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URTA

Common Packet Ma2hew Silar

A Discussion of My Directorial Philosophy...


In a day and age in which patrons need not search beyond the handheld
computers in their pockets when seeking entertainment, it is more important than ever
that art, namely the theatrical arts, be pushed past preconceived limits of commercial
and public entertainment. I believe it is the artistic duty of this generation of theatre
professionals to spark a new awakening within todays audiences. I desire, as a
theatrical director, to create work that awakens audiences, performers and designers,
making them aware and willing to adopt an alternative perspective of societal and
spiritual issues for the first time.

Whether its an American classic or a new work, I first look to see which themes
not only catch my attention but also ignite a personal passion for the piece. A deeper
understanding of the text is gained through multiple reads, dramaturgical research and
the reading of other works by the same playwright. Once I find the themes discussed in
the piece that I cant help but return to, I develop an approach. To me, an approach can
be stripped down to one question. What devices can we (as all theatre must be
collaborative) use to make this story matter to an audience? While I certainly use the
historical context of the piece to begin playing with acting and design styles, I also enjoy
mixing techniques and design approaches to create a new piece for a modern audience.

I enjoy exploring opposites in a rehearsal process. I enjoy experimenting with


physical movement, emotional recall, and personalizing moments. Ive had actors climb
trees, write letters, sing monologues and embrace each other through an argument. In
doing this, I strive to create an environment where my actors can explore the text in a
visceral and judgment-free way. With designers, I enjoy seeing both naturalistic and
modernist / surrealist design options, allowing for the creativity of my team member
rather than deciding on major design elements due to solely my own notions of the
piece. I simply do not believe a piece originally written to alienate the audience half a
century ago can be successfully produced today without at least exploring elements of
familiarity.
URTA Common Packet Ma2hew Silar

Time constraints, actor comfort, designer experience, financial boundaries and


other unassailable factors come into play when building a living, breathing production.
As a director, I work to prioritize moments within a rehearsal process, making
adjustments as actors explore. Where rehearsal time is at a premium, I focus
exploration time on moments necessary for actors to feel safe emotionally and
physically. I empower designers to make educated decisions that support our agreed
upon approach and end goal. And at the end of a show process, be the duration months
or days long, both the team that builds it and the audience that experiences it should
leave empowered and enlightened by their new perspective, a perspective they have
because they chose to spend a night at the theatre.