I’ve been asked if I’m going to have a certain take on The Caretaker. By take - meaning a certain approach or way of looking at it that makes it idiosyncratic to Imago’s work.
I’m into my third week of rehearsal (opens Feb 27) and out of budget limitation or perhaps out of desire I find myself as scenic designer (Jeff Forbes light design, Sumi Wu costume design.)
As director and designer I think spacially and visually– I’m sensing the potential of the space, which informs the design. Yes, there are vaudevillian Beckett-like moments, - I am giving actors a bit of our Lecoq methodalogy, but for this production I don’t think I am imposing a conceit on the production as I have done with other scenic designs– why not? It doesn’t want it, desire it, or need it.
As a director I sometimes feel like cooking without a recipe. I am known as an amateur gourmet cook but I always have a recipe, or I at least begin with one. For this production, I have a recipe, that recipe is Pinter –his world is populated with multiple interpretations, metaphors, and symbolism. In Pinter’s world – the action “to sit” can become epic. What do I impose on a production when the action of sitting becomes epic? The answer is to allow the epic to unfold – let sitting happen.
In contrast, in 1998 Imago opened No Exit, by Jean Paul Sartre . As director/designer I was able to impose on the piece a unique set design (an ever moving stage, causing balance and imbalance with each turn of the play.) In No Exit – I pushed the scenic design to be forefront and center with the text.
No Exit worked (at least for many) because I think the text/play was lacking. In No Exit the text/play is not as strong as Pinter’s The Caretaker (forgive me Mr Sartre and all his followers.) I don’t think No Exit is a great play, a great concept yes, but not a great play. For this reason, I was able push the space of the play further – in other words the text left room for it.
In Pinter’s work – his realism has done exactly what I think Sartre’s realism did not do. In the immediacy of every moment Pinter has place the possibility of everything. He seems to write in a way that anything he writes is about everything all the time, yet it is still about the immediate – this room now.
So to answer the question– As a director, I have no take on Pinter, I am only trying to do justice to his masterful writing.
I hope you can attend, it opens on Feb 27 at Imago.