Cast of Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, Photo by Billy Biersack

Student Director William Biersack, a sophomore and Elementary Education major at Mount Saint Mary College, has quite the talent for directing. On November 29th and 30th, he directed a staged reading of Alan Ball’s Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, performed at Mount Saint Mary College. Also an accomplished stage actor, Billy, as he’s known, sat down to answer a few questions about student directing and what is next for him.

Q: What is it like being a student director?
A: It is a challenge. It’s different from acting; you are the drive and creative force behind the production. Actors help bring it to life and it all starts with you and your ideas. Finding a balance between that and schoolwork can be difficult, but it’s worth it at the end of the day.

Q: What was the hardest part of directing for you?
A: I found that the hardest part of directing this production is to know where the fine line is between a play and a staged reading. With a play, you have nothing, but with a staged reading, you have to submit something to the audience’s imagination. As an artist, of course, I want to incorporate everything, but I’m also a college student on a budget. It’s just not possible. I do everything I can to make it a great show with what I have.

Q: What was the easiest part of directing for you?
A: Working with this great cast. Each and every one of them has experience and talent and was more than willing to come to rehearsal with ideas.

Q: What is next for you?
A: To continue as an officer of Different Stages. And all I can say is there is something in the works for next semester.

Q: What was your reason for choosing this play?
A: I’ve always been drawn to female lead casts. I’ve never had the opportunity to direct a comedy before, so this experience was a way of seeing what else I was capable of.

Q: Did it come out the way you wanted it to?
A: It came out even better. When you first read a script, you come up with an ideal image of what you want it to be. When you get the ball rolling, you find out you have limits and have to cut back a little. With this show, I think cutting back made it better. It made it a real experience for the audience.

Q: What would you tell to someone who wants to get involved in theater, such as Different Stages? What would you say to them?
A: We’re more than just actors who work on projects together every once in a while. There’s work that goes into a show beyond the performers. So, people who’d rather not be on stage can contribute in ways that are just as, if not more, important. Although the purpose of the club is to perform and entertain, what I really love about this club is its ability to bind people together and give everyone a place to belong.

Are you interested in theater? Do you want to make lifelong friends and perform for others? Different Stages might be for you!