Mark Strong and Ivo van Hove | Interview | TimesTalks

good evening everyone i’m kara Lawson
day of the new york times and I am thrilled to welcome you to tonight’s
time stocks here live in New York at the time center and live around the world on
the web at times talks dot com tonight’s guests include one of today’s most
accomplished actors on stage and screen the winner of the 2015 Olivier Award for
Best Actor for his performance in the Young Vic production of Arthur Miller’s
a view from the bridge which won the Olivier Award for Best revival joining
him is the Olivier award-winning director of the play which just opened
on broadway two fantastic acclaim from critics and audiences in his New York
Times review Ben Brantley called a view from the
bridge a magnificent preconceptions of Arthur Miller’s play an emotional drama
that you feel blessed to have witnessed you’ll hear much more about the play and
our guests from tonight’s moderator from 2008 to 2015 he was the times theater
reporter but before that he covered another kind of drama the 2008
presidential race and this year as a national political correspondent he’s
back on the campaign trail covering the 2016 campaign before coming to the times
he was one of two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting at the
boston globe so please join me in welcoming Patrick Healy and are very
special gas mark Strong and evil grin however thank you so much for joining us tonight
but I hope will be a really lively discussion about a wonderful production
of the great American play there’s gonna be time for questions about the last 15
minutes or so I’ll let you know when to start lining up at the end of the aisle
so please be thinking during the discussion about what you like to ask
our two guests if I’d love to start with you about much of your work has been
around interpreting and reinterpreting classic classic works from the theater
Canon shakespeare Williams certainly o Neal Miller now with this why why didn’t
choose to work with these test detects why do you go back to serve reinterpret
works that have been have been interpreted so many times when I was
really young and started to be a director I was not at all interested in
texts I wrote my own little text you know like piece of paper and then we
started to work with access more based on improvisation in sport inspired by a
lot of things visual arts performance arts things like that but then totally
by coincidence I was asked at a very young age to teach actors in a school
night for I was 24 so I was teaching people that were 21 and then I thought
about it had two classes together so that was a huge group to do with them
and then I thought of this play very difficult play actually Troilus and
Cressida William Shakespeare and I think well let’s do that because I have this
bunch of people I can do that I will see and then it is covered for myself that I
could make much personal work through the filter of this all text so that when
I’m done before was fruitful to me less personal but it was my old texts you
know then when I used a Texas shakespearian so I discovered a huge
potential even in a Texas 400 over 400 years ago or fifty sixty years ago that
I could still even more about myself about what I thought of the world of
people mankind by using attacks by a good place for used particularly
attractive to and is it true character that you come into play that you want to
work on or about the story but that’s difficult question because it’s not an
easy but I can say is that when you look at my body of work now that it’s
everybody goes all over the place but I think for me when I read a text from you
it has to be a love affair so it is if you in the street you look at somebody
and you really are struck that’s what it is so it has 22 touch to move me some
way but it can be moved in and sometimes in an intellectual be princess I adore
the play by Albert Camus Caligula which is which touched the other very
intellectual way in a very intellectual and other place move you because of a
character like Eddie Carbone you know that you see he wants to be a hero in
his life and he’s making one mistake after yalls without being aware of it so
it’s it’s very difficult to the love affair is for me important afterwards then of course is a
record year to rationalize because otherwise there’s no communication I
cannot see mark I love it the playbill levels so you have to communicate try to
find words of course to talk about it and to communicate your own affair with place so I don’t think there
is of course things that return princess in the nineties will looking back to it
it seems that I did a lot of family drama so you know I wasn’t aware of it
that much in India after 911 I think that was from me changing a lot of
people all changed just suddenly became much bigger than you thought it was but
I thought it was and that there is much more going on between I was not aware of
that moment there’s a little bit more political political not in a way like
left or right but about political thing so I I started to do the Shakespeare
dramas about power just finished the play kings of war it brings together
hundreds 5630 you know in one evening about power what is power how can use power in a good way or bad
way you know that became much more interested me which was not the case in
my earlier work so of course for me so I try to live in the theater I express in
the theater what I think what I feel it’s like a diary if you look at my
place think you know me mark political
political theater such as has been such a rich tradition in American playwriting
but particularly sort of postwar is told through through family stories so much
of the time with Miller with a view from the bridge with that of a Salesman other
other plays I wonder for you at London right now has has so much serve rich
political theater wonder what kind of scripts attract you when and if you were
particularly drawn to two plays that have such sort of Keene messages to them
if it’s more about characters it’s more about character I think when you find somebody that you
feel you can play somebody you can flesh out somebody that’s interesting
complicated confusing you know a mix of good bad or that thats multi-layered and
that’s kind of an actor what you’re always looking for it housed in a place
billions a view from the bridge for example or death of a Salesman then you
quit as we say in this is Eddie Carbone character had loomed large for you or
did this come about as a player is a project one that play maybe you were not
so much dreaming of doing some day we’ll have studied Miller University in
English and German agree and and was part of of what you read he was one of
America’s greatest twentieth-century playwrights and he was on the syllabus
and I read the place and I knew the place but I’ve never really seen them in
performance and I did episodes with a nationally 96 the National Theatre in
London and was lucky enough to meet a familiar when we were invited over to
Salzburg where he was chairing the conference to work with him on the plane
which was what was he like he was a big guy you know he was being automatically
big head big house and he said the cherries very imposing in the room he
did all his work in the morning and we’d meet him in the afternoon and he was
kind enough to read all the parts for a used to joke which part of my audition
for today desperately need to read all of the
parts that we could hear his voice even linda let alone will alone and be happy
when we had to switch kind of racism within those in reading his in reading
those parts did he bring the great emotion to them or would you rather
straightforward he would read them straight forward he wasn’t he didn’t
really characterize them particularly even kind of active and what I remember
about those meetings in rehearsals we had with him was his real ability to
allow us to do what we wanted with the play he was he you know this is a man
who had definitely salesman directed in Beijing he wasn’t precious about his
work in the way that it should be wrapped in cotton wool and because of past American experience if you like it
because that’s what evil is done with the play’s rescued it from its tradition slightly
which i think he would be delighted about to be honest I was going to ask
him are gonna get into the details of the production but if it did you find
with the Miller state and the requirements that they had were they
happy for you to take it in a very interesting direction to communicate
because there is a huge slide little changes and I i brought together for
instance the character of Lewis in the play is originally two characters you
know when I thought well bringing the lines to get a good pic 1 much more
interesting character for an actor to do and they allowed me to do that and
France’s the rest when the immigration police finally comes to business
situation but almost extras were no lines or one line the first family down
there of their cult in over these are the two people are hiding upstairs so I
also asked to cut and they allowed to do that and I’m working on the crucible is
saying I do with Rebecca Miller directly about slightly to change some
of them fill out some of them if we directing The Crucible Broadway this
spring and we’ll talk about that did you find that the Rebecca felt more
protective maybe of the crucible than we’ve tourism or the end of discussion
and I respected you know I know where will you know we just spoke on the phone
and then life she came to see the view from the bridge it feels it she is very aware that a
plea is a living thing that you cannot it would be stupid to say you have to do
the police played a weight has been done in the nineteen fifties because we live
in a different world the theater has evolved there’s different means that are
available these days how to make a production and I think that then she
Williams similar authors I adore they in this stage directions when it when you
read it with the eyes of somebody in the forties or fifties they were very
innovative but if you would do it exactly the same now it would be a
little bit conservative so you have is a director 222 reinventing play the way
it’s really intended to be anything that Rebecca Miller is very much aware that
ultimately has to go into the twenty-first century and not stay within
the twentieth century and I think there is a potential there on the team’s
characters which could really work until the end of the century later the recent
Broadway production last production of a Salesman that had the great Philip
Seymour Hoffman and it held for me ads in several productions of that play but
it became sort of universal suddenly became almost I’m lists in a way that
feel very special for the play but first of the future that a play that was at
the time of a period can transcend that I wondered if you ever had an occasion
to speak to Miller I shook his hand Lincoln Center you know how old were you recall
artistic director of the theatre workshop I work a lot and he was asking
I don’t know what the performance I was standing there toll as you say no huge
man I hadn’t seen him jim settle this is the greatest playwright of our times you
do hesitated at first in doing a view from the bridge as I understand it can
you talk a little bit about that and what sort of brought it now I have to
admit we all have shaken but I’m always sincere so you asked the question and I
i did a lot of Eugene O’Neill which I really adore this work and I did also
decided yes more stately mansions the very unknown I did it here in New York
but also long day’s journey into night mourning becomes Electra twice in
different first so I love him I love also Tennessee Williams A Streetcar
Named Desire Glass Menagerie autumn Miller said I thought totally wrong but
it is place where to moralistic for me and I mean amor moralistic that of
course there are moral issues but it also like giving an opinion like this is
good and this is bad which I’m not so interested in art and
theater I go to the theater to be confused to ascertain provoked to think in a new
way about things but I thought this I had a preconception but then youngish
record my designer he said to me you’re totally wrong should read it I can and
should really be considered it and then I read it again and then immediately
discovered of course reading it very carefully it was a gold mine of
difference you know and now in the middle of the
crucible preparations of courses ago my so I was to the wrong the change I would
change your viewpoint about plays and with ambiguity vs place them in the
clarity in terms of what they’re drawn to interesting clarity you know i i when
you go to a museum you see a Rothko what is that you know it’s like you’re
overwhelmed by world of brutality of poetry you know you have to make up your
mind yourself that’s what I like I don’t like political theater in a way to at
least that is what you know when you go to reach the 31 watching bad guys know
that he kills only any destroyed or so that’s not why you go to the theater
that’s not why you buy expensive tickets to go there you go for a different
sensation for a different experience something that mesmerized you that I
said before should perhaps moves you it has to do something with you you know
and just by saying as a teacher this is good and is bad I don’t think that the
arts are there for that reason that sort of function of art in our society I
think there should be rules on the street you know when there is a red
light will hear everybody crimes record we administer in Belgium Belgian the minister said I would be in the
desert and would be a red light and it would be right I would stop I would mark
R you reserved Lee enthusiastic about taking on the role of Eddie or did you
have any hesitations for to play great part but no I was looking at a part of
movie scripts I’ve been doing movies for 12 years and for the last play I did was
done 12901 company did both played the bridge
priority was called the bridge project then but it was summoned as directed it
and it was fascinating because obviously the the parts relate to one another both
players and it was a wonderful exercise we did it and it was such a wonderful
production I thought how do you follow that you know what what do you do now
and so suddenly the movies came calling a night I got involved with those and
twelve years later there’s a pilot movie scripts and I’m reading them and in
there is a view from the bridge and to be honest it was head and shoulders
above everything else I was reading and the character was incredibly fascinating
and I just realized I had to do it so there was there was no qualms about
doing it I was going to be very insidious awhile since you’ve been on
stage I said we asked about six years and they said no it’s twelve years so
the time just kind of goes post but what smokeless about Miller interests with
reference to your question is how he can make these tiny little microcosms of
stories so epic the question of you know what is what is the purpose of our in
our lives is the really valid what I think why do people go into a dark room
switch the lights off watch a group of people pretending to be other people
what is that about why we why we still doing that couple of thousand years
after the Greeks decided it was a good idea it’s amazing in this day and age of
technology that that still exists so we have to ask ourselves the question what
is going on and when I was lucky enough to win you live you had to make a speech
afterwards and I’m really thought about was gonna say I just remember this boy
who’d come up to me the stage door of the beloved performances and this play
more than any other ways production encourage people to come around the
stage door to talk to me rather just get signatures and they wanted to talk about
the play to talk about why the characters were behaving the way they
were in the boy said to me is his mom was holding his Hollywood what’s the
point of theater and I thought that’s a great question
what is the point you know why do we do it and it seems to me that it’s just you
know we have to measure ourselves against other people in this life in the
world and these people up on the stage you’re you’re watching their behavior
you’re judging them against yourself morally ethically the way they behave
you know why does beatrice in the play by the way she does why does eighty
behave the way she does and those were the questions that people were asking me
when they came backstage and it was fascinating talking about it because it
made me realize that basically theater is holding a mirror up to nature says
you know we we are exploring who we are as human beings by watching other people
enact these scenes and the reason Miller is such a great playwright is he totally
understands there and through these tiny little stories the sets up he tells
these epic stories about what it means to be human you know what was going on
in your childhood or adolescence or adulthood when the user became
meaningful to you what was happening and why did the other stakeholders I didn’t really I was involved with
placing things at school when I was in the twinkle toes at the age of five and
the kind of kid when people say we should be on the stage I don’t have any
family in the business and I knew nothing about it people on the stage on
the TV and in movies were separate from me they they they lived in another world
I didn’t think I had access to that world but my first introduction to
performance was three music’s Republican 77090 evil you know probably had a
similar kind of old straight you know what it meant to to get out there and
make a noise and enjoy the idea that you could express your opinion to a lot of
repeat a lot of people and ironically I don’t ignore all of that
went off and studied law which you both did that that’s why didn’t I think laura
is a great catalyst we’re hoping you’d understand what you really want why did why did you go to study law in
the first place where you I thought it was the right thing to do it seems like
it’s what my family and friends everybody would be impressed by as a
young man you thought wow everybody seems so keen on this it must be a good
thing and I did it I thought it very dry it wasn’t for me and so perversely I
can’t chose the diametric opposite and everybody obviously thought I was crazy
and it is a big step to make but you know it’s been the joy of my life I
think that I found something that I i I love so much with Indian adulthood was
anything’s happening with theater grabbed onto you are you done to
theaters in terms of why the passion well I kind of came to it in my late
very late teens early twenties just at the time in life when you’re trying to
work out who you are I mean I had a very bright understanding of of maturity but
I in your twenties essential your kind of trying to find out who you are by
what music you listening to you know what your gravitating towards who your
friends are in your thirties you know a little bit more about stuff and you feel
like you’re getting to understand some stuff forties you think a pretty great
now because your fifties is even better and i’m looking forward to 60 and 72
what’s your question it was in my early twenties I was trying to find out who I
was and theatre help me do that you two ever talked about going down the law
school path than what we’re used to it I didn’t note it is 2:04 you had you had
experience and tastes of theater as a teenager in boarding school but what was
it about why law school why did you sort of go down that path and then come about
because my my parents wanted me to do something on
University and then when you don’t know what you want you to study law that’s
what I did but afterwards I’m very happy that my parents pushed it to do that not to do love you I could make a choice
myself but but do that and i didnt for three years and I stopped in the middle
of the third year at a certain moment I looked and found myself reading a book article 3042 interpretation of this in
this and I thought well I was here yesterday I’m here today I will be
tomorrow in this library and probably for the rest of my life I don’t want
these I stopped immediately but I’m very happy because I don’t know how it is in
England but in Belgium the first two years studying law philosophy psychology
I had a American law and order of American law about american all this
president I think it’s really very creative great creative kind of law I
think you have to find precedents to to prove your case which we don’t know in
Europe so I’m I’m very happy because I had this pro prospective is an education
and also when you’re 18 you don’t really know most of the time but your life
choice will be but at the moment and you and it’s also important to listen to
your inner voice because my parents were heartbroken of course because I was a
very good student I got people letters from Professor asking me to comment back
because he wanted me to be an assistant you know what I said no I know I don’t
want my life and I think it’s the best decision I do in my life and also the
same case with mark my parents were pharmacist in a very father was a
pharmacist in a very small town village to two thousand inhabitants so we had
nothing to do with the year two things right traded in understanding of course what I
couldn’t imagine that I could make it is a job afterwards they were face to
continue when you started working on view from the bridge for a production to
come into your mind’s eye because many of your productions several which we’ve
seen in New York just have such visual and aural power does something need to
take hold of you are seen a piece of dialogue character for you to find your
way into production or into your concept of what you wanted to to be your to look
like yeah of course but it’s also a tough question it’s a lot and it’s why I
said already it is a bit of a love affair sometimes you’re in love with the
theme of a play or specific character there over situation with you from a
bridge so few from the bridge it was this if you use this image but I think
it’s it’s what came to my mind immediately the view from the bridge
when I read it from the first line on you know that the catastrophe will
happen it’s like watching a car crash you know you see the two cars you know
they are counting crash and the crash and mesmerize me from the first line and
I think it’s exceeded out so many times by now you know because we did your
victory went to the Western into broader did French version so I thought a lot and every time I’m
totally into it so it’s so well-written and if you do it well as they do it well
is if they acted well if you don’t if you can hold back your horse you know
and then started moment it went really works I did what I said it himself I
discovered lead wrong you know that he’s written in one place was the first we
play now to explain its plate all over the world these days but the one-act
play he said himself that he considered it as a modern Greek tragedy and it was
also when I read it’s my first thing that young but some graphs not refer to
me as we are the team is not only me immediately decided this is like a Greek
tragedy and not a naturalistic domestic drama its universal that takes I i would
say that takes guts a lot of americans would lean into what has been done
before what seems most familiar to you ever the questions about self-doubt when
you have that imposed for you and young have that no I’m not I’m not right now
also when people is the record I want everybody to love what I do you want to
be left that’s never looked back on a production and thought that actually
what’s an example or you’re just not gonna do that mentioning somebody that nobody I know
but of course you know you know listen as as as an artist you know very well
when you have done something that’s really good for you but you learn most
of the time most from the things are not good I i think in a rehearsal room also
rehearsal space to fail you know if you don’t have to take risk I do the
mediocre thing but you never fail but you never will make something really
important I always say to my company to do in Amsterdam I see we are in the
olympic games of theater so we have to break Olympic records don’t go for
provincial records or Olympic records you know that’s what we want a break I’m
not writing I’m never frightened I’m not afraid also not afraid of failure
failure I hate to fail and I try to avoid it totally you know but I’m not
afraid of it because as I said life 57 so I’m very aware that there is a
limited amount of time that you can do things so we better not be for hire
better to do things that you really care for agency to tell them to do them and
that’s what I try to do is try to follow that necessity within myself so did you
have to settle sort of learn how to fail as an actor is that is something that
I’ve heard that a great deal on the rehearsal room to take those risks to be
willing to fill but is that come naturally to an actor to you
specifically or is it the consciousness its unmatched in the job description ninety percent of being an activist
failure me nine out of 10 auditions meetings you certainly as a younger
actor you may not get you have to quickly learned that it
isn’t about you it’s about you know the players being put together all the film
or whatever you’re not quite right you know you have to sort of learned to take
disappointment regularly as just part of the job it’s instantly even say that you
know he’s not afraid to fail cuz I felt the rehearsal process was it was a
really collaborative wonderful what he wasn’t afraid to just get the script and
say oK what’s going on this page there was no sense that he came in and said
this is my vision this is what you’re gonna do this is how
its gonna be restarted on page one on the first day of rehearsals and we
worked our way through the play page by page to making sense of every moment and
if something didn’t quite make sense we work it out we’ll talk about it and make
sure that we did make sense and when it was done we moved on and it felt like we
moved through the play of the last day of rehearsal we close the last page and
then we we performed it but there was a wonderful sense in that rehearsal them
that we could take it anywhere or do anything we want him dinner to buy buy
any by Univision and you know having that the confidence to fail and not be
judged is is a very rare but necessary thing that’s really interesting because
having seen your work I would I would have thought maybe would have assumed
maybe simplistically that there would be at that there was a very strong vision
that you would come into the rehearsal room with and to some extent want to be
leading the actors toward that but is that not how you work or does it depend
on what may be the Benton X but I try to work on his very you know as a man he’s
very astute he kind of understands that you tell somebody something it’s totally
different from allowing them to find it themselves i mean we fought even on a
lot of things in the rehearsal room you know we wore shoes shoes not about a
week he said we should all take off our shoes and we all when would you take off
my shoes would you take off your shoes and we know we had a day or two of of rebelling against that now we didn’t
even think about why didn’t you want to take up issues but I definitely will be
taken off his shoes it didn’t occur to me that you could
perform without cause now I did do a play with you there were there were
other occasions too much respect I wonder how much you know obviously
either the enormous amount of work and knew what he wanted to play and there is
an amazing community artists during the performance that he’s obviously you know
having his mind that he saw when he read it but we were led and I don’t know how
much we found ourselves and how much he just moved into the water to let us
drink if you know how do you gotta keep this secret nobody at the end of the day
it’s to be good theater the best theater it has to be a collaboration because
they are on stage is not like making a movie at the end of the better move in a
movie director makes the edited you know the editors made by themselves in
theater every night life so therefore I try to rehearse well in a way that I did
display in the same concept in France with another actor who is like that
whole it’s a totally different person from Mark and also in as a person
totally different and you might sit in the same position as world markets
sitting but i allowed him to find himself you know because it would be
stupid for me to say that he has to pronounce it ought to be sangria totally different that marketers
princes you know I believe that always you play yourself a little thing
especially with in March strong it’s nice it’s impossible to play that well
it’s never an imitation and therefore it’s a cooperation between director and
actors and I’m not the kind of guy do I prepare very well but not like he’s
entering there is exceeding their readiness to do this and this and this
and this did you know did you know from the very beginning that you will
ultimately want them to not be wearing shoes no really didn’t you say you
conscious of what led up to that for you what no that’s part of it no it’s it was
an impulsive decision but really it was a decision which I was happy to be able
to do the rebellion was little bit behind closed doors I think also you
know but afterwards I can I can say that it but it has brought it has brought
this kind of Greek tragedy ritualistic kind of thing you know and that’s what
we doing this because we had also freezes all the props we have them ready
mixed or a roomful of crops that were written by prescribe you had your
rehearsal we do these things are really need that we don’t read every ended up
with a cigar in a chair you know the whole production and so i didnt also
know that was possible it was really exploration during rehearsal gonna stay
show some photos of the production just in case you haven’t seen a door or
bookmark please i just want to see an instinctive creativity is instinct it’s
it’s a story that I think it’s a freudian stored in a way comes from but
it’s the caterpillar who’s a very good dancer and the butterfly says to him
because he’s jealous when you dance is it like 38 then leg 79 then lick 2002 and of course the middle accountability
us to think about it he can’t do it because he dances naturally and a lot of
what came out in rehearsal was instinctive came about because it just
felt right is very hard to defy you know like the shoes whether or not we use the
knife in the fight at the end it just kind of happened right in the moment did
you lack of props or the lack of a typical said was that also something
that you had to sort of wrap your mind around to adjust to was it just you know
jump jump in Hope than that is their little I wish I mean I i went on a
journey with this production like you wouldn’t believe I mean I wish I could
say I knew exactly what we were getting into but when I first you know even we
spoke I thought we were doing the traditional version I thought we would
have shoes I thought we would I thought we would be in a doctor’s flat I thought
whole thing would be as it is in the square dining room table I went on a
journey of no no there’s no set props ok there’s no shooting up and it was a real
kind of you know a fantastic journey into something I didn’t believe was I
didn’t know was possible but of course now it just seems so clear to make
something as evidence is this is this story is you need to get rid of all the
extraneous stuff that is trying to persuade you that it’s real we know that it is not real you can see
the audience you can see the people sitting on the stage you know you know it’s not real there
was one point where the character says Beatrice ask him what’s the time is what
time is it an 86 quarter nine and I remember thinking fantastic I love to
have some sort of watch and I wonder you know I said to even what sort of what
you think I should have any sense why why do you want to watch because she
asked me the time how will I know what the time he said I’m not interested in
how you know what the time is I’m just interested in knowing what the time is that such clarity you know it’s just
it’s obvious that you say it’s a good people believe it’s there was a there’s
a wonderful profile of you in the in the new yorker
recently that sort of describes how you came to see that that you always didn’t
need to that an audience or personal didn’t need to see everything happened
right in front of you that things didn’t literally have to have to be there I did
wonder with the cigar in the chair how you ultimately decided to talk about the
cigar forced to have that as a prop why cigars comes in after 20 minutes belief it’s when you have met the family
of the wife his knees and it feels like there are you see the problem which will
be the problem later in a small version it’s feels like a play within the play
and it feels like at the end of the of the first play he feels like he is
totally at ease and the boss in his own home and it’s what the cigar brought in
the chair of course was really something without which we couldn’t do because us at the end of his first 20 minutes
and at the end of the first act Marco one of the Italian immigrants shows that
he is the real boss in the house and he does it by lifting this chair with a
bonus not capable of doing so that we really needed to to to show that but in
that moment otherwise be possible to bear in on that did you ever think to
yourself what could we do this without a ridiculous question but do it without
the chair or do it in a way that had had a different rooms and change but not in
this case because last fight I know what I was going to do there but I still
thought also that we were going to have a fight with a knife so we had a knife
market because it was because I I loved it direct from seen one in to see two
interesting 3 I’ll try to do that because then you finding the ending
together you know even when I know what the effect will be at the end of what
what what we have imagined it to be but i dont I didn’t know that we’re not
going to do it with a knife and we would every rehearsal and you looked at me
like are you serious now it after we moved everything out and then
immediately this idea came up I don’t know if I don’t really know we can do it
another way and also that idea compulsively instinct at that moment so
I think preparation is always there is a direct you have to prepare you know I’m
really a guy a lot but preparations there when you get in trouble do you
have a back office you know officer you can get something that’s far for me with the preparation
is in preparation for me is also to explore in a text with the possibilities
of a text or not the final decision as a final decision with Marcum it in a
different way as which has bowling great place it in in France it’s different
because he has a different attitude to different sensitivity and markers and
it’s important for director because it is also a lot about what she sees
potential and pushing it as far as possible and its I am NOT a good I
always saying so I have no methods but my method is to look at Mark is an
individual and to try to find a way how to deal with him the best way I know
different person in life in the way the TV hearses and I’m very adaptable very
flexible in that way sometimes I talk a lot but I think and feel that somebody
needs that sometimes I don’t see anything and just see one thing at the
right hopefully the right moment remember that you know of weeks in
rehearsal exit even realized he hadn’t really given me notes or told me what to
do anything like that night I i thought id ask him whether it’s alright I went
over and said is everything ok when you have a really said anything he said it’s
great if anything I’ll tell you what is the carrier had you ever had that before usually people come in with you know
people come in with fear you know they’ve got to put this production or
it’s going to be gorgeous he wanted to be great everybody’s got to do what they
told him people come in and tell you what they want and not always you know
this but generally there’s a feeling of its gonna be done like this this is how
it works which is why family a very light hand on the tiller encourages you
to kind of collaborate and it makes you feel confident and you could see the
company blossom or two or three days in when they rely is that whatever they were doing was not
going to be criticized and was going to be judged that actually we were all in
this together there was there was a very unusual how much is the light hand on
the tiller relative lack of notes conscious sort of
choice or even strategy of yours or is it I don’t like noted much older I get I
don’t like it also why I like to be with exercise I try to avoid giving notes
also I have lots of strategies to avoid it I hate is to keep notes right after
performance I don’t think for myself I feel that I need a night to sleep on it
for a night and the day after know much better you know much clearer and then I
love not to give no it’s like giving notes but being together on a station
during rehearsal that I talk a little bit here and talk a little bit I have to
say this and this and it’s much more effective but I don’t function or
prismatic be much more effective because we do not rinse but I feel is what you
do notes with a group of people could easily also defensive and it’s not my
intention to office to today’s to do something offensive and it’s much better
to have this one to one relationship well that’s what I feel I feel so much
better you know kind of Sonu have to talk about things you have to sometimes
you have to make up your mind to get about start the best way to do this marking your experience getting notes
right after performance versus perhaps the next day having time to think about
it is does it have a different effect on you as an actor you’re getting them
right away versus later it’s fully assume everybody knows what notes are
there moments in in rehearsal when you know you’ve done the performance and
then there will be note saying shift of the letters on the
stage or say that like work or you know this do this inflation is just basic
away a kind of tweaking of your performance that Ricky notes because
they tend to be loom large in your head when you’re coming up to them that’s the
problem is the same thing about me is you can avoid you literally all the
players running in your head you’re doing it and then the moment given a
note about comes up and you know because they take on huge significance these
moments as a sort of Rep to you terms of not this production but in the
performance before it got in your head and performances that thing because I
can’t really say how what percentage of you is concentrating on being the
character I always always wonder about method acting things you know this idea
that you have to be 100 percent in the in the part because how can you be you
know like I said before you can see that it’s artificial you know even filming
you can see the cables the camera everything you know and the British
tradition is that you’re you’re taught to perform and you understand it it’s
it’s not real so but a big percentage of you needs to be in the reality of what
you’re performing but some of you needs to be the voice that is saying don’t
bump into the chair you know so-and-so’s just dropped a line so if you reply to
that line is not gonna make sense so you gotta say something else you know the
mean the practicality of being on stage should things happened so part of you is
given over to that and you you just you have to be kind of you have to be
mindful that is just it’s part and parcel of performance and it’s a
mindfuck was you know but you know that 80% of you is is is in it and 20% of you
is calculating your performance the set design by young is in the plane’s basis just it’s just
magnificent in this production talk a little bit about how unions were
conceived of this but I think of might be totally the wrong word but can have
this cube space this kind of Squarespace that ends up the tix story thinking very quickly sometimes it’s
very prepared for a painful process within not in this case it came very
quickly it was immediately clear that because it is a Greek tragedy as I said
earlier on also that we wanted to Greek space almost you know but in this case
you can see it on this picture is like a wall you see one door is like a Greek
Palace almost but it’s also very tiny in dimensions so it will also like the
footprint of house of a normal houses if the chance to ruins are left the
footprint of it is left their young told me then it’s an experience that
everybody knows but for him it became something very meaningful in his life
and for this production the memory as a young boy when he was 12 years old when
he took we always have when we see a big rock because we have the tendency to
look what’s behind what what’s beneath so and he always remember the first time
that he took that he saw all the insects crawling under it you know and that’s a
little bitty idea of the box is in the beginning of the production box is
closer than it opens a serious people there you know it closes again so it was
with young it’s never one thing i think thats the beauty office City Science in
Agra fees that you can think different things it is like a Greek tragedy but
it’s also a domestic it’s also a house could also be raucous Tony you can think
whatever else you can think about it so they are open for interpretation that’s
what I like about this set and it takes very well care of actors you know you
always want to make them a house that becomes their home and and it can be sometimes by doing
extreme things like it because it’s very near perry naked very bare restart you
could see it sometimes forces to be houses a stark sometimes house it has to
be cozy but it has to be on the hope for the texture for the extra living again
for those who haven’t seen the production it’s sort of a square-shaped
almost box at the actors are playing within a mark what is it like to play in
that space what are the challenges of it initially I think we were nervous
because it allows you to perform with it you know you can sit on it you can
manhandle props cups and forks whatever impacting the view from the bridge I
think there’s a couple of meals during the play normally a lot of bringing all
enough of crockery and cutlery and coffee and food and people sit down they
eat and you know i mean obviously if you’re watching the actors do that
you’re not listening to what’s being said particularly so initially we were
very nervous because we thought well it’s it’s very exposing and then we
realized it’s incredibly releasing it just released as you from the need to do
all of that all you gotta concentrate on other words what those words mean why
you’re saying those words why the words are being sent to you and what they mean
the characters and therefore the narrative it makes the whole process
incredibly clean play becomes in this incarnation and that’s what a lot of
people have said to me is the clearest version they’ve ever seen because it’s
uncluttered with the usual traffic of the stage as a genuinely fascinating
scene which takes place I think during dinner but because there’s no set on
stage the characters are sort of separated they’re sitting in different
parts of the playing area just for those of you haven’t seen it and the friend
who I brought with me who didn’t know the play was struck by these fairly long
relatively long pauses that were taking place and he’s trying to sort of imagine
what was happening and afterward he said you know I think maybe they were
supposed to be eating during that scene and at first he found
the deposits are strangely was sort of puzzling over them and they thought
afterward maybe this was supposed to be some sort of a dinner and they weren’t
but but your point by having no set it just it crystallized isolation that a
lot of the characters were in the distances and they were moved between
those poses on taking the place of anything else Evos concept that fuel only just begun
per second which we all again for tomorrow because we thought forces in a
play we’ve been taught you pick up your Q’s you move something along you know
and I i thought people would be flocking to the exits the military before seen
but what’s fascinating is that that scene is only a couple of pages long and
it usually goes for nothing because the characters are talking talking about
sardines in the CEO talking about the color of oranges and lemons and you know
boats to Africa it’s it’s not relevant particularly what they’re saying it’s
social change what’s going on is what’s on the meeting that the subtext which is
that is the first time you see them all together in the house you know
understand exactly who they all of their agendas or how they’re all relating to
each other by creating that space between the lines of chips yet allows
the audience to see everybody in exactly how they’re feeling about everybody else
and it makes the whole thing actually much richer normally I suppose just gets
lost in the normal two-page incarnation where people are just chatting and that
moment goes now it’s it’s the moment a lot of people described during the play
when things really just come into focus and so filled with tension or going to
go to questions in a few minutes just to sharpen your own thinking caps audience
members sit on stage to the left and the right of the plane space and it was
wondering where would the set and the on-stage seeding developed in tandem the
box original idea was that people would sit at three sites should have become
like very near to the actors because it feels like the black community but also
like pressure is the box is opening up if you liked lawyers looking into a
situation that he shouldn’t relook at because it’s gonna be dangerous and
testify at the end of the day so it’s all these things therefore we found it
necessary to bring people arms audiences on stage to be tuned to
create a special mark what’s it like playing I’m sure you’ve done this in
smaller fringe theatres in London but what’s it like playing on the Broadway
stage with actors or just a few feet away from you is that it does that
influence on form of performances that a challenge challenges your military thing where
people are quite so close the Young Vic will display regulated is pretty much in
the road in as evil said we performed for each other so they were very special
called a filmic performances no performance was required because people
were very very near so we could just play the truth and the reality and
people were observing that we move to the West End which is a traditional
proscenium arch theater and even had the brilliant idea to bring some of the
benches from the young victim put them on the side of the stage so it
maintained that feeling that we were surrounded but actually said she most of
the audience were out so we have to adapt slightly bring the performance
level up a little bit sightlines had to be observed otherwise people you know
couldn’t see from the site so that had to be taken care of and now that we’ve come here to the
Lyceum it’s a it’s a slightly bigger theater again but actually know the
seats on the side they’re not just little see Charlie on picket they feel
like they’ve lived there for as long as the theaters being there they they they
really it’s a beautiful spectacle that there’s the staging in the seats and of
course the majority of the audience again are out front so you have to be
aware of the fact that you have to reach people at the back you know they need to
be able to hear and see what’s going on but at the same token you got people
sitting as close as you are to me know so you have to be aware of that to what
it actually does is increase focuses you incredibly there is no moment at which
you cannot be in the play is no you cannot relax you have to be constantly
on your toes constantly interacting with the other person the true test to be
there the team work that’s required is really extraordinary I think that’s what
gives a lot of the production it’s it’s tension the fact that people can see
this group of actors of totally engaged one another if you have a question
please line up now at the bottom of each child will be someone with the
microphone or rather than be microphone stands there I didn’t ask each of you
that the production is so for grounded with what I thought with homoeroticism
were you did you make sure of a conscious choice to do you think of
Eddie is unconsciously a gay man no ok yeah now it’s funny that those
kind of decisions of the sort of thing I think they get made in rehearsal when
you’re exploring even makes us learn the lines before we arrived in the 1st day
so we had a very solid understanding of who we were I know if you can sometimes be around us
when you get to the middle of the second week or something and then I know it’s a
big game he could be gay and you go down the path and it doesn’t serve the
players are so really it’s only serving you and your notion that we could do
this which isn’t always the right way to go I mean in that play there is nothing
to suggest ideas get whatsoever in the case because he’s famous famous moment
where he kisses Rodolfo but an act of war right now is is this is sort of
modern maybe psychology but his insistence that something that’s just
not right thing right about Rodolfo sometimes a little bit of a lady
distributed version you know for him it’s the truth perspective I think now that we think
I’m genuinely believes is gonna burn this man is an Italian Catholic dying
woman is going to take care of a baby gonna burn in hell if he doesn’t do that
in his life comes a man cannot quantify there was a wonderful life the questions or just let me finish is
they they there’s a wonderful role in the play where Lewis eighties power on
the dock system i mean what the hell you know any replies sure i mean that’s how men speak to each
other in Eddie’s world they don’t talk about blue motorcycles they don’t make
dresses they cannot saying he cannot qualify this guy all he assumes he put
two and two together makes fight and assumes you know that right there is a
park and that’s the reason is protesting is because he gets it wrong let’s go to questions Europe first
please keep your questions as possible and with a question mark coming on my
question is for Mark just outta curiosity about your differing released
its dynamics of Directors depending on SEDAR vs film because it’s very
different process you know films you got different takes the reader rehearsals
and then show one show to show three did your relationship with directors are the
dynamic that you create with them does it differ between film and theater is it
different from every director it’s different with every director and is
different from stage to film I mean you know you’re relying on the person behind
the monitor to you you need them to be your best friend to tell you what it’s
not right but it’s too big when it’s too small when you look strange when it’s
not happening you need them to be your best friend and do that but it’s all
about the military’s about how you look like in the theater directors way more
because it’s you you’re going out there and into the arena in front of the
audience and you need the support of somebody to to give you the tools to go
and do that successfully thank you thank you thank you for your conversation
tonight and have a quick statement for mr Hogan that jeanne was probably the
more moralistic the most politically could have a do or done because in the
beginning of the conversation you said that you don’t like moralistic place but
I find it super thin screen quick question what kind of talk did it
took on you to play this character after so long and it has to be a little bit of
the question is how do you cope with the demand for so long to meet statement ok that’s the toll that it takes you
should ask my wife about the toll it takes on me it’s it’s exhausting I mean
you cannot because of the how close the audience and the subject matter and just
what I feel like I owe the play in the production you can’t get you can’t fake
it the man is going through the biggest
revelation of his life and he doesn’t understand it and it’s physically and
emotionally exhausting but the catharsis is such that it’s it’s an amazing
experience every night I go in and just before the play stars I feel so we are
in that I’m never going to be able to get there again in the minute the play
starts you know it just grabs you by the scruff of the neck and dragged through
to the end of every night we get to that moment the only way my God we’re here
again and it’s all there now no intermission yes I think we should
engage people know something about Dutch language area it’s often characterized
as progressive expressive very physical contest two more British or American
theater I was wondering to what extent do you position yourself in that
tradition but also in New York since 1997 you know not every year sometimes every
23 years my work is presented been practically every year so I feel also
hear part of this community in the theater you know and of course it was
this was my broadway debut that it only once in a lifetime with you have so you
know I’m very blessed and my mission is to make theater that ambition is and
sometimes it will sometimes it successful to make seated it can be it can be seen
from Sydney to Buenos Aires to New York it’s hubris of course but also with the
YouTube answering my own company with tour with Dutch speaking production
sometimes shakespeare for five hours you know that the whole world and it’s my
dream that’s my mission to to make the most personal productions effort the
most extreme predictions ever and to share them with its largest audience
possible all over the world so I don’t consider myself i said im Belgian
actually touching and I’m working in basically but as a Dutch the director
and I feel also part of this cold very good just in my company last week you
know so I also invited my company trading director working they’re very
good on silenced by Katie Mitchell is working there you know so I tend not to
think in in this kind of boxes thank you thank you yes question I saw the plane
previews like the carbon source speaking with Brooklyn accent the Sicilian
nephews were speaking like they were from Wisconsin so I i was just curious to know how you make
decisions about accents in the play actually the only real discussion we had
individuals beginning I’m gonna make a comparison I did little foxes a few
years ago 2010 here and I said immediate I didn’t
I wasn’t sure of the play of the potential there and I which is very well
you did a reading with great actors going for it you know that’s a great
year that UPS cannot do that you know they can do it so I did I said to them I
want to hear it in playing American English you know southern accent and
suddenly I heard everything what is what’s president of play so we decided
late only be produced it also to do it did you displayed its really in the
situated in the south of America to take it away also the critics hated woman said that
suddenly they heard the play as if it was new and that experience are brought
to the view from the bridge and therefore indeed normally this Italian
immigrants wouldn’t speak American at all you know not even bad American
market wouldn’t speak anything so it’s also that solution to think also
indicated in Artemis players are you talking italian-american it’s not
indicated some stage direction they’re so that’s that’s a little bit a
tradition that has been now on for years and years and years we
broke that I think we tried it once again it’s a certain moment of a certain
day we tried it and doing it in it italian-american way it was like you
don’t get what they’re talking about your only listening to how they say it’s
only it suddenly becomes the actual a wonderful nobody ever gave recently the
rehearsal when you hear to somebody said don’t do that is to much like theater so
that those those accents I listened to a radio play of the relatively recently in
the military italians come on and do those Italian accents just distances you
from the reality of the story a little bit yes can you just talk about the use
of music in the bridge was very very important it really it is music all the
time even when you’re not aware there is music to his music was not one moment of
silence in the thing and actually it it’s that was perhaps daring thing to
use this for a requiem but it was inspired I don’t know if you you
certainly know possibly need very famous movie maker Italian movie maker from the
sixties and seventies and when he made movies about persons or poor people or
you know we always used by to give it ended in a tie and then I didn’t know
what music 222 using I have somebody my company with some of my soundscapes in
which bill is an actor a very good actor but also knows a lot about music and a
keen to get the music I really cannot find what we should you get what you
want but I wanted to end a little bit of poetry are after all this water going on
and he said for a requiem so great question do you think that the
music was too much that the beat of the drum beat of the drum is a stiff right
right peter it’s from drumming because this is the best driving you experience
but I would overwhelm the player no yes no drama to yeah I think it was this was
perhaps the biggest risk it took to its because also when Michael it’s the chair
it’s an explosion of music but I think I immediately felt ok you can criticize it
but it goes to your heart you feel something you know and also this bit in
Baraboo beat you know everything about you when it started you know its mind is
going in the wrong direction you know you shouldn’t think this way now and
that’s what is Peters so I use all that’s not too much that’s not
indicating too much thank you for us in a music question this is a question mark
and for you have the opportunity to watch so we’re productions from scenes
from a marriage interesting is the use of the words and
very deliberate this how words are used and also some texts and so i’m just
wondering in terms of creating and driving its organic experience that you
both talked about how these rhythms of the words or the lack thereof play in
terms of evoking the kinds of cathartic performances that audiences you know to
be honest we just dropped into the rhythm of the play you know when you say
the words that you know as as I said before there was no there was no concept
there was no this is how rhythms will be this is what you’re going to do if there
is a reason that you can discern in the play or a neighbor’s place I can only
speak for a view from the bridge it come about as a result of the writing I mean
what’s also interesting in the light of what you say by the rhythms of of the
words is the movement the movement around the stage in that arena that that
we have was all totally organic company came about with people just moving in
rehearsal and people who sit up top in the gods or in the you know the
mezzanine they they they they talk about the kind of kinetic movement of the
actors within that space again that wasn’t ever specified it was just
something that came about so I think the movement like the rhythms of the speech
things that just evolved and it came about set so we rehearsed it’s not in the
final set but the whole set was there so the house was there you know to living
and then you develop a body language together that’s that’s what I’m very
sensitive well to get an extra language on top of
what you see it expresses you know when I talking now I do something mark is
talking in a totally different way so I have my way of expressing myself before
we sometimes tend to forget in the theater at the bodies are important to
express was in the works then what you do with your voice we have time for one
last question yes I had 14 and there is also interest and probably less likely
to 6505 nice incident at Vichy thats just opened a triple axle I didn’t have
time to see that I’m rehearsing the whole day every day and the terrible
thing about performing a week means you can’t see anything while you’re working
lazarus it’s coming up at New York Theatre Workshop what’s what’s David
Bowie like to work with as a collaborator no easy is interested in
the collaboration because it is a creation is different from you from
Richard it’s a plane it’s within minutes we know it works you know but this is a
creation I have to make it work together within the walls order to get it if we
met my team and all the people so when he was yesterday in the promise and
sitting next to me and then we talked for an hour afterwards you know about
course of course in modern music things because its musical but also had something which I had
questions about which also certain songs position is very open he’s really like
the way that we were very opposite right now this is the way the song is there so
it should happen so it’s reason he said last week dialogue is king so in israeli much
where the musical theater piece and not in its will not be a jukebox musical
like one hit after the other there will be a lot of unknown unknown
David Bowie songs it was four brand-new songs also in it but his collaboration
is very positive in very constructive and not like this is the songs this is
way threaten abuse each other at opening night as well as a result be New York
Theatre Workshop this winter the crucible this spring and course view
from the bridge is playing at the Lyceum Theatre for the next several weeks
please join me in thanking mark Strong


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