Assisting Glen Walford on the UK premiere of Keith Bunin’s wonderfully epic story has been an artistically-affirming experience. Glen has razor-sharp, passionate directorial instinct, and I have gained much confidence through observing how she communicates and makes decisions. Sandra brings warmth and wit to her role; and Jonathan anchors the production, with his combination of careful skill and playfulness. They have both been a continuous delight to work with. Having Keith in the rehearsal room for the first two weeks was a particularly fascinating part of the process. The script is verbally rich and intricately textured, and it was a challenge for all the company to navigate where theatricality was essential to bring the stories to life. Sandra and Jonathan are able to coax them from resting on the page to leaping out from the stage into the hearts of the audience. What you will plunge into every night is the result of painstaking pre-production excavation, which parallels the way in which Claudia and Jonah expose their souls to one another as the play progresses.
The Unbuilt City is my final production working as Assistant Director as part of the Trainee Resident Director Scheme at the King’s Head Theatre. It has been a culmination of many of the reasons why I think theatre is vital. The play explores the necessary difficulty of creative work. It is simultaneously frustrated by how money-motivated decisions have come to govern society at every tier, with those at the bottom persecuted by the overrich echelons. But the sort of enrichment Jonah and Claudia find in one another is a rare, shared love for conversation, art and knowledge. This turn of phrase may be cheap: but the bond they form is priceless. The exchange an audience can have with characters on stage is a unique and special thing, to which The Unbuilt City draws attention, intimately. You can learn things about yourself you never knew, or forgot you did, and be granted the gift of new perspectives without moving from your seat.
I hope you enjoy the play, and leave sharing in its optimism for human endeavour. Is there a better city to be built…?
6 - 30 June. Tickets.