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Editorial

 
     
  ‘‘No one, least of all directors, has the right to say there are no more playwrights. Naturally no one knows them, since no one stages their work.
How are playwrights supposed to improve if no one asks anything of them or tries to get the best out of what they have done? Today’s playwrights are as good as today’s directors.’’
 
  Bernard-Marie Koltès  
 

 
 

Koltès was right!
A playwright can’t make progress if he isn’t involved with the stage, and the same goes for the audience.
I’ve staged fifty plays, half repertory, half contemporary, and I can assure you that I’ve never felt greater joy and emotion than when discovering a playwright or one of his as-yet-undisclosed plays. Those have been some of the finest moments of my life in the theatre. I have staged these plays with my Company, and the audience has quite often shared the moments of wonderment that I felt upon reading the plays.
How could I not be indebted to these artists who have come from other places (Bratt and Anderssonn, Kundera, Mrozek, Robertson, Turini) or written in our language (Aubert, Haïm, Costaz, Bourdon, Besnehard, Ségal) for the superb gifts they have given us. They are the ones who have built me. I have worked with some of them in a relationship of trust where everything was simple. For others who were too far away, we breathed to the same beat through their words.  I wasn’t able to meet them all, to my great regret, but have been deeply affected by those I have encountered. It hasn’t always been easy – not at all! Sometimes it has been very hard  – even painful – but it has always been thrilling.
I have always felt that the director’s job was to serve the written word of the poet. And that work is mysterious, fragile and intense enough to satisfy my ego.
Our respect for the text is the respect we owe the man, the artist, and ourselves.
I was spellbound when I read Monsieur Schpill et Monsieur Tippeton. Ségal had expressed the wound caused by hating others in superb, pulsating language, and I was faced with my own anxieties – guilt at having a nose that’s too hooked, hair that’s too curly, ears that stick out and skin that’s too dark! Yet we had a lot of laughs. We had been friends for years, and suddenly brotherhood was in the air.
I have staged several plays on the same subject – from repertory or contemporary – but have never been struck the way I was reading that day. I had other projects in the works, but I stopped everything to devote myself to that play. It seemed urgent and vital. The play fed me and stimulated me so much that I never had a moment of doubt or depression during the entire process of staging it.
A play like that is the most beautiful gold nugget a gold digger can ever hope to find or a director to stage. I have never felt that unusual, violent emotion with any classical play, even though some of them are sublime.
Ségal’s work must be staged. Our playwrights’ works must be staged while they are alive. Given our incredible privilege in having these magnificent artists, we have no right to allow them to be driven to despair or go astray. It is part of our responsibility, our duty and our dignity. That is the purpose of Directing.

 
     
  Georges Werler
SACD Board Member in charge of Directing (2005-2006)
 
     
 
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