Because plays can profoundly affect those who see them, directors and storytellers find themselves in a certain position of power – the power to influence. I do not take this responsibility lightly. Perhaps it is because I grew up in a Communist country, where the stakes of artistic expression were so high. For the past six or so years, I have been guided by Brecht’s words that “art is not a mirror to humanity, but a hammer with which to shape it.” For this reason I like drama that holds political and social value. No, I do not like didactic plays, nor works that tell people what to think; what I enjoy are plays that jar the audience out of complacency, push the audience to question long-standing beliefs—plays that spark a dialogue. Stanislavski said that theatre begins the moment we use a hanger to leave our coats at coat-check. And I add that it ends when spectators stop talking about what they saw. It is for this reason that I choose to work on complex pieces that stimulate the audience to look at the world in a new light. -AL
Check out my submission to the TCG’s I AM THEATRE Series.