Take a chair
I was recently reading a Michael Billington essay on whom he considers Britain’s best theater director. Billington plumps for Howard Davies, though he does name others:
For some, the director is increasingly seen as an auteur on continental lines: a role currently fulfilled by Katie Mitchell, Simon McBurney and Emma Rice. For others, the director is judged by the ability to realise a written text: something done to perfection by Max Stafford-Clark, Peter Gill, Ian Rickson and many more. Then again, there are horses for courses: Michael Boyd and Greg Doran for Shakespeare, Trevor Nunn for musicals. There is also an extraordinary tribe of young directors, spearheaded by Rupert Goold, Rufus Norris and Dominic Cooke, who combine daring visual concepts with detailed attention to text. And, if you judge a director by the ability to shape events, you have to mention Jude Kelly and, pre-eminently, Peter Hall, who created the RSC and defined the National Theatre as we know it today. Hall is, in fact, the principal architect of postwar British theatre.
I set myself the same challenge, relegated to our nation. Embarrassingly, the first names that sprung to mind weren’t American at all (Ivo van Hove, Declan Donnellan, Peter Brook, Ingmar Bergman) and the next series were directors affiliated with a particular company (Liz LeCompte, Richard Foreman). So I’m a bit stumped. Who do you reckon is the best American director for hire?