When the human realm seems doomed to heaviness, [I] feel the need to fly like Perseus into some other space… [By lightness,] I mean that I feel the need to change my approach, to look at the world from a different angle, with different logic, different methods of knowing and proving.
– Italo Calvino, ‘Six Memos for the Next Millennium.’ (1985)
What if lightness is a philosophical choice to temper reality with strangeness, to temper the intellect with emotion, [and] emotion with humor. Lightness is then a philosophical victory over heaviness.
- Sarah Ruhl, ‘100 Essays I Didn’t Have Time To Write.’ (2014)
Taking a leaf from Douglas Adams, I think of my practice as a holistic dramaturg - I look at the whole play, across the whole process.
Seeing my role as a 'physiotherapist for plays,' my artistic practice endeavours to share compassion and good-ness, optimism and kindness through conversation and discussion. A productive dramaturg-creator relationship is not unlike a productive critic-writer relationship – curious but not naïve, rigorous but not prescriptive, tough but also gentle, raising more questions than it renders judgements; like a three-year-old asking ‘why?’.
I seek rigour and clarity amongst confusion, compassion and clear-sightedness in the darkness; imagination and ingenuity in the expression of an idea. I treat precious brand new plays with the same respect and rigour we afford the classics, whilst imbuing the classics with the playfullness and foot-stamping urgency we see in new plays. I seek rigorous criticism that doesn’t tiptoe around elephants but asks hard questions, and asks us to look at ourselves and evaluate what exactly we are putting on our stages, what we are asking audiences to pay money to see.
My practice recognises the darkness in the world, but does not allow it to overwhelm; instead, it stares down the darkness and tempers it with the very tangible need for a bit more love, a bit of magic, flair, and invention, and the desire to be good people.