By Bella Wilcox
Sophomore Trey Hale is currently in the process of directing Ram’s Head Theatrical Society’s fall show, “Gaieties 2015: Chem 31XXX.” I was lucky enough to snatch him for a chat about everything from his vision for the annual program to some unforeseen challenges faced in the making of his directorial debut.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): How did you first become involved with “Gaieties?”
Trey Hale (TH): I did “Gaieties” last year as a freshman — I was a cast member. I heard about it on a visit here to Stanford before I applied. It sounded like the wacky theatrical experience I wanted to have and as a freshman, I kind of just jumped right in!
TSD: What drew you to direct “Gaieties” this year? Did you want to bring something new to it you hadn’t seen before?
TH: After being involved, the community was so strong and so impactful to my experience as a freshman; I really saw how it brought together these people from all over campus. I wanted to have a bigger role in that and to experience it from the point of view that I could facilitate more communities being brought into the “Gaieties” family.
TSD: What was your artistic vision for “Gaieties” and how did you bring this vision to life?
TH: “Gaieties” is interesting because it’s such a long tradition — 104 years now — so it’s so deeply rooted in traditions that [started] from the very beginning. As a director, what I wanted to get out it of this year was to bring in representation that hasn’t been seen onstage in “Gaieties” yet, and as an arts community I think we still have a long way to go in representation. This year’s “Gaieties” is taking steps towards that — we have some queer representation, which I think is a great step and something I’m really excited about.
TSD: What obstacles did you face directing this piece?
TH: The cast is 22 people, and they’re all very outgoing, loud, passionate people, so it’s kind of like corralling an elementary school classroom at times — that’s just something that’s the nature of “Gaieties.” So keeping control of the cast. And because it’s such a large production on the MemAud stage with lights, costuming, set, there’s a lot of communication and collaboration that needs to happen, so being a part of that process as the head of the artistic side and bridging the gap with the technical was a learning experience.
TSD: Can you expand on that?
TH: The producers and the head writers were the first ones involved in the process, and then I was hired, so I am very connected with the producer. The head writers have been pretty present in the process. They come to the design runs and give their input, and then I chat with them about what they envisioned for this and try to stay true to that as well as going into my own artistic route.
TSD: What else have you directed? How has directing “Gaieties” differed from your previous experiences?
TH: In high school, I directed two shows and assistant directed two shows — all four were musicals. Back there in Missouri, it was much more hands-on for me in terms of the scope of what I was in charge of. People weren’t in specific roles, it was kind of me doing everything. I would have to build the set, and also the props, and also [choreograph] and [direct], so it was all across the board.
TSD: So you think that you’ve found your process as a director more through “Gaieties?”
TH: Yes, definitely. Before, I was so distracted in everything else and this way I can just focus on the story that we’re trying to tell through “Gaieties” this year.
TSD: What do you hope people gain when they come to see “Gaieties?”
TH: “Gaieties” is an interesting situation in that it is a huge production. A lot of time goes into it — it really is a real theatrical endeavor and the rest of campus comes and it’s a very fun Stanford spirit kind of event. I want it to still be that kind of great, engaging, exciting experience for the audience that is also visually entertaining and very polished and put together. I think it’s an expression of Stanford — people are always talking about the cliche of Stanford energy. I really do feel like “Gaieties” embodies that and I hope that through “Gaieties,” Stanford students can come and fall in love with Stanford again.
“Gaieties 2015:Chem 31XXX” performs Nov. 18-20 at Memorial Auditorium. For tickets, visit gaieties.stanford.edu.
Contact Bella Wilcox at belwilc ‘at’ stanford.edu.