Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Fascination of What's Difficult

I spent Tuesday morning with Robert Lepage. He's the latest interviewee for the planned book on post-colonial / intercultural theatre, and as fascinating to talk to as he is in performance. He's also incredibly helpful about our current project: we talk about working with Chinese culture, about the Western gaze, about the mythology surrounding cross-gender performance. It's a real privilege to talk all this through with any other director, but with a truly great one......

And this work is truly, truly difficult. Difficult because it's truthful, but truth is such a fluid and shifting thing. So much of what is in this piece is alien to my experience, and it requires huge leaps of imagination to grapple with it. I think that's true for the students too. Haili, of course, knows the Yueju world and the Chinese background so much more intimately - without her this would be impossible. Because she's Chinese, she's very polite - I need to find a way of understanding the challenges she throws out - because they always require really powerful re-thinking.

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