Thursday, 31 January 2013

Centre Stage on What's Peen Seen?: Zuri Warren

Encompass Productions are staging a brand new production of Who is Moloch? written by Pamela Carralero and directed by Zuri Warren, playing at the Press Play House for a limited run. Below, director Zuri Warren tells us all about his anxieties, inspirations and challenges. 

How can you tell from reading a script if it's going to work on stage?

The narrative has to be sound. It should inspire you to formulate a broad range of ideas that are original and adaptable. It should provide opportunities to explore various theatre techniques. It should also carry a central message that we can clearly deliver to the audience.

What are the challenges of directing a new play?

Creating a concept for the play that is relevant to our modern culture was the biggest challenge. You also have to undertake an extensive amount of research in order to create a unique world for the play to exist in. Choosing the right actors for the roles is also demanding when you have to consider various personalities and character traits. It is also difficult to secure investment for unfamiliar work, so producing a play on a minimal budget was another big challenge.

What do you enjoy/not enjoy about the rehearsal process?

I thoroughly enjoy getting to know the actors. During the rehearsal process, I was keen to discover particular aspects of their personalities that I could then mould to really get the best out of their performances. There isn't an aspect of the rehearsal process I don't enjoy - even when things go wrong, I enjoying working to get it right!

Why do you think Shakespeare's work is still relevant in today's theatre?

Shakespeare's work has influenced and inspired the vast majority of theatre that we see today. His works were among the first to really challenge the boundaries of what we can explore on stage and through performance, which collectively serve as a timeless model of how to stage theatre, giving direction through his skillful use of language. They also demonstrate a particular attention to detail, especially to the visual imagery of scenes that can inspire the imagination of any social class.

How do you think that combining reality and a dream world makes an unusual performance?

It questions our perception on reality itself. As an audience, we are capable of distinguishing between what is real and what is fantasy. For reality and fantasy to co-exist on stage, the audience is required to suspend their belief in what they perceive to be real, to genuinely enjoy the performance.  

Which element of the show are you most looking forward to seeing on stage?

The transformation of the set during the performance. The designers had the most ambitious task of creating an initial, multi-purpose real world, which could conceal an abstract, fantasy world within. Words cannot express the anticipation!

Which directors past or present inspire you?

Sam Mendes provided a huge inspiration for me during this process, having directed Shakespeare works for the stage. Kenneth Branagh also inspired me - as an aspiring actor myself, his work as an actor/director definitely influenced my approach to directing this production.  

What would you like the audience to take away with them when they leave?

Inspiration. To stand by their beliefs and to believe in the power of dreams. And a programme. 

Who is Moloch? runs until 9 February 2013. 
For more information:
@EncompassOnline @WhoIsMoloch 

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