If you're a director, your entire livelihood and your entire creativity is based on your self-confidence. Sometimes that's dangerously close to arrogance.
I always believe it's better to have 30 imaginations working on a project, rather than one imagination telling the other 29 what to do.
Soundbite and slogan, strapline and headline, at every turn we meet hyperbole. The soaring inflation of the English language is more urgently in need of control than the economic variety.
Memory. All alone in the moonlight I can smile at the old days I was beautiful then.
So, through all that early professional career I would occasionally do a musical, a pantomime or a play with songs. The next stop would be a Shakespeare, or an Ibsen, or a play by a brand new writer who had never done anything in the theater before.
In my teens, I developed a passionate idolatry for a teacher of English literature. I wanted to do something that he would approve of more, so I thought I should be some sort of a scholar.
I've never had any feeling of disconnection between the classical theater, or the contemporary theater, or musical theater, or the thing that we call opera.
The film director, in many instances, has to swallow somebody else's decision about the final form of something. It's so hard as to be intolerable.
I've experienced a private doubt, something that I've kept deeply inside, and then eventually delivered a piece of work that people responded to with huge enthusiasm.
A lot of performing instincts are involved in the business of direction, but so is analysis and having a sense of literature.
In a way, I have to have a dictatorship. I can't be told that I'm wrong. That conflicts with what I was saying earlier about listening. It isn't to do with receiving criticism and responding to other views, it's who has that last decision.
When I was at Stratford, the very first thing that I was commissioned to work on was trying to make a musical out of the documentary material about the General Strike, which was the next big historical event in England, after the First World War.
When I was 13 years old, a professional theater company in my town needed a kid actor. I auditioned, and I got the part, so for just a few weeks I became a member of the company and I met some professional actors.
What you're doing is putting into professional play the way that you relate to other people, the way that you analyze and relate to a written text, the way that you would persuade anybody to do anything. It has to do with listening, with humility and a sense of yourself.
The thing that I had saved up for myself and wanted most to bring off was a fully fledged professional production of Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Theater in Stratford.
The first big break was winning a scholarship to go to Cambridge University. I was very lucky, because my parents couldn't have afforded a university education for me. Without a scholarship I couldn't possibly have gone.
Peter Hall was just organizing the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was going to be an ensemble, it was going to be in repertory, it was going to have a home in London as well as in the Midlands, and all of those things were happening at that time.
One fine day I discovered that more complex plays really have to be directed.
In the commercial theater, I've been pretty fortunate. The producers that I've worked with have allowed me to define the artistic integrity, the artistic limits of the work.
I so wanted to perform, and I grasped every opportunity.
I would be terribly disappointed if anything would get in the way of my being cast in something, or if performances were canceled. It was a fix that I obviously needed.
I had a feeling about Shakespeare's soliloquies, that there should be a real exchange between the actor and the audience.
I tend to arrive in the rehearsal process with very strongly developed ideas about what I want to do. But I don't like those ideas to be things that are not subject to change, or subject to development, or subject to challenge.
If you feel very deeply about something, it's not possible to sacrifice your integrity about that.
If you can't fully believe in your ideas, it very quickly communicates to a group of actors who need something to hold onto. They need to believe that whatever criticism, whatever comment is received, is meant.
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