11 Nov Q&A with Anne of Green Gables Director Heather Tinker
We’re thrilled to have Heather Tinker join us in her debut as a director at OCTA! She answered several questions about this production, the story, and her process which are below along with her official Director’s notes and bio. (Warning: If you’re new to the world of Anne of Green Gables, there are spoilers, which are marked.)
1. Why did you want to direct Anne of Green Gables at OCTA?
I first performed at OCTA last December and loved the space. Anne of Green Gables has been a favorite book and movie of mine since I was young. It was the first community show I was ever a part of as a high schooler. It holds a special place in my heart. It is fitting it is my first community show to direct! I also felt it was timely with the new series of Netflix and it is a show that hasn’t been produced much in the area. I hoped OCTA audiences would enjoy seeing this beloved story come to life.
2. Have you worked at OCTA before?
I have been on stage in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and as part of the New Works Festival, but I have not worked as a director or backstage at OCTA before.
3. What kinds of shows do you love to direct?
I love almost all types of shows – it’s hard to decide! I love directing shows that tell a story, which I realize most shows do, but I like to focus on the positive. While many shows, including Anne of Green Gables have dark or sad moments, I like shows that leave the audience feeling hopeful and reinvigorated about their own lives.
4. How is the stage version like the Anne of Green Gables story that so many people know? (**SPOILERS**)
Many of the classic moments that most people recall so fondly are in the stage version such as Anne’s green hair and accidentally giving Diana currant wine. Others may not be directly seen on stage, but are still referred to within the dialogue. I think this version does a nice job of hitting the highlights of the Anne story and still maintains a good rhythm.
5. What are some of the exciting challenges or opportunities your show presents?
It is challenging to produce a classic story that so many people have a distinct version of in their imaginations whether it be from the book or the movie or even now, the television series. We want to be sure we are portraying the characters everyone loves, but also giving our own interpretation. It is also a challenge to age children and adults approximately six to seven years in the course of a two hour play! We are working with costume pieces, voices, and physicality to be sure the audience believes the time lapses. Lastly, a large cast such as Anne always presents a challenge in terms of staging, but it also brings with it a lot of fun and comradery within the cast.
6. What is your favorite moment in the Anne narrative? (**SPOILER**)
I think one of my favorite moments is near the end when Anne gives up her scholarship to stay with Marilla at Green Gables. Both characters show such vulnerability and growth from the beginning of the story. It demonstrates Anne’s love for Green Gables and Marilla as well as Marilla’s willingness to give it all up for Anne’s dreams.
This show is near to my heart for many reasons. Anne of Green Gables is the first community show I was ever a part of and it was not long after I had moved to Kansas City after my sophomore year of high school. It feels appropriate that it is my first community show to direct! I have loved Anne of Green Gables since I was a young girl and have read the whole series and watched the movies multiple times. I think Anne’s story is a wonderful coming of age story that helps people remember to stop and appreciate what they have a little more. While Anne can appear as the star of the story, I think the other characters in this narrative are just as engaging and interesting as Anne. Matthew, Marilla, Rachel, Gilbert; they all grow and learn from Anne and she learns from them. I think we all aspire to be the kind of people who learn from others but also leave our mark on them. Anne of Green Gables is one of those stories you just love to keep coming back to. I hope you will enjoy this live stage version as much as I do!
BIO: Heather Tinker (Director) is excited to return to OCTA, this time as a director. She recently appeared as Grace Bradley in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and as a cast member in the New Works Play Competition. Heather is the Director of Theatre at MidAmerica Nazarene University and has taught and directed at Benedictine College, Kansas City Young Audiences, Christian Youth Theatre, and The Culture House. She has also performed in local plays and films. Heather completed her Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Public Relations with a minor in Theatre at MNU and a Master of Arts degree in Theatre from KU.