Parabasis took part in the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and has now posted on his blog a long report about his experiences there. It’s a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in the state of American theater.
I especially liked this item:
Writers and directors are slowly starting to be more honest about their antipathy towards each other. It sort of seems to break down like this–directors feel shackled by writers and writers feel exploited by directors. To directors, a production is just one production and the text is a living document not a closed system, so doing something other than what’s in the stage directions or the writers’ head is not only okay but might be devoutly to be wished. To writers, a play might be alive, but the writer is the only one who has to live with it after the director and actors are done with it. One visiting artist put it best when he said, “When you’re doing the first production, you should do make the playwright’s vision come to life. But after that, you shouldn’t be constantly reviving the same version of a show. Then the show is dead. Like how Streetcar is dead because everyone is essentially doing Kazan’s version.” I think I’m growing to agree with that assessment. The problem is, so many directors’ visions are bad.
Ay, there’s the rub!