September 24th, 2018
What was your process for directing The Important Man?
This process has been very organic. My role has included a combination of dramaturgical input, and sowing seeds for further practical discovery. As a theatre maker, Brad [performer] is a power station of ideas, with the performance skills to support them. And with Katy’s [producer] vision and killer management skills, my job becomes just a joy.
My role has been very much to reflect back to him the impact of each character or narrative slant and to help to fine tune the piece as we head towards production.
What excited you most about the show and what were the challenges?
Are you joking?! Fortune tellers? World War 1? What is NOT exciting about that?!
No, really, I am always really keen to work with Cap-a-Pie. Katy and Brad are a fantastic team. I love that often their work centres around communicating areas of incredible expertise such as, in this case the research of Professor Owen Davies (a real-life Professor of magic!). I came into the project part way through and I loved the work that (previous director) Gwilym had already done, and it was exciting to springboard from there.
The role that ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ had to play in the everyday world during the Great War is just fascinating, lending a sense of reason to life and to the unfortunately inevitable death of so many. At a time when the scientific world was negotiating its own role, innovations like electricity and photography were as unfathomable and inexplicable as the world of the occult. So why wouldn’t fortune tellers be viewed as reliable sources of information? As we found out more, it threw up bigger, very current questions for me about where we place our faith and why.
The challenges are that there is so much ground that we would like to cover. It feels important that we don’t dilute the piece by attempting to tell every story.
What is your favourite part of the show and why?
Well of course I love all of it. But I think a combination of Calderon telling us about the little homing pigeon and the young soldier who we meet are the moments which touch me the most. I could watch Brad playing these again and again. I also love the title, which offers a continued provocation, an invitation to consider who exactly is being referred to, and by whom. The absence of female perspective is also a comment on the times and I will be interested to hear from an audience about their interpretations of our choices.
Oh, and the magic opening of the suitcase makes me belly-laugh. I’m entertained by how eager I am to buy into even the most (close your ears Brad) cod magic trick! We can’t wait to show you.