Meet RCP’s Maltese Falcon Director: Laurie Smalis

The Maltese Falcon radio show was the first show Rosedale Community Players has produced using this format. And it has exceeded our expectations! Viewers have shared with us how much they have enjoyed this unique performance!

Lost On Stage contributor, Heather Hudson, recently interviewed the show’s director, Laurie Smalis, about RCP and the Maltese Falcon!

Heather Hudson: Hello Laurie! First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. You’ve been one of our go-to directors for so long, and we’d be remiss not to share your story with our community (and the blogosphere). Shall we start with how you became a part of RCP?

LAURIE: Back in the 90’s some friends took me to see some RCP shows. I was very impressed with the talent and thought that I wanted to get involved. Well, life got in the way and I wasn’t able to join until the 2000’s. I had directed many plays over the years in college and other theatre groups. Directing is my passion. My first show directing for RCP was Flemming.

Laurie Smalis directed Fleming (An American Thriller) by Sam Bobrick at Rosedale Community Players

HH:  That passion absolutely shows, in everything you do!  I can only imagine how challenging this “pandemic pause” has been, being away from the physical stage.  How have you been keeping art in your life, outside of your recent RCP production of The Maltese Falcon?  

LAURIE: I had actually not been doing anything artistically other than watching old movies. I was getting so antsy to do something and remembered my parents talking about radio shows “back in the day”. I thought, well, why not? These are the perfect circumstances to bring it back.

HH:  I agree, a million percent. How did The Maltese Falcon get on your radar, exactly?  Was it your first virtual directing gig, or one of many?  

LAURIE: I have always been a Humphrey Bogart fan. When I found that the original radio script was in public domain, I knew that was the show I had to do. This was my first virtual gig. 

HH:  As Hannibal would say, “I love it when a plan comes together”.  I suspect it had its share of joys and struggles. What was your greatest challenge to overcome in putting the show together?  In other words, what words of wisdom do you have for other people thinking about directing online theatre?

LAURIE: The biggest challenge was trying to figure out how we were going to put this together and to make it look like more than just an average zoom meeting. 

HH: Well said.  How about one of your favorite moments — a “happy accident” or “magic of theatre” moment that reminded you why we do this thing called art?

LAURIE: Well, there were more than just one moment: The professionalism of the actors that I chose and their ability to adapt to this venue (we did not have auditions because I wasn’t sure if this would work). Our foley artist, Calvin Carson, stepping up and really taking on the role of an old fashioned sound effects man, and our sound and music editor. And I guess just how good it turned out!

HH: You certainly have a lot to be proud of with this production, and we could probably chat about it for hours … but I think Devene is going to drop the curtain on me in a second. Let’s close this out with a preview of projects on your list to tackle when we’re all back together again, doing live shows at RCP – do you have anything on your radar?

LAURIE: Yes, I was selected to direct “Of Divine Interest”, written by our own Dave Durham, for the winter of 2020. Well, we all know how that turned out. So now, if all goes well, I will be directing it for the upcoming RCP season. Fingers crossed because it’s a very funny show, and everyone needs a good laugh these days. 

HH: I cannot wait to see it.  Laurie, you’ve been amazing, thanks again for taking the time. And to all the readers out there, stay safe, stay well, and keep making good art.

Heather Hudson has been a member of Rosedale Community Players since 2009, and was last seen in “Cliff Dwellers”, one of many short plays featured in RCP’s 2019 One Act Festival.  Over the years she has also served as actor, director, producer, and sound designer at RCP. Heather holds a B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University and works at a professional services organization in Detroit as a vendor contract negotiator. In her free time, Heather enjoys writing (especially blogging), acting, photography, and watching endless Netflix entertainment with her three teenagers and two cats.


One thought on “Meet RCP’s Maltese Falcon Director: Laurie Smalis

  1. Pingback: RCP’s First Virtual One Act Festival | lost onstage

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