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Actor/Director: The Crossover At Crossroads

The Crossroads Repertory Theatre in Terre Haute presents Beth Henley's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Crimes of the Heart. It opens this Friday, in a production directed by Brandon Wentzwho also appears onstage. \

Wentz is an Indiana State University graduate currently based in Cincinnati. This is his tenth year as an actor at Crossroads, but only his second as a director.

"Last summer, the kid's show Pixies… was my first directing since grad school. This summer, I was looking forward to a somewhat similar assignment, with the upcoming 1,001 Arabian Nights. I had planned to just act in Crimes of the Heart, but the original director wasn't able to continue and I got the job."

Two Hats

Wentz doesn't minimize the difficulties of wearing two hats. "It's a fine balance," he says. "I find that when I'm really focused on the show, when I want to watch the show and to see the journey the characters are going through and come up with some helpful notes for the actors, it's hard for me to step down to the stage in the middle of a scene. At least at first, I'd be thinking about the overall picture, and not doing such a hot job of helping out my acting partner. But later, when I would take a minute or so, stepping in as an actor was the easier part of the job."

Although he has no regrets, Wentz is hesitant about embracing directing "Directing is very rewarding, but it's very exhausting. I have much more fun and a lot less stress as an actor just because it's the mindset that I've always been in. Directing takes a much different kind of focus and expenditure of energy. When you're acting you take specific times to work on things and I find that when I'm directing I can't get it out of my mind, even when I'm trying to sleep."

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