The theatre is about life. What else could it be about?
When I begin to work on a play, I start with a deep, formless hunch which is like a smell, a colour, a shadow. That's the basis of my job, my role-that's my preparation for rehearsals with the play.
I start making a set, destroying it, making it, destroying it, work it out. What kind of costumes? What kind of colours? All those are a language for making that hunch a little more concrete.
The rehearsal work should create a climate in which the actors feel free to produce everything they can bring to the play. That's why in the early stages of rehearsal everything is open and I impose nothing at all.
In a sense this is diametrically opposed to the technique in which, the first day, the director gives a speech on what the play's about and the way he's going to approach it. I used to do that years ago and I eventually found out that that's a rotten way of starting.
...we start with exercise, with a party, with anything, but not ideas.
"Why don't you do this?" and there'd be gags, there'd be silly things. It didn't matter. All of it was for the purpose of having, out of that, such a lot of material that then, gradually, things could be shaped.