In Defense of Willful Directors
- the director's role examined in The New York Times
Willful directors can either enliven or distort. Enliven, if they accept the gulf between a playwright's time and immediate intentions on the one hand and the sensibilities of today on the other, and set up a critical dialogue between past and present, text and audience. Distort, if they just lay a simple-minded, ideologically monolithic interpretation on a multi-faceted play. The temptation to distort is particularly powerful in a climate that discourages the new, like commercially cautious Broadway or the West End today. Or when the creators, like so many modernist composers, have drifted from the audience. Easier to feed the theatrical and operatic maw by tossing it proven hits, but spicing them up to slake the yearning for novelty.
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