The first female director of the Royal Theatre Company in England, Di Trevis masterfully directed a frothy comedy ” Twelfth Night ” by William Shakespeare comedy that plays at the Theatre Municipal ” Tony Bulandra ” of Targoviste.
We asked the lady director Di Trevis give us an exclusive interview to the Oficial Media, to bring before the special people who are present in the cultural life of the town of Targoviste , people who give of themselves to grow and beautify these places, but also the hearts of those who live here .
To learn more we invite you to a small dialog with director and woman Di Trevis.
Oficial Media: How were the years as an actress?
Di Trevis: I had a wonderful time as an actress. I really enjoyed acting very, very much and for 3 years I was in a permanent company, a bit like this company in Targoviste and I loved it. But when I had to make my move from there to London and the big stages in London and auditions for big American films and that world, then I began to not like the life of an actress I suppose to the acting. The life of an actress was very nerve wracking for me and I felt terribly the need to be pleasing and pretty and thin.
OM: Do you feel a nostalgia for that period?
DT:Not a nostalgia in the sense that I wish to do it again, but I did love acting. And I get very moved when I see pictures of the theatre where I worked. And sometimes when I see an old film or something with me in it, it makes me a bit emotional let’s say. But not nostalgia, I don’t miss acting at all.
OM: How did the collaboration with Royal Shakespeare Company start?
DT: Well, they were very interested in me. From the moment I became a director, because they knew me as an actress. And then they took an interest in the work I did in my first year as a director. And they offered me a job very quickly after my first year as a director. They offered me a job as an assistant, but I didn’t want to be an assistant. And so there was a wait. They thought that I would be very happy to be an assistant, but they didn’t know that I had a man behind me who was looking after me financially so I can make decisions only professionally, not financially. So then, they became more understanding of what I needed and I did a very short assistantship. Then they offered me a company of my own, very quickly. Within two years of being a director I was offered a company of BRSE. So that was very nice. I did “Taming of the Shrew” and I did “Happy end” by Bertolt Brecht which it’s a lovely musical set in Chicago. That’s how it began.
OM: What can you tell us about your workshops?
DT: My workshops, they are a very interesting part of my life, of my work. For a long time I didn’t teach. You know, in England it’s very difficult to be taken seriously if you’re first of all an actress, then a director. They really think either you’re one thing or another thing. So for me, I stopped teaching for a long time, because I wanted to be taken seriously as a director. But when I finally had a big success in the theatre and I was very well established, a group of actors came to me and asked me if I would do workshops. And so it started. And I have my own workshops in London which are for professional actors. And they come for six consecutive weeks, one day a week and we study a particular subject, whether is Greek tragedy, high comedy, post Shakespearean writing, you know, all kind of things. And over the years I taught a lot of very, very good actors in these workshops. And I find the workshops very interesting, because I learned as much as everybody else. It’s not high rock in that sense. And I do workshops all over the world really. I’ve done them in Australia, France, Austria, Germany, Romania and all over America, Cuba, the Middle East, Palestine. So that part of my work is really important for me. And I am a director at the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, Palestine which is a refugee camp for the Palestinians. It’s a very famous refugee camp, because they fought these railers and they kept them out of the camp for something like 17 days, a bit like the Warsaw ghetto fighters. This is a very, very incredible experience to work and teach young Palestinians about Shakespeare and acting.
OM: Where do you get your inspiration from?
DT: Well, I don’t know that. I mean when I’m thinking of a project now- I’m going to do a project here next year- and I read a bit and I let myself think about it in a very loose and easy way. And my main inspiration comes in the rehearsal. It’s really from the actors. So I’m not one of those directors who come with lots of ideas, I don’t like that. I’d much rather develop my ideas with my actors. I’m not a conceptual director at all. In fact, I hate that. In fact, I could make a generalization and say I love and detest most German theatre, because of that, I hate saying a director’s ideas are not seeing the director be humble with the play. The play is the thing, not the director.
OM: How did you feel in Romania?
DT: It’s always quite difficult to go to a new society and to work in another language. In a way Romania is lucky, because my life in Middle East has been so odd. Well, even though now I know some Arabic and everything, at least in Romania there isn’t an occupying on me and night raids and bullets and everything. I feel a great fellow feeling for the Romania as a society, because of the incredible trauma the society has been through, you know, and is still going through of course. But I feel that the artist is strong so that is a very, very important part of a culture. So some parts of the Romanian experience have been hideous. I mean the black sea for me has been the most hideous experience. It was awful. Like capitalism gone mad and I hate the excessive capitalism as much as I hate the excessive of communism. You see all that in the present situation. But what really matters in a society of the people out there is that the actors are wonderful all the world over, they are wonderful. So I’ve been very happy here in this theatre, very happy. But of course my feelings about Romania are very mixed, like the Romanians feelings about Romania.
OM: What do you say about the Romanian people and the public from our theatre?
DT: What do you say about any people, really. Well, I’ve had very good experiences with Romanian people, but the Romanian people I’ve mostly met have been in the theatre. So theatre people are wonderful the world over. Somebody did try and charge me 200 lei for a metre of material at a fabric yesterday. I wasn’t very pleased about that. That was rather a surprise. He said, “You’ve got to buy it, I’ve cut it” and I said “ Well, I’m not buying it, that’s it.” 200 lei for a metre of material it’s really ridiculous, don’t you think so? But that kind of thing is because people has been so poor and they think tourists are stupid you know, but that happens all over the world. I mean that happens in Cairo, it happens in London. That’s nothing to do with Romania.
It’s spectacular that theater in Targoviste have a popularity very high. I like that very much. I think it is a specific society in Eastern Europe . I am pleased to note that many people who come to this theater are young .
OM: What do you think the audience will feel about the play?
DT: I have no idea. I only know what it does with me. I don’t have a “try and guess” what the audience is going to feel. I only say “Does it make me feel something?” I think it’s a wonderful play, I think it’s a very complex play, because it’s very funny, but it has a sort of a great tragic. And like all the best works of Shakespeare, it’s about many things: it’s about gender, it’s about loss, it’s about life, it’s about death, it’s about delirium, it’s about ambition, sexuality; it’s about so many things. And I think probably the audience just think it’s a laugh and it has a nice dance at the end. But the language it’s absolutely wonderful. You know, Shakespeare is never about the story, it’s only about the language and how the story is told.
OM: Will you come back in Romania if you have the occasion?
DT: Yes, absolutely yes. Yes, yes, yes. Indeed I’ll come here. Nowadays I don’t think in terms of a career. I just think in terms of what I want to do and if I enjoy a theatre then I’ll work in it. It’s as simple as that, so I will comeback if I can.
We thank Ms. director Di Trevis for confessions and beautiful thoughts that we gave them and hopefully Targoviste gave him the most revealing moments of inspiration and will be a landmark on the cultural map of the cities they will visit the throughout his career.
Translation: Roxana Iordache