Spatz, Ben (2010) This Extraordinary Power: Authority, Submission, and Freedom in the Actor-Director Relationship. Ecumenica, 3 (2). pp. 43-61.
Abstract

In her study of acting Shakespeare, Kirsten Hastrup finds what “seems to be an inherent tension in the director’s role in relation to the players, between reciprocity and authority” (214). Citing artists from Harley Granville-Barker to Laurence Olivier and Simon Callow, Hastrup points out the “thin edge” that directors walk “between authority and authoritarian attitudes” (215). “What is at stake” in this crucial difference “is a measure of reciprocity in the development of the play, replacing the feeling of hierarchy.” In the same text, Hastrup quotes contemporary director Declan Donnellan, who carefully distinguishes the role of director from that of teacher and compares directing instead to what a coach does for an athlete (216). John Gielgud, on the other hand, draws attention to that which “the director cannot contribute, but the players can”—that is, the actual living event of the performance (219). Hastrup concludes: “The authority of the director is always weighed against this extraordinary power of the player.” ...

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