The director's main task is to find meaning in the text and convey that meaning to the audience. The art of the director is to radically re-interpret the classic text in order to make it relevant for a contemporary audience. Adjudicate between these two different positions with reference to the work of two major theatre directors.
The director has become a very important part of a theatre performance. This has not always been the case. In the early years of theatre the director was seen chiefly as a manager, they were there to organise a performance and overlook the development of the play. The director's job was to focus on `the management' of a production to keep it moving forward. But this was soon to change, on May 1, 1874 the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen displayed a different direction style, which would go a long way to changing the role of the director forever. The Duke, on this date did not become the significant figure a director now is. His ideas helped to develop the role of the director who would soon become the fundamental factor to the success of a performance. The Duke's initiative allowed him to be more involved in the piece. Cole and Chinoy expressed the impact of the Duke on a performance in their book Directors on Directing.
"He was the artistic creator of each production. He designed the sets and costumes, but he went further and designed every movement and every position on stage."
The development of the director was a gradual process but each new director in the nineteenth and twentieth century contributed to the emergence of the director as the artistic creator of each show.
Is the role of the director to convey meaning from the text and to convey that meaning to an audience? Or is the art of the director to radically re-interpret the classic text in order to make it relevant for a contemporary audience? The role of the director has been debated throughout history and many directors have taken different approaches to interpreting a script and creating a piece of theatre. These differences that famous directors have encountered have caused many problems and debates, questioning what the role of the director really is. An example of a director's vision on how a script should be turned into a theatrical success was Konstantin Stanislavsky's adaptation of 3 Anton Chekhov plays: The Seagull, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. Stanislavsky had ideas on directing that he had developed during his career in theatre, these ideas had become his conventions and were common in his plays. These values and conventions not only influenced the way in which he constructed a performance but also influenced the way Stanislavsky's interpreted a script. He focused on finding and conveying meaning in the texts and did not radically re-interpret the scripts to make it relevant to a contemporary audience. He followed the scripts but throughout his career it was thought that his weakness was in his interpretation of the text....