "expected" reading of the moment or not) very satisfying, and the creativity that could be put into all of the decisions exciting.

My biggest piece of advice (other than you should totally do it it's so much fun and you don't need to know what you're doing) is stay practical, and don't let yourself get overwhelmed. You have one week, and while a lot can be accomplished in a week (I pulled off teaching a musical in a week one March Madness), be realistic about what can be done (with the musical, that meant very simple music and very simple choreo). There’s a million different decisions you’ll have to make: what a line means, who a line is directed at, what a character does, what a prop is, what the setting is. Don’t be scared of this, and don’t be afraid to ask for opinions and help and ideas. The rest of your team is there, and putting on a show together is what this crazy week is all about.

Well, that and the beautiful chaos that inevitably happens.