Photo courtesy of Meg Hamblen
University of Rhode Island senior Megan Hamblen directed the University’s production of “Time Stands Still” with great success the weekend of Nov. 2.
Over the summer, Hamblen read around 25 plays trying to find the perfect one to direct this fall and stumbled upon “Time Stands Still.” She recalled a friend doing a monologue from the show during her sophomore year, but it wasn’t until the summer that Hamblen realized the brilliance of the play.
“This one really stuck with me,” Hamblen said when explaining her choice. She had been looking for a play that would be “super relevant and kind of in your face” and “Time Stands Still” was just that.
While the final product was better than she had expected, the process leading up to opening night was not without its own challenges. Hamblen said organizing all of the different collaborators was the biggest challenge which she expected would be a challenge going in, after having been used to working independently. Despite it being the most challenging part of the process, she also believes that it was the most rewarding part.
“Letting go and trusting other people, trusting these amazing artists to do their thing was so rewarding,” Hamblen said. Through directing this show, she gained a great appreciation for her fellow collaborators and what they brought to the production.
Beyond her appreciation for those she worked for, Hamblen found herself with an even greater appreciation for theater itself and the way it brings people together. She learned that there is something beautiful that happens in collaborating with people you love and care about. This is Hamblen’s biggest takeaway from her experience directing this play.
On opening night, Friday, Nov. 2, Hamblen felt all of her nerves dissipate when the audience started to laugh and they did not stop laughing for some time. She believes the memory of the audience’s laughter will stick with her for some time.
The show was not all laughs though with serious, intense and sad moments stunning audiences into silence. Hamblen wanted these audiences to leave the show knowing that there is something they can do to help others.
“I just really wanted people to leave with a kind of hope for the future and also maybe a little call to action,” she said.
Hamblen believes the show became even more relevant due to the play being performed during the weekend leading up to this year’s midterm elections. She felt like the debate of what your place truly is in this world which is a frequent debate in the show, is one people had with themselves and each other during election season.
Her love for directing came hand in hand with her realization that she could be an artist, something she hadn’t realized she became a student at URI. The ability to create is what drew her to directing and she wants to continue to do that beyond her graduation next semester.
Hamblen feels that the theater department has been a big help as she has been allowed to really experience everything theater has to offer. Through watching the styles of the other directors that have come in and out of the Fine Arts Center, Hamblen was inspired to create her own work and her own stories.
Her dream is to be the artistic director of her own company as well as the governor of New Hampshire, but she truly just wants to explore the ways in which arts can better the lives and circumstances of others and create stories that matter to people.
“I think at the end of the day, everybody has this duty to the universe to leave it better than we found it.”