“Different Every Night” Director Mike Alfreds

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The work and process of director Mike Alfreds, as outlined in his book “Different Every Night” is essential for actors and directors for several reasons:

Emphasis on imagination:

Alfreds places a paramount importance on the actor’s imagination and inventive contribution. He believes actors should avoid limiting themselves to a fixed interpretation or performance and strive for freshness in each moment. This approach encourages actors to fully engage their imaginations, which leads to more nuanced and emotionally rich performances.

Embracing the unknown:

Alfreds encourages actors to embrace uncertainty and the unpredictable nature of live performances. By relinquishing control over predetermined actions or choices, actors become more responsive and adaptable to the ever-changing dynamics of a performance. This mindset helps actors stay present and facilitates a deeper connection between their fellow performers and the audience.

Exploration of possibilities:

The book guides actors through a series of exercises and techniques that encourage them to explore a wide range of possibilities in their performances. Alfreds emphasizes that no two performances should be the same, allowing actors to discover new nuances, subtleties, and interpretations of their characters. This process of continuous exploration prevents actors from falling into repetitive patterns.

Collaborative approach:

Rather than imposing his own vision on the actors, Alfreds promotes a collaborative environment where actors actively contribute their ideas. This approach fosters a sense of ownership and investment in the performance, enabling actors to feel more connected to their characters and the story. By cultivating a spirit of collaboration, Alfreds encourages actors to take risks, make bold choices, and fully commit to their work.

Holistic approach:

Alfreds takes a holistic approach to theater and acting. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the entire play, including the context, themes, and relationships between characters. This comprehensive understanding allows actors to make more informed choices and create performances that are grounded in a deeper understanding of the work.

“Different Every Night” is crucial for actors as it empowers them to be creatively free, impulsive, and genuine, resulting in more vibrant, captivating, and honest performances.

Online Workshops with Mike Alfreds

Series of interviews with Mike Alfreds himself and actors, actresses and collaborators by Peter Thomson

Michelle Williams, Mark Rylance, Patsy Rodenburg and many more.

Books by Mike Alfreds: “Different Every Night”, “Then What Happens”, “What Actors Do”


Summary – a few first steps of analysis:

1. Analyse the structure of the play, its organisation of space and time, and how it moves.

For a more comprehensive understanding, we recommend reading “Different Every Night”

2. Create a list of all the unquestionable facts regarding a certain character A.

The Character: A

Write out (don’t do this with a computer) 4 lists:

1. Facts about the character:

  • These facts, established by the author/playwright/scriptwriter, pertain to the character’s backstory, relationships, appearance, and the major actions they perform during the play. It is crucial to avoid conjectures, guesses, opinions, emotional descriptions, value judgments, or feelings. Instead of labeling someone as angry, nasty, or clever, focus on describing observable behaviors such as frequent temper loss, quick-thinking abilities, or cold treatment towards others. Identifying repeated patterns of behavior is also beneficial. Keep such facts active.

2. What the Character Say about A.

  • Anything in which she uses I, me, my.. even innocuous phrases like ‘I think’.

3. What the Character Says about Other People

  • Both to their faces and behind their backs; also about characters who may not
    appear in the play if that occurs.

4. What Other Characters Say about A

  • Both to her face and behind her back.