Joel Dinicola: Part 2

By Macalan B-J


(This is a continuation of an interview from Issue 1. If you missed it or want to refresh your memory, you can view the first part at

Macalan: As the writer and director for “Conventional Musical,” are there any moments that are different than how you had initially imagined?

Joel Dinicola: Yes, a great deal of things are like that. Often, transitions don’t work the way that you think they will in your head because a body moving in space usually takes longer than a body moving in your brain. Might think they’ll just strike it and bring it off left but it’s actually more complicated than that; maybe you need someone to hold the curtain open, or you need somebody to whatever. The jokes themselves often turn out different. Comedic timing in your brain is not the way that comedic timing actually works in the real world. Everybody has a different sense of comedy, so your actors and your audiences are going to find things funny in a different way than you do and that’s just to be expected. It’s hard.

You’re directing yourself in the show; you play a couple characters. Would you ever do that again?

When I’m acting, I’m not thinking about the notes that I want to give to other people or the practical problems that a director should be looking at, and that creates a big problem. When I’m on stage, those scenes aren’t being looked at with a director’s eyes; they’re being looked at with two actors’ eyes, which is fine, like you can negotiate how the scene is going to go between two actors, but it’s very important I think to have an outside eye as well. So we brought in director Joshua Eastman to look at a couple of those things that Darian and I are in together to kind of help with that. It’s challenging. You’re probably not doing either one as good as you would be if you were just focusing on one. Directing and acting is a challenge that I don’t want to take on again. I think that writing and directing is a little bit more conducive to one another, because writing is an individualistic act that you do in pre-production, whereas directing is in the present.

As a member of this production, I feel I may be too close to the show to give an honest review, so I’ll just share some encouragement and tips for any of those young playwrights wishing to take the next step into professional theater:


  1. Humble yourself constantly. Never think your work is good enough and never stop trying to make it better. Those who humble themselves will be praised, and those who praise themselves will be humbled. (Jesus said that)
  2. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Seems like common sense, but it is too easy to let evil win and get down on yourself because of a bad review or a botched performance. It takes time to make pearls in the mouth of an oyster.
  3. Accept all critics. Know that the people who will make you a rich and famous playwright are not your friends or family. They are the layperson, the non-artists. Every ticket costs the same, so value all of the opinions the same. This will not always be true, but it is a good rule to follow so that you don’t simply hear a criticism and forget about it. Be happy someone cares enough to tell you how they really feel.

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