One of the main reasons why I decided to study Theatre was to one day become a director. As soon as I started directing one-act plays in fringe venues in South Korea and China I realized that not only the director must understand about everything to give directions, just like a conductor must know how to play many different instruments, but that he also must come to terms with that ‘je ne sais quoi’ that he must possess in order to succeed, to be memorable. Director Di Trevis names it ‘Kwoth’:
“Decide to become a director, choose a play, read the play, cast some actors, rehearse the actors, move them in a designed space and light them, find some music to fill up the bits where scenes change, show the play in front of other people… There you are! That is directing. And then there is the Kwoth…” (Di Trevis, Being a Director)
The ‘Kwoth’ varies among directors just like it varies among writers, actors, well, really every profession in the world. It is about having that magic aura, about recognizing and grabbing that moment that appeared out of nowhere and that won’t linger for too long, it is about learning to see life and its tasks as journey, not as a destination.
Some aspects on directing can be learned by studying revolutionary directing personalities of the past, by watching contemporary professionals at work or by listening to a professor, but the little that I understood about this profession until now is that it cannot be properly taught. Each director will develop his or her style otherwise it would be just a copy, or in the best-case scenario, a collage of bits and pieces from that one and from that one.
It is with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for the topic (it sounds cliché, I know) that I signed up for the task. I feel that I might never find a voice that speaks for me, which can be good or a disaster, but I now understand that directing is not about fluidity, but about bumps (an information that shook my world literally) and it is with this information in the back of my head that I will be approaching staging techniques, scripts, well, pretty much everything related to directorial decisions.
Studying past directors is admirable and essential not only for general culture, but most importantly for the understanding of where theatre stands today. I believe that this is what the ‘Kwoth’ relates to so much so closely. It is that positive energy that everything is possible and most importantly, making others believe it, too. The director interprets and shows the way and is the first one to step on a journey that nobody knows for sure where it will end; and that is what I shall do.
Luciana B. Veit