Interviews To be a director: Rob Murray

To be a director: Rob Murray

The road is busy. Cars roar past us. Across from the NGK Hall on Hill Street, director Rob Murray speaks softly, drawing imaginary lines on the table.

He is about to prepare for a performance of Waterline. His other play, Piet se Optelgoed, had its opening performance earlier in the morning. As a director of two shows this Festival, and a past in Ubom!, (a part-time, non-profit theatre company) Murray has a lot to say about the art of directing.

“I’ve always been fascinated by stories and people,” he says. “But particularly in how that happens in a nonverbal way – body language, how people share spaces and the little stories that start developing between them.”

With an eye for the secret lives of human interactions, Murray develops his observations in unconventional ways.

“I’m more drawn to alternative forms of theatre,” he says. “It’s about starting with nothing and getting the right group of people together, finding out their common interests and putting them on the same level playing ground. Then just guide them.”

Directing seems to be Murray’s natural occupation. He speaks fluidly about his life as a director. Although a gentle and calm man, his fervour for directing and theatre is clear through his personal anecdotes. The more excited about a particular topic he gets, the faster his hands move and the deeper his gaze.

For Murray, there’s a trick to theatre-making, taught to him by British theatre-maker Adam Benjamin. “He said that one of the things about being a theatre-maker is to realise that there are good ideas the whole time, and the trick is to just grab them out of the air,” he says, pinching an imaginary idea in front of him. “Then you just need to have the balls to see it through to the end of the idea.”
With award-winning shows like Piet se Optelgoed and Crazy In Love, it’s obvious that Murray sees his ideas far past the imaginary lines he draws.

Leah Solomon
Cue student reporter

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