The first time you read a script you will see images in your head as you read. These images are your initial interpretation of the script. You will unconsciously cast the roles, see a setting, and visualize the production. It is important to note that this is an interpretation of the script, but only one of many interpretations. Each participant involved in the production will have a unique interpretation that they create and this interpretation is a result of each person’s experiences, aesthetic, and interests. Your job as the director is to give guidance to your team and unify your team’s interpretations so that each element of the play looks as though it belongs in the same world.
Every designer is a visual person, and sees the world in a different way than you or I. For example if you are talking to a costume designer and you describe a person or character by their traits, passions, personality, and social class they will translate each of those items into color, line, texture, and fabric. For example: A carefree spirit will be clothed in fabric that is draped, soft in texture and will have very few straight lines. The social class determines what what fabrics to choose and how to age them. Hobbies introduce styles, logos, and textures. The list goes on and on.
When speaking with your designers it is best to bring visual aids for ideas that you have. Research the looks, colors, lighting, pictures that you see when you read the play and convey what you would like to see on the stage. The clearer your visual aids are the more focused your designers can be.
Your goal is to give your team a shared vision and clear parameters so that each artist can contribute to the creation of the project and the project as a whole can remain cohesive. People need and want boundaries in order to hone their creative choices. If you do not give guidance your team will make their own decisions and if you change those decisions or have them redo them, they will resent you, because it was your job to guide them in the direction you had envisioned.