StoneCrabs Young Directors, 12 Days of Directors: Day 5-Jennifer

Jennifer is a graduate of The Oxford School of Drama.

What’s your favourite theme of your play?
Identity

What’s your favourite “Knock Knock” joke?
This is my favourite joke at the moment:
What do you call a dinosaur with no eyes?
Shut up.

Why did you want to become a director?
I fell completely in love with theatre as a kid and always wanted to be an actor, so I did that and I love it. I’ve always sat in rehearsals thinking bigger picture though. By that I mean I would always think about how the show was coming together and how we could work towards making it better. I wasn’t just thinking about my part so I guess I always thought I’d become a director eventually.I wanted experience of being an actor and making theatre from that perspective so I could understand how actors work. The theatre which is most successful (in my eyes) is that where the actors are really playing with each other and working together as an ensemble. That’s my goal. To facilitate actors to be the best they can be and use that to serve the play in the best way possible. It’s a big goal!

What’s your favourite hideaway you’ve found in London?
The London Particular/LP Bar. Their chocolate olive oil cake with earl grey ganache is pretty much the best chocolate cake ever.

What’s your favourite play you’ve seen recently?
Ivo van Hove’s A View from the Bridge at the Young Vic was incredible. I’m excited that it’s coming back next year. I’m going again. You probably book a ticket. I also really enjoyed Belvoir St’s The Wild Duck at the Barbican and Here Lies Love at the National.

Tell us about your play in 3 sentences.
Being Norwegian is a play about identity, the chemistry of first encounters and the possibility we might all just be Norwegian after all. It’s incredibly funny at times and pretty dark at others. ‘We Norwegians think people who are happy are perhaps just a little bit above themselves, don’t you?’

How do you start with a text?
Read it several times over. Get it read aloud.

How do you feel that your background influences your take on theatre?
Hugely. I never did theatre studies or drama at school and my parents have ‘normal’ jobs (Mum was a teacher and Dad a materials scientist), so I tend to come at theatre from a slightly different angle because I don’t have any preconceived academic notions of how it should be. I just know what I like and what works in the room from practical experience. I think that’s quite liberating. Of course, it means I make mistakes, but isn’t that how we learn?

What are you up to at the minute?
Right now, I’m answering this questionnaire. More broadly, juggling working 9-5 to pay my bills, fundraising for Gobstoppers & working on the production side of things. I’m also making a short film later this month so working on the logistics for that. I basically have no life.

Do any of the characters in the play remind you of someone you know?
People I’ve met, yes, but not people who are friends.

What’s your favourite dinosaur?
Tyrannosaurus

Would you rather spend the rest of your life in one room but all the food you could ever eat, or be able to go anywhere but never eat again?
Eating. Always eating.

Dogs or cats?
Totally cats

Favourite thing about home?
Peace and quiet.

Who’s a director you aspire to be like?
Thomas Ostermeier

Tea or coffee?
Tea. All the tea.

What’s your drink?
In the winter, a nice porter. Summer, a negroni.

What do you hope for the future?
To rule the world.

What’s a current topic you feel very strongly about?
Lack of diversity in theatre and the media at large. I’m a huge supporter of the Act for Change project (www.act-for-change.com), which is campaigning to improve diversity in Film, Television and Theatre in terms of ethnic background, gender and disability. It’s so important that young people have the opportunity to see people like them on stage and screen and that really isn’t happening enough at the moment.

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