(en) Interview Ask A Director – Horia Suru

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Bacau, Romania

Where are you now?

Bucharest, Romania

What’s your current project?

I am currently working on a new piece by Mike Bartlett called COCK at ACT Theatre in Bucharest which will open in February 2014. At the same time I am the assistant director at the Odeon Theatre for two very different performances, a contemporary Spanish play called AGAINST DEMOCRACY at the Studio Hall and a classic Romanian play.

Why and how did you get into theatre?

It is quite a funny story actually. I had been playing football growing up for about 9 years and then when I was 14 I was forced to stop my career due to back problems. My sister took me to a Youth Theatre Group to take me out of the house and cheer me up and that was that. By the end of high school it had become clear to me that there was really one career choice for me and that was in the performing arts.

What is your directing dream project? 

I guess the easy answer would be the project that I am currently working on. This is always the project that doesn’t let me sleep, that is most important to me at a particular time until it is finished and I begin working on something else. And so on… It may also have to do something with the fact that I do not have a plan for say, the next 10 years, where I have everything set and established and all that is left to do would be to go and try to sell producers my ideas.

Most of the time I am commissioned for a certain play and I am in no position at the moment to refuse work. I need to be able to adapt to everything rather than wait for the dream producer or the dream cast or the dream theatre or whatever.

I try to make every project the one that I dream about at night after I come home from rehearsals. But at this particular moment in my career what is most important to me is to work, to have rehearsals to go to. When I stay home all day- that is the time that brings the bad-bad dreams.

What kind of theatre excites you?

I don’t know really. I still want to experience, see and work on very different things before I can answer that question. Or before I, or anybody else, can define my style as a theatre director.

I like a theatre that is strongly visual as much as the theatre that is actor based. I think it is important to me to feel very strongly about the story that I am working on more than the way I approach the work itself. Ideally I would like to go back and forth between what is, let’s say big-budget productions and smaller independent ones. I want to do everything 🙂

What do you want to change about theatre today? 

I don’t want to get into the really important, but really complicated regulatory matters of the system- financial, legal, political and cultural policies that regulate the performing arts systems in any country, and are responsible for much of what’s going wrong. So I will say the schools.

The theatre we have today is a result of how the schooling system works. I am disappointed in some of the teachers, their attitude towards their own jobs, the classes, the structure, everything. If you ask most theatre professionals in Romania today, most would probably say they never really learned much in school.

I think we need better quality people in this business. Kinder, more compassionate, more honest, more brave. Otherwise what everybody does in their rehearsal room it’s their own stuff.

What is your opinion on getting a directing MFA? 

At some point I truly believed that it was imperative for a theatre director to also have the educational experience of the MFA. Then I realized that what moves you forward is actually only working in the field. The MFA gives you safety I think, buys you time… Extra time before you have to enter the jungle, where every decision counts and every small step is important for your career… when you no longer have time to think everything through, or to explore enough when you must deliver.

Now I think that everything you need to learn in school as a director would fit in a 20min course. After that you just need to do it and ask the questions yourself. Answers will come in time if you are lucky enough to work.

Who are your theatrical heroes? 

There is one person I know whom I greatly admire and look up to and that is my class teacher and mentor, actor and professor Miklos Bacs, from which I have learned everything about theatre and more so, I have learned the love for it all. His own respect for the art and the people is inspiring and I learned that this whole thing is not really about yourself. And when you are young, that is something quite hard to remember.

Any advice for directors just starting out? 

Go to the theatre and see as many shows as possible.

Try to find out as much as you can about your actors. Get to know them. Love them. Talk to them. It’s so much more important than your ideas or your plays or your anything. And if you must impress someone try first to impress yourself.


Check out www.horiasuru.ro for info an all my upcoming projects — including updates on COCK by Mike Bartlett opening in February at ACT Theatre Bucharest.

Also check out LSD THEATRE SHOW by Christopher Durang produced by Doctor’s Studio & Godot Theatre running till July at Godot. For schedule check out www.godotcafeteatru.ro and www.facebook.com/LsdTheatreShow

Trailer here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFHT2rO5YN8

Thanks, Hannah Wolf!