lMahayana Landowne - Theater Director

My goal as director is to inspire imaginative flights of possibility.

Through my work an audience can enter into the passion and precision of a script. I am drawn to complicated, poetic texts that outline an elegant progression, in which the language is specific and defines characters whose actions express their humanity. I find these qualities in contemporary plays and enjoy reclaiming classical texts. Once a script is selected, careful attention, intelligence and a discerning eye help shape a viable reality. By being selective about which details to animate I express my unique vision and create the atmosphere through set, lighting, sound, costume.

A physical “stage picture” is the infrastructure supporting a poetic narrative sense that links to modern/magic realism. This is demonstrated in my 1998 production of Chekhov’s The Seagull. The scripted setting is lake-side. In my production on the Yale Repertory stage I placed all the action on a mirrored lake-like surface with a periphery of branchless trees disappearing into the vaulted theater. In addition to beautiful lighting effects this choice was meant to emphasize the thrill of floating and flying and the uncertainty of transience and flux. The intense emotion at the end of the act III dining room scene was accentuated by this setting. Using the tablecloth, Trigorin pulled Nina across a 24-foot table as it sank into the floor, as if into the lake.

In becoming a professional director I trained as an actor. I am intimate with and appreciative of the actor’s process. When first exploring a text I allow the ensemble to interpret the script organically. I pay attention and support their choices and ideas. My sincere interest in learning from my cast helps create a trusting environment in which my collaborators feel empowered. This approach inspires a powerful authenticity, which honors the playwright and invigorates the ensemble.

With character development in the hands of the actor, I concentrate exacting influence over staging of action and objects. I exploit the physical relationships of actor to actor, actor to environment, actor to audience. My visual sensibility seeks to create a dynamic, which underscores themes and emotions. I believe in the power of communicating both tension and harmony through juxtaposition.

By expressing my aesthetic, applying my process, and leading a team of talented conspirators, I seek to provide audiences with an engaging transformative experience. Theater has the power to connect to our deepest element, to celebrate humanity and find hope in shared experience. I want to continue to make theater that provides a vehicle, which explores our darkest urges, and most graceful acts of humility; to present a challenge and meet that challenge with dignity and strength. My mission is to create three-dimensional poetry that is vivid, visceral, and necessary. With the right combination of intelligence, risk-taking, emotion and trust I seek to provide a forum for transcendence. Audience and ensemble alike can soar, reaching a heightened awareness of their inherent humanity.



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