Please describe what you do.
As a director, I work with every department to ensure that the aesthetics of light, costume, stage, music etc all become one.
Working with the actors, I’m more or less a constant test audience. We discuss the ideas we have of a scene, the motivations of the individual characters, we try out ways to perform them, and if I see something that I feel is a great image or builds a good atmosphere, we stick with that. This way, the play slowly manifests. It is a very organic process.
Have you worked with MTT before? What are your prior experiences with theatre?
This is my second time working with MTT, I did the lighting design for Gallathea and also helped with directing a few scenes. I’m a Jack of all trades in theatre, I’ve acted, staged plays, designed lighting, did stage design, I worked as a production manager too. All of which is great because it provides me with a lot of insight as to what is possible and what do people need from me as a director.
What do you like about your work?
I love that I get to work with a large group of creative people. I get to make a lot of final decisions, but it is the combined creativity that I like the best. As an individual, I can come only come up with a limited amount of ideas. Working in a group of people whom I trust, artistically, provides a great big colorful pool of ideas from which we can draw and create. I enjoy being surprised by an actor’s impulse or a costume design I would never have thought of myself. I feel absolutely blessed in that regard.
How do you go about your work?
I talk a lot. I talk to the actors about ideas, text, actions on stage, I talk to the dramaturg about story arcs, I talk to the composer about music, to the tech people and costume department about certain design ideas, to the pr people about my artistic ideas of the piece, to my directing assistant about ideas I have for certain scenes…
After all the talking is done it is my job to sit and observe and make sure that everything comes together in a coherent, aesthetically pleasing fashion. I’m basically choosing, then connecting all the dots.
Where does your inspiration come from?
As an artist, I am inspired by a lot of things. I’m a very visual and tactile person. I draw inspiration from images, as well as fabrics from a certain era. I love details. An old vintage hat can tell me a story, so can a photograph of a dark alleyway. My current mindset makes me pay close attention to everything that could be associated with 1930s/1940s and Gangster aesthetics, even though I dislike the term. I am not to fond of the glamorisation of violence and crime, however, there is some odd fascination about gangster squads and gun molls. I look at contemporary Film noir tropes, stereotypes. I look ar a broad variety of the damsel in distress and ask myself, how can I take this stereotype and make it multidimensional, more interesting for my audience.
The people I work with are great inspiration too. Seeing their ideas, what they come up with and offer can change the whole preconception I had of a certain character. I feel like in order to be inspired, I need to make myself open for creative input, creative processes.
What would you like to achieve with this production?
My main aim, this time around, is to entertain. To convey the joy of the language, through a great, funny story and wonderful music. I want to take away some of the obstacles people have when it comes to Elizabethan English. I want to create high quality and fun theatre for the non-German community in Bremen.
What do you like about Arden of Feversham?
I love how versatile and fast paced the play is. It is a true Gangster comedy, a relationship drama. There is crime and passion and unrequited love, power struggles, questions of loyalty and moral- it is incredibly modern for the time it was written in. Frances Byrd has once more written fantastic music for the play: I’m absolutely sure it will be a great show.
What do you like about this production?
I love how dedicated everyone is. Theatre draws people together and working with interested amateur actors means that we get a bunch of people into a room who likely would not of met otherwise. The resulting dynamics are wonderful. I find this group to be exceptionally talented and creative.
Do you think Elizabethan Drama is still relevant today?
I think drama is always relevant, no matter the century or decade, but what I like about Elizabethan Drama is that it is incredibly forward and profound. It doesn’t shy away from conflict. It has its own, very bold humour, it deals with big, human emotions, it is very modern and provocative, in a really clever and unique fashion. I find it utterly impressive how one can see and Elizabethan piece and relate to it, even today. The topics, the emotions, the humour, it is all very accessible, very universal, too. Seeing those plays reminds that humanity always fought the same old battles, but also loves, thrives, desires- I find a lot of beauty in that idea.
What makes good theatre in your opinion?
I want theatre to make me feel things. I usually prefer pieces that are really dark in nature, because they offer me a safe space to deal with the abyss of the human psyche- a good actor on stage makes you feel for them in a more direct, more intimate way than a movie can. The contact is direct. They actually look at you, you can see them breathe, it is all there, all real. You can not hide.
I love a good comedy too, though.
Being truly immersed in a world that is not mine, so that I can relate, be touched, be curious, is an utterly wonderful thing to me. I am shocked by the tendency to protect theatre goers or students from their own feelings when watching or reading a play. Trigger warnings have been issued for Shakespeare seminars on important American campuses- for me, that’s a worrisome tendency. Theatre, in my honest opinion, is only good if it makes you feel things. If you leave the theatre touched, be it amused or shattered, that’s what constitutes a good theatre experience for me.