It’s a hard life being a director. Yes, there’s the shining glory and the sense of intellectual accomplishment; the applause and the adulatory praise; the proud face of your adoring mother. However, on the other hand, there’s rehearsals. The hell of trying to synchronize the movements of ten filthy actors, so self-obsessed they think they’re doing you a favour just by turning up, is only just offset by the looming thought of the crippling embarrassment when, on the night, it all goes hideously, hideously wrong. In all honesty, however, the majority of rehearsals are probably a waste of time. Let’s face it, the cast are not going to know their lines for at least the first two-thirds of them. And true thespianism cannot be achieved with a script in one hand, a coke in the other and the incessant, jarring chant of “Sorry, where am I supposed to be?” And after all that, the actors get more attention than you anyway.
The job is not without its perks, however; there’s a certain creepy allure to all that power. Not only do you have the actors’ lithe, agile bodies at your directorial disposal, you also – assuming you’ve got any degree of talent – have the audience’s hearts and minds in the palm of your hand. Equally, you have the whole canon of English theatrical literature to choose from, in your attempt to toy with the public’s feeble minds. Then there’s the scores of attractive young nymphs desperate to sleep their way to the top… and that’s just the boys. Such a path surely only appeals to those unable to eek out a decent living as a smalltime dictator?
Nevertheless, everybody knows that writing is where the real action’s at. Only when one has dabbled in the manipulation of the immortal word can one truly call oneself a master. However, just to make all us laymen feel really inadequate, some go so far as to combine all three aspects of the beautiful game, in making a name for themselves as both actor, director and playwright. It can be done successfully, and indeed, it has been by such legends as Harold Pinter, Shakespeare, and of course, George Clooney. In contrast to the average Oxford director, they’ve got it all: the lithe bodies, the absolute power, the train of exquisite muses and on top of all that, the tumultuous love lives only associated with true genius. So if you’re an unfulfilled director, desperately trying to sell more tickets for your latest show, do yourself a favour: join them, write your own magnum opus and play the leading lady yourself.