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Travis Daly: Dynamic Local Director

Angela Russell, Maroon Tribune Reporter

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“I’ve always wanted to be a movie director, from when I was 14 years old.” Travis Daly, an actor and director from the Berkshire Theater Group of Berkshire County, is well known for his talent and perseverance in his career (And to this day, his dream has not changed). However, what some may not know are all the obstacles and challenges this inspired individual overcomes on a daily basis, and the rewards he is granted in return.

Growing up…

Travis Daly knew right from the start of his adolescence what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. “A movie director,” he quickly stated in response to my question of what he wanted to be when he was younger. “I always wanted to tell stories and work with actors and I like to watch performances shape.” I asked Daly what inspired him initially to have this dream. “A lot of people inspired me. A bunch of different teachers […] different directors […] I would go rent seven movies for seven dollars on the weekends.” A weekend well spent in Daly’s eyes.

Getting down to business…

Watching movies wasn’t going to be enough if Daly wanted to really understand a director’s world. But in order to

“To be relaxed and to take positive risks, I just think that’s really what theater is all about.”

direct the actors, Daly first had to become the actor. So, after a few years of experience in acting at Berkshire Theater Festival, Daly jumped right into the directing field.

Throughout all those years, Daly had to face plenty of new challenges and struggles that would not be easy to  battle through.

Being the boss isn’t all fun and games

On his way to becoming a director, Daly had to learn a lot about the acting world, the directing world, and even about himself. Starting with the basics, Daly had to master the challenges of being a successful actor. “Being able to control my voice takes a lot of training […] a lot of times people don’t understand how much work goes into being able to control my voice as an actor, whether you’re becoming a different character, or narrating, or […] being able to control your words.”

…but challenges are half of the fun

After conquering some acting basics, he was eager and ready to take on a whole new set of challenges from his dream job as a director. I asked Daly what some of the hardest struggles he faced were. “Being really specific with actors sometimes,” says Daly, “[…] I direct struggles in darker plays better than the lighter comedic shows that maybe have a lot of comedic timing […] that’s just not my […] style. Directing lighter, comedic plays are tougher for me.” I also asked him about the differences between directing children and directing adults. “It’s really about different personalities and different types of people. And it depends on how much experience they have.”

Like being an actor, being a director takes a lot of technique and hard work to be successful. “Before you even have auditions you have to study the script a lot and figure out what the story says to you […] and then after that you are gonna open it to anybody who is interested in coming out to audition for the show […] and then putting a lot of time into the call backs, and figuring out who we want to see.”

Patience is a virtue

A lot of time and energy is needed to make sure a play is performed to its full potential, but on top of that, Daly had to overcome his own personal obstacles and the same time. “I’m easily distracted, so I do not, and try not to allow, people to talk […] during the scene because I’ll get distracted and watch them.”

What does it take to be a leader

            Daly is faced with plenty of complications in theater that take a lot of patience. As a director, Daly’s job is to make the best production possible, and in order to do so the cast needs his leadership. “In general, I think I try to create a certain level of discipline and focus with the group that always is hopefully moving things forward and getting people ready to go, and always in a state of readiness.”

What’s gonna work; Team work

Even before that, Daly has to make sure he creates a strongly bound cast that is willing to work with each other as well as with him. “With smaller shows, […] we do stuff like […] go out to the movies […] and it’s easier to do, it’s a smaller group.” But with larger groups, Daly suggests things like group activities, such as theater games. “Kids, you can play theater games. Theater games are good for bringing people together.”

“Ultimately I want people to do well and go out there and try to find their voice and tell their story, and all that’s done through art. Theater.”

When it comes to those groups trusting their director, Daly knows exactly what to do. “I think with everybody it’s getting them all to trust you. To be relaxed and to take positive risks, I just think that’s really what theater is all about.”

After everyone is able to trust that his or her director is the real deal, Daly has to bring out the iron fist. “I like people to get off book and learn their lines as soon as possible,” says Daly after I ask him about his greatest pet peeves. “I think my number one pet peeve in all of it is preparation. If I’m not prepared, I don’t feel good.”

You’ve got to keep your energy up

With all of this commotion going on on a daily basis, Daly has to find some sources of energy and motivation. “I’m huge into green tea, and I love Japanese Sencha […] and I probably will have anywhere from like two to eight cups of green tea a day, to keep me moving and going forward.” He also tries to stay as healthy and hydrated as possible, keeping himself in the zone and mentally prepared every day.

After a long day of work, the struggles he overcame pay off, and Daly is rewarded for his persistence.

The sweet satisfaction of a job well done

I asked Daly what he liked most about working with the production of Oliver this past summer, and how the experience of working with both kids and adults benefitted him. “I had a lot of fun working with all the kids and adults and the design team. And the grind of figuring out how can it all come together, and working with all different types of

“You have to be true to yourself. I think that’s the key to anything you’re doing.”

people and just thinking about it all day every day […] definitely a challenge but I think if you put a lot of thought and time into it, it wasn’t as overwhelming as people may think.”

I asked Daly how he’d like to be remembered at BTG. “I think someone who hopefully inspired people to work together and take positive risks and gain opportunities.

The key to happiness

“Ultimately I want people to do well and go out there and try to find their voice and tell their story, and all that’s done through art. Theater.”

And how exactly could people accomplish this for themselves? Daly says, “You have to be true to yourself. I think that’s the key to anything you’re doing.”

 

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