MICHAEL WEST, with director Annie Ryan, has adapted Dubliners by James Joyce, for The Corn Exchange and Dublin Theatre Festival. It runs at the Gaiety Theatre until Sunday
What is the best production you have worked on? The best show is the next one, because you haven’t ruined it yet. The first couple of weeks of dreaming and wondering are like the beginning of a love affair before it turns into hard work and all the other pleasures of a serious relationship.
And the worst? The ones that never get made.
What is the best production you have been to? This year, The House in The Abbey. Ever? Street of Crocodiles by Complicité, or Gatz by Elevator Repair Service. I still find myself laughing at Stop Calling Me Vernon by Right Size which I saw about 15 years ago in Edinburgh.
What one show are you looking forward to in the Dublin Theatre Festival? I’m going to see as many as I can, but probably White at The Ark and The Sun Also Rises by Elevator Repair Service.
Opening night – terrific or torture? Usually a bit of both, but as a writer there’s nothing you can do other than be grateful.
And critics? While there are a few lunatics with appalling taste, I think most critics are fair-minded and passionate about theatre. God knows they see more of it than most makers and are often in a better position to make comparisons and put shows in context.
Anyway, if you make a show, the first thing is to be seen. After that you want to engage people – keep their interest and reward their attention. To be liked is not something you have control of and is no more useful a goal in theatre than in any other area of social life.
Your practice should respect the intelligence and sensibilities of everyone you come into contact with, both your colleagues in the room and your audience wherever you find them. Everything else flows from that. The most miraculous thing about theatre is still the free assembly of independently-minded peers who believe for a couple of hours that anything might happen. That’s something worth writing about – and for.
What one thing would you say to an aspiring artist at the start of their career? If someone is an aspiring artist then they’ve proved themselves immune to advice. Besides, there is no career.
Finally, the pitch: why should someone come and see your show at the DTF? Joyce’s stories of Dublin are still relevant, extraordinary portraits of what it’s like to be from here. We think they will shock and surprise you both on the page and on the stage.