I knew of Katie Mitchell- as a theatre lover and theatre maker how could I have not? I had read her book, “The Director’s Craft- A Handbook for the Theatre”, I had seen extracts of her work on theatre sites, had read her interviews. But unfortunately I hadn’t had the chance to experience her work live, until now.
The “Brand Stichter” Foundation, which celebrates the fire starters of the theatre, has invited Katie Mitchell to Amsterdam, along with some of her famous productions.
Last week my Line Producer, Cintia Taylor, and I attended the Brand Stichter’s event “An Evening with Katie Mitchell”. Katie Mitchell, guided by the questions of a journalist, talked about her work and her influences. Director and journalist took the stage. The first question was asked; who do you consider your main influence in your work. The answer was clear, “Pina Bausch”.
Euphoria. A great smile was born on my face, as I turned around and looked at my collaborator. We had just come from a production meeting about our upcoming production of “Antigone”. Our discussion revolved around my desire to use the chorus as an homage to Pina Bausch. And here comes Mitchell “blessing” our choice.
Of course who can deny the influence Pina Bausch has on any artist? Especially women who are interested in fluidity, freedom, image, power, soul, pain, beauty and so many other characteristics present in Bausch’s work.
Some of the artists Katie Mitchell mentions:
to name a few.
At the end of this evening we had the chance to meet her in person, a great joy.
Yesterday we attended the performance she directed, “Alles Weitere Kennen Sie Aus Dem Kino”, based on the “Pheonician Women” by Euripides. The adaptation was by Martin Crimp. Katie Mitchell and Martin Crimp have collaborated on many projects.
The performance was in German, with Dutch surtitles. I personally do not speak either languages. Yet the experience was so full and powerful, I could not move from my seat for the two hours it lasted. The images, the power of the actors, the sound design, the light design, the movement cast hooks in my soul and I could not look away. I laughed and cried.
The performance was followed by a short Q and A session with some of the actors. All actors in the play are German. There, it was revealed, that Katie Mitchell and Martin Crimp do not speak German. They managed to transcend language, and this is what I felt in the theatre; the pure emotion, the image that the actors “see” when they speak the words. The objective is not the “how” but the “why”. Once you know the “why”, the force that leads you becomes so strong, no one can escape. That was her greatest gift to the actors and to us, the audience. She was able to guide them so they, the actors, can show us the way to the “why”.
Katie Mitchell Thank you for leading the way.