George Tabori’s Unique Approach to Working with Actors

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George Tabori’s Unique Approach to Working with Actors

Writer and director George Tabori is best known for his contributions to the world of theater. Throughout his illustrious career, he developed a distinctive approach to working with actors, emphasizing collaboration, experimentation, and a deep understanding of human nature. His experiences, particularly during his time in America, shaped Tabori’s views on how actors should work out a role, resulting in a unique and inspiring method of directing.

Having been influenced by renowned theater practitioners such as Brecht and Beckett, Tabori firmly believed that the actor’s craft was rooted in intense collaboration. He believed in creating a safe and supportive environment, allowing actors to fully explore their characters and push their boundaries. Rather than prescribing every move or line, Tabori encouraged his actors to bring their own interpretations and experiences into their performances.

Tabori’s time in America played a significant role in shaping his approach to working with actors. He left Europe during World War II and found refuge in the United States, where he was exposed to the innovative styles of American theater. This exposure broadened his horizons and expanded his perspective on the theatrical process.

In America, Tabori encountered directors such as Elia Kazan and Joshua Logan, who emphasized naturalistic acting and psychology-based character development. This exposure to American theater, combined with his European roots, created a fusion of styles that influenced Tabori’s later work. He developed a versatile directing approach that drew on both the emotional depths of psychology and the political theatricality of his European background.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Tabori’s way of directing was his ability to create a safe space for actors to take risks. He encouraged actors to become co-authors of their characters, allowing them the freedom to try new ideas and make bold choices. By fostering an environment of trust and open dialogue, Tabori empowered actors to embrace their creativity fully.

Tabori firmly believed in the collaborative nature of theater, where actors, directors, and writers work together to bring a production to life. He valued the knowledge and insights actors possessed and encouraged them to actively contribute to interpreting a character. This collaborative spirit often resulted in a visceral and multi-dimensional portrayal that transcended traditional boundaries.

Moreover, Tabori’s unique style of directing was rooted in his exploration of the human condition. He delved into complex psychological and socio-political themes, challenging actors to confront the depths of their characters’ emotions and motivations. By encouraging actors to delve into the nuances of human behavior, Tabori sought to create performances that resonated with audiences on a profound emotional level.

In conclusion, collaboration, experimentation, and a deep understanding of human nature characterized George Tabori’s work with actors. Influenced by his time in America and Europe, Tabori developed a distinctive approach to directing that fostered creativity and trust among his actors. His emphasis on collaborative interpretation and exploration of the human condition allowed for the creation of thought-provoking and emotionally charged performances that continue to inspire audiences today.

George Tabori – Wikipedia

George Tabori, a life in theatre – Guardian Theatre blog Stage by Kate Connolly

“Empathy for the Entire Spectrum of Selves and Others”: George Tabori’s Humanism – Published online by Cambridge University Press