Q&A with Michael Kirch

Michael Kirch is directing a new play, Laced, created by up-and-comer Lee van der Merwe.

Q1: Give us a brief plot teaser for the show.

It’s hard to say! Its partly a love story between a man and a woman. It’s partly a “film noir” type crime story between a detective and a femme fatale prime suspect. And its partly the story of a mind coming unhinged, a blurring reality and dreamscape, or present and past, of truth and fiction, and the distinction between gift and illness.

Q2: How did you become involved in this project?

I met Lee van der Merwe when she was working on this project as a graduation piece from CAPA. I offered her the time to rework and refine the piece if she ever wanted to take it further. She rose to the opportunity and we cast Jared Musiker as her support. That all happened in January, and a few weeks later we were ready to go on at Alexander Upstairs Theatre!

Q3: What drew you to the work?

Lee is a mesmerising performer, who is trained in dance and acting. I wanted to find a partner for her with whom we could create a beautiful performance outside of the script, something that involves the body, but is not quite dance. A physical expression, which is not quite physical theatre. Jared was the perfect match, and they have a wonderful working rapport. Together the have sculpted this piece into what is is now.

Q4: As a director, what is your process? Do you think it is influenced by being a trained actor yourself?

Absolutely. My directorial approach has always been “actors first”. The actor arrives with a set of ideas, with a box of tools, with a wealth of their own information that can inform the work of the production. Too much directing in the early phases can suffocate all that wealth, and letting the actors play and mine their own minerals can conversely enlighten and nourish that process. The key is finding the right time to stop delving and when to start sculpting. Hopefully by that time there is enough trust in the process to know when it’s ok to let go and let the play take its own form. When this balance is achieved, the work seems almost effortless.

Laced is showing at the Alexander Bar Theatre until 18 Feb. You can book here.

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