Yaël Farber’s adaptation of Salomé opens at Shakespeare Theatre Company on October 6, 2015. She is a multiple award-winning director and playwright of international acclaim. Her productions (The Crucible, Mies Julie, Nirbhaya, Molora, He Left Quietly, A Woman In Waiting, Amajuba) have toured extensively internationally – earning her a reputation for hard-hitting, controversial works of the highest artistic standard. Farber’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible opened at The Old Vic in July 2014 to universal critical acclaim.
What can you say in a play you can’t say in another medium?
There’s an immediacy…a primal exchange in theater that cannot ever be repeated. That exchange has to be created and won anew every night. The demand on every artist involved in that quest is rigorous and requires a courageous surrender. It goes to the core…returns us to our truth, every time we witness it. Not all theater is successful in this pursuit. Much of today’s theatre is dedicated to simply trying to repeat (each night) what is “supposed” to happen, just as it did the night before. I don’t believe this is the primary purpose and intention of this ancient art form. It is about something much more visceral and crucial and urgent.
What type of theatre most excites you?
Telling stories that have never been told – in ways that are rarely used.
What starts a play moving in your imagination?
It always begins with disconnected but searing images that float in and out of my consciousness. There is initially no perceptible logic behind these images. I have learned to pay attention when these images come. I believe in the story needing to be told, longing to be brought into being. Salomé began with the Dead Sea. I was there at the critical time when we were deciding what project I was going to choose for this commission. And she was in front of me: The vast silence of the desert; the lethal calm of the Dead Sea – the undrinkable ocean.
WOMEN’S VOICES THEATER FESTIVAL
October 6 – November 8, 2015
Shakespeare Theatre Company
450 7th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Details and Tickets
Do you have a favorite writing place?
When I am not traveling, I’m always in the same café – Club Sociale in Montreal. I have to be somewhere noisy so that it gets quiet inside. If I’m somewhere too silent, it gets chaotic inside.
What female playwrights have influenced your writing and how?
I’m not so inspired by gender specific creators – but rather but what they create.
What’s missing from theatre today?
A lack of regard for profitability and pleasing. If he who pays the piper calls the tune, it is unlikely to be a theatre that seeks to challenge or provoke. And that is what theatre – in its ancient mandate – is called to do.
What are you working on now?
Salomé. Salomé. Salomé. I admire creators who can work on multiple projects at a time – but I can’t be married to more than one person at a time. Theatre is devotional and rather obsessive for me. It’s a surrendering to the process, and giving all my focus to what is evolving. Being a mother already requires each creative process to walk alongside another devotional mandate. There is always a competing agenda when one is both an artist and a mother, but both focuses expand my capacity in the other. That’s not to say I am not dreaming up or committing to other projects as I work. One has to keep many plates spinning. But until I begin the new works waiting for me – I attend to them with a series of necessary anticipatory decisions and then I get back to the business at hand. I know no other way to do it. I cannot have two dreams at the same time.
Answer this: “If I weren’t a playwright / director, I would be … “
Holding my breath.