The Director


The Director

The director is on his way to an interview
rehearsing in his head the words he prepared so diligently
in front of the mirror
theatre for me is like an accident in reverse
we bring our scars with us into the space
and turn them back into action
and pain
he wears his hair neatly parted to one side
and his shirt sleeves folded to the elbow
he’s a genius
someone once told you
not as praise exactly
but more as a justification
his work is so humane
so compassionate
as if evidence of compassion is compassion enough
in rehearsals he watches you
with practiced intensity
it is the same softly insistent stare
that he hopes will illustrate the magazine article
when it is finally published
leaning forward in his chair
head down
eyes up
legs apart
arms resting on his thighs
fingers casually entwined
the same look he gave the journalist over lunch on the canal-side
If Shakespeare were alive today he wouldn’t be working with me at the National Theatre
he would be a grime artist
or a professional wrestler

She is flirting with him
he thinks
and though she is less attractive in real life than on google images
he would probably still fuck her
he thinks about ordering a glass of wine with lunch
running down his forearm is a tattoo that reads
the jungle is dark but full of diamonds
but lately he is not so sure about it
he is not so sure about a lot of things
the hotel room was close to the theatre
a camera set up
the furniture all pushed to the sides
I am interested in truth
and truth doesn’t happen without a certain amount of suffering
his hands whirr animatedly as he talks
about truth
and Thomas Ostermeier
and Kamasi Washington
and the folly of Brexit
and for the briefest of seconds
one of them brushes her knee
she recoils almost imperceptibly
it was an accident
he almost says
and he believes it too be true
he does not order wine
after lunch he decides to walk back to the theatre
rehearsing once again what was said
turning over each interaction
like someone looking for their keys
the sky is pebble grey
it is colder than he realised
and he doesn’t have a jacket.



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