Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Richard Rose & Neil Armfield: Separated at Birth

I've believed these two directors have been separated at birth ever since I heard Neil talk about process in NY and realized I had heard the same thing from Richard when I studied with him. Both are brilliant directors with similar styles and I would be honoured and privileged to call them mentors. (Also on the mentor wish list: Simon Phillips of the Melbourne Theatre Company and Declan Donnellan of Cheek by Jowl.)

It's been my dear wish that the two of them should meet. I think a collaboration between the two would be world-shattering. Maybe they should jointly tackle Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia, with Tarragon producing one part and Company B the other, with each company touring to the other theatre to produce their half. Of course, that's probably too expensive for either company, and I don't know how to deal with the third part of the trilogy, but both directors are at their best when they're working on an epic scale with large themes.

Which leads me to the link that connects them. I've just found out that Company B produced Scorched this past July using the Linda Gaboriau translation that was done for Tarragon and premiered in February 2007. It's definitely a play in both director's wheelhouse, and reviews for both productions have been outstanding.

According to this article, Neil was turned on to the show after the executive producer of the Sydney Opera House saw it. Was it in Toronto or when it went to the NAC? To get the rights, did Neil have to talk to Richard, since the translation premiered there? I'm hoping he did.

Maybe more cross-promotion could happen. I've always thought Inexpressible Island would be perfect for Neil, and I'm sure some Company B shows would work for Richard - maybe a Louis Nowra piece. Keeping my fingers crossed.

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