“Shear Madness” Director Jesse Siak Trains In Washington, D.C.


Featured From Left to Right: Charleston Stage Director Jesse Siak with veteran Shear Madness Director Bob Lohrmann on the set of Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

This past November, Charleston Stage Director Jesse Siak spent 3 days in Washington, D.C., to “train” for directing Shear Madness this month. Even though much of Shear Madness is improvised (from time to time the audience votes on what happens next and actors have to react)— it requires enormous preparation. Leading the training was Bob Lohrmann who has performed every male role in the show and directed it for the Kennedy Center for over 30 years!

“When I first met Bob,” admitted Jesse, “I was intimidated. What does a 26-year-old director like me have to say to this guy who’s been a part of the Shear Madness family for longer than I’ve been alive? Then something great happened. Bob made me laugh. Then I made him laugh. We were thick as thieves from that point on, discussing the show’s logistics, tricks, improvisations, challenges and his greatest successes and even some things that had fallen flat. Each day I would wake up at my hotel, do some homework at breakfast then race to meet Bob at the theatre where we would talk for hours about this show that has been running non-stop in Washington and Boston for more than 30 years and has been produced around the world. I feel honored to be bringing this unique show to Charleston for the first time. After our talks, I’d race back to my hotel, grab some dinner and then head over to the Kennedy Center to see the show each night to see which choices the audience would make that night and how the cast would respond to them. Though the basic script is only 40 pages long there are an additional 130 pages of potential plot changes and endings depending on what choices the audiences makes (The audience votes throughout the evening on what happens next). Though it was scary to realize I would soon be directing this amazing show, I also realized that if you’re about to do something artistic and it doesn’t scare you at least a little, what’s the point? If someone like Bob had not taken some big chances on Shear Madness years ago, it would never have seen the light of day. Since its premiere in Boston in 1980, millions of patrons have laughed out loud and fallen in the aisles delighting in the hilarity of the show.”

Shear Madness opens next week for a three week run Mar. 11 – 27, 2016, at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. For tickets, call (843) 577-7183 or purchase online at CharlestonStage.com.