You are a director the moment you see yourself as one
First published in the March 2005 Scene issue “Staff members and their professions”.
My thoughts on this article in 2018:
It is interesting to discover just how many ideas still resonate with me in this article, thirteen years on. Especially pertinent are the comments about adapting your rehearsal approach to the specific text and parameters of the task at hand (in fact I am currently completing a PhD thesis on that topic). There are a couple of subtle shifts in the way I perceive the job of directing now. Firstly, I don’t think meaning is communicated through symbols (semiotics) as much as it is via association (metonyms). That is, in theatre we make artistic choices based not on what it means but what ideas, connections and feelings it will evoke in the audience member. I think this is an important distinction because it is really a more creative and open way of thinking about theatre as an art form. Secondly, I wrote that directing is all- consuming. Well, yes and no – you need to be passionate and maintain your artistic integrity but for a sustainable career you also need to learn how to manage that with all the other important and meaningful things in your life. That is tricky but necessary. Finally, I think I still agree with the fundamental bit of advice about how to be an effective director: just make the best possible decision at each little step along the way.
A director is responsible for the artistic vision of a production, that it all hangs together, looks good and makes sense.