I have always been inspired by magician directors, directors who could make the impossible possible. It is a frustrating truth that the more you become involved with what you are passionate about, the less excitement you can draw from it. When I was seven, my parents took me to see Peter Pan. I was a very logical child. I knew that people did not fly, and that it was easier to fake it on film than on stage, so I expected a bit of arm flapping and was ready to suspend my disbelief. Then, when Peter first appeared, he jumped off the window sill into the room. And floated down. This blew my mind. I remember gasping audibly and turning to my mom, who responded in kind.
That is the reaction I want to draw from my audiences. The awe and wonder of a seven year old. For this reason, Robert Lepage had always been a favourite director of mine. He is an entertainer. There is nothing he cannot do, from a space walk using mirrors, to a complex fencing scene with the latest state of the art AV equipment. His stories are beautiful and poignant and very very exciting. Well, I want to do that too. I want to make people's hearts flutter and get tingles up their spines. I want them to shout, "Oh my god!" when something unexpected happens. I want unexpected things to happen. I want them to have fun.
My second inspiration is Jonathan Miller for his sheer logical approach to theatre, which, contrary to how it sounds, is a much more sensitive approach than some. He asks the simple question, "What would humans do?" He golds a mirror up to nature. I remember him speaking at the University of Toronto and pointing out how, once we finished taking a groupd photograph, we applaud ourselves. This is absolutely true, but I have never thought about it before. And more than that, more than his minimalist appraich to directing, he is just so... normal about it all. As he says, "There is such a lot of bullshit associated with the notion of 'creativity' and the creative process...when you are doing it, you just fiddle around until you decide, 'That's good.'"
In a way, he and Lepage can seem like polar opposites, but they fit toegther nicely. I don't believe in spectacle for spectacle alone, nor is it very interesting watching two people sit in chairs and talk quietly to each other (of course there are exceptions to both).
Moderation in everything, then. But excitement in every way.
Adrienne Kress is The Actor, The Director, The Playwright, The Teacher, as well as being The Producer of Killer Kat Productions.