Pamela Carter (who is writing Wild Boy) and I have spent the last two weeks taking part in the Edinburgh International Festival and National Theatre of Scotland's joint Summer School. As part of this, we have been seeing lots of theatre (some inspiring, some less so) and meeting other practitioners. For the last three days we have a had an amazing experience taking part in a workshop with Lee Breuer and Maude Mitchell from Mabou Mines. Anyone who saw the extraordinary DollHouse at the Festival two years ago (a production which Lee directed and in which Maude played Nora) will know that they are theatremakers of great vision and skill.
Along with 10 other practitioners (directors and writers), we each presented a piece of work which Lee and Maude then critiqued and discussed. Pamela worked on a scene from her new play (which she will be directing at the Traverse early next year) and I worked on a scene from George Kaufman and Edna Ferber's play Dinner at Eight.
What was wonderful was the care and skill which Lee and Maude brought to the process - respectful, generous and insightful, they were able to help us to look differently at our work. Lee is not only a hugely experienced director with a great practical knowledge of dealing with the stage and text, but also has a deep understanding of the theory and history of theatre. At the end of each shwoing he would immediately come up with two or three nuggets of why some things worked, why some didn't and what needed to be thought about.
All of us came away from the experience with enormous respect for both Maude and Lee and the feeling that we had all learned things that would affect our future work (not always the experience you have at workshops).
On Wednesday we're going to see Peter and Wendy, Lee's adaptation of Peter Pan.
If you want to find out more about Mabou Mines, their website is at http://www.maboumines.org/