sun 21/04/2019

Theatre Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Director Jonathan Kent

Jasper Rees

Jonathan Kent was an actor before he was a director. Indeed, he had not directed a single play when in his mid-40s he assumed control of the Almeida Theatre in 1990. By the time he and his co-artistic director Ian McDiarmid has left more than a decade later, they had enforced a vital shift in the ecology of London theatre.

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10 Questions for Director Dmitry Krymov

Thomas H Green

Dmitry Krymov (b 1954) is one of Russia’s most groundbreaking and celebrated contemporary theatre directors and set designers. Performances by his “Theatre Laboratory” are renowned for combining multimedia with art installation techniques to surprise and thrill audiences across Europe and as far afield as New York.

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10 Questions for Playwright Julian Mitchell

Jasper Rees

When Julian Mitchell wrote Another Country in a couple of months in 1980, Anthony Blunt had just been exposed as one of the Cambridge spy ring. Donald Maclean and Kim Philby were still living in Moscow and the Cold War had another decade to run. The play was set in a boarding school in which adult authority figures are entirely absent, leaving prefects to run the place like a English establishment.

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I Found My Horn: Afterlife of a Book

Jasper Rees

When a book is published, there are broadly speaking three alternative fates which lie in wait. It goes global, it sinks without trace, or it sells modestly and steadily to the readership for whom it was intended. There is, however, another potential option, which is that it catches a thermal and veers off in an unforeseen direction.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Daniel Evans

Jasper Rees

The board of Sheffield Theatres has a history of appointing actors to run the show. Michael Grandage had very little directing experience when he became artistic director of the city’s three theatres. Then came Samuel West. He was followed by Daniel Evans, who had directed no more than four plays.

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10 Questions for Director Tom Morris

Jasper Rees

Two lanky, totemic marionettes with stern carved faces – one male, one female – coast haltingly around a rehearsal room in Bristol. They are being operated from inside metal framing by actors who coax tentative movement into arms and necks. “Use stillness as one of the things in your arsenal,” suggests a South African voice from the wings. “How are you doing for fatigue?” enquires a patrician English voice.

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The Resurrection of Conor McPherson

Jasper Rees

The transfer this week to the West End of The Weir has reminded theatre-goers of Conor McPherson’s hypnotic powers as a dramatist. In the Donmar's revival of the play you can palpably feel the playwright’s storytelling magic casting its spell all over again as, on a windy evening in a rural Irish pub, character after character unburdens himself - and finally herself - of a supernatural tale.

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10 Questions for Actor Simon Russell Beale

Adam Sweeting

It’s difficult to give Simon Russell Beale a brief introduction, so encyclopedic is his list of stage and screen acting credits. He has cruised masterfully through Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, the Restoration playwrights, Shaw and Pinter, and recently camped it up madly in a revival of Peter Nichols’s Privates on Parade. He has been such a mainstay of the National Theatre that the building may have subsided into the Thames without him.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actress Sheridan Smith

Jasper Rees

There’s a song in the musical version of Legally Blonde, in which peroxide ditz Elle celebrates her impending good fortune. “Oh my god, oh my god, you guys,” she sings exultantly as she prepares to accept her beau’s proposal of marriage. Since leaving the role at the start of 2011, Sheridan Smith has continued hollering the words more or less non-stop.

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Bald on blondes: what makes Terry Johnson tick?

Jasper Rees

Who is Terry Johnson? For a period of two decades between, say, 1982 and 2003, he was predominantly a playwright. He was sufficiently successful at it that for a period in 1995, three of his plays were on in the West End at once. But the plays have slowly dried up – the last was in 2006 – and nowadays he is very largely a director. His latest gig as a director is a 20th-anniversary revival of his play Hysteria!

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