Director as Designer

I find myself once again designing the scenic element for another Pinter production – The Homecoming. It’s not that Imago can’t afford designers. Carol Triffle (Artistic Co-director) and have always or usually decide to design one of the elements when we direct a production. We have always have been director/designers. There is something different in the approach when a director is one of the key designers. Robert Wilson was most noted for this. (Not to say it does save money and time as well, but not always.)

In this scenic design I’m seeking to find that wonder of space itself.

I mused one day what a phenomena it is to be human. An upright creature with mobility, not attached to the earth, with the capability of artistic expression. Since then I’ve been intrigued by how many ways humans can move and interact physically with one another on stage.

In “The Homecoming” I intend to create what I would call “kinetic tension.” It’s simple to explain but perhaps difficult to execute and to also keep the audience tuned in for 90 plus minutes if I suppress the movement as I may do. What I mean by “kinetic tension” is to keep the actors highly economic in their movement, almost suppressed, then at key moments have them release that energy with say – a crucial cross across the living room, or – a swift sit down on the couch beside their nemesis.

I think this kind of staging is fitting with Pinter. He seems to take you on erratic rides with language but then slaps you with action. What happens if the erratic ride of language is still, almost paralyzed and then the action is ferocious?

In knowing a directorial artistic muse for the staging I then would tend to give the room some breath, space – a place for a “kinetic” event. An openness that allows the characters to move across for that dramatic ‘sit’, for that dramatic cross.

On October 10, Imago opens Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming” – the playwright’s most ambitious work.

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