This module explores and challenges ideas and practices of directing: throughout, it aims to question and compare directors' relationships to the actor/performer, the audience/spectator, and to the theatrical material. The module will include consideration of the director's aesthetics of, for example, space, visual languages, narrative and meaning, as well as dramaturgical practices.
Following an initial seminar that outlines developments in directing and a critical approach, we will examine the work of contemporary directors/practitioners who have challenged the playtext as a beginning point to theatre making, especially the work of Eugenio Barba, as well as the influence of Jacques Lecoq and comparable North American directors/companies. These apparently physically-based practices will be compared to the work of two leading British directors, Katie Mitchell and Declan Donnellan. Importantly, the relationship to the actor of each will be drawn out. What the director does when devising will be explored next, using devising and collaborative companies as case studies; this can open up discussion of the director as facilitator, editor or dramaturg, and the role of the 'outside eye'. We will compare these modes of work to rehearsal methodologies that appear in new and contemporary writing. Finally, the idea of the director as auteur is examined with reference to selected European directors.
The module is supported by a structured, week-by-week programme of reading, and theatre-going as well as attendance at appropriate departmental activities will be encouraged as a further resource for presentations and essays. We will draw on audiovisual material in class as appropriate.