Three weeks ago I had the pleasure to work with director James Blakey as part of a Slung Low production.
As someone who creates his own work I have the tendency to feel quite protective of it. Getting a director on board can be risky as my good friend David Duchin pointed out. It’s almost like letting someone else educate your child. Lots of potential for fuck-ups. And fuck-downs. (That must be the positive version. I’m just guessing.)
I’ve worked with James three times so far. And I’d describe him as: fearless, respectful and visionary.
Fearless might be the wrong word. I think I have used the expression ‘not afraid of being afraid’.
Never before have I worked with a director like him.
He has never pushed me and yet he created a space where I pushed myself. He directed his vision and yet he gave me the freedom to make his vision my own.
And he takes traditional formats and takes them to a whole new level. How exciting is that?
I sense a change. A change in how theatre companies work. Away from tyranny to true collaboration under direction. Away from big egos to big humans.
But also a change in what audiences are being invited to. Away from passive consummation to fine dining. Without the massive bill at the end.
Maybe that’s been happening for a long time already and I’m only aware of it now. Either way it’s exciting. We can be excited for a new wave of theatre guided by a new generation of directors.
If you get a chance to see James’ work, go and see it.
If you get a chance to work with him, do it!