How long have you been with Western Edge? Do you have any roles other than artistic director in other productions?
Over 20 years – yes my role involves all manner of things – acting writing directing being a roadie etc – that’s the nature of the gig.
A very general question; what inspired you to put on this play, as well as the style that it’s in?
This work comes out of an ensemble devising process. The plot is highly relevant to contemporary issues and the style is a ‘poor theatre’ physical approach that best suits the needs of this company.
What sort of vision; artistic or otherwise, do you have for this play? What do you hope your audience will get out of it?
‘Iago’ is contemporary re-working of Shakespeare’s Othello. It explores misogyny and male violence and is sensitive to current social trends. I hope audience will be entertained, challenged and moved by it.
Why do you think people and actors still love performing and showcasing Shakespeare’s work to this day? What is it about these particular characters that you love, or that you think other people will love and/or relate to?
Iago is an original play uses Shakespeare’s dramaturgy and characters but not his poetic language. Shakespeare’s plays explore moral ambiguity through the genius of his writing – they continue to be relevant and entertaining which is why they are so widely performed and appreciated today.
Does the play reflect any of your person experience, current or past? If so, has it helped you develop as a person or come to terms with your experiences (gender/sexual identity)?
Many people in the community have experienced male violence against women in one form or another. This play does draw on the personal experiences of the cast at some level – it also explores diverse cultural perspectives – but it is not in any way autobiographical.
A fair amount of works attempt to contemporise Shakespeare’s productions in various forms of fiction and media. How do you believe such a method is most beneficial to the audience or how entertained do you think they’ll be by it?
There are many many ways of adapting Shakespeare to contemporary contexts. I’ve done this with different groups of young people for over thirty years. It always produces work that is sharp, edgy and complex which is what theatre should be.
Finally, what is some advice you have for any budding actors and directors, or even writers looking to get into the industry?
My advice is make work that matters and that has an audience and then make sure you engage and entertain that audience – make it mean something.