Q&A With All’s Well Director Nike Doukas
By A Noise Within
January 21, 2022
Meet Nike Doukas (she/her), Director of All’s Well That Ends Well, as she talks about her work as a director and about Shakespeare’s play!
What is your role as the Director?
I see the director’s job most importantly as the person who guides the story. I’m there to make sure the dynamics of the play are working: is the arc of the story clear? What is the main event of each scene? Where is the crisis in the story, where is the resolution? Are the relationships and how they develop vividly portrayed? Can we take bigger risks, or should a particular moment be a quieter one? Then, during technical rehearsals, I’m responsible for making sure that the technical elements support the actors and the story we’re trying to tell. For example, do we need a sound cue there, or is that moment better in silence? Finally, the audience arrives, and I’ll sit in the theatre and try and gauge if all the work we’ve done is landing, or if, during previews, we need to adjust to make the experience even better.
How do you approach the script as a Director?
It varies from play to play. With All’s Well (and really with every play I direct or act in), I read the play as many times as I possibly can. I’ve directed this play before, but I’m still making new discoveries as I read it. I’m also influenced by the actors playing the roles. I’m thinking a lot about how the physical space will work: because the set won’t be realistic, but suggestive, I’m trying to imagine how we can make clear all the various locations with what elements we do have in place. I’m thinking about the themes of the play and how we make them clear, where they show up. I really try to arrive at any rehearsal feeling as if I have a fairly specific understanding of what the play is about, what it will look like, and how the story will progress; and then a lot of that gets thrown out the window as the play and the actors teach me things I don’t know!
Why this play right now?
When Geoff and Julia, the Co-Artistic Directors of A Noise Within, spoke to me about directing, this was the first play I had in mind. I talked to them about the journey from dark to light, from despair to hope, from the need to escape to the need to embrace. All’s Well is a play that deals with the loss of loved ones and impending death and demonstrates that even within the sadness of loss, joy and hope can permeate our lives. It explores how we influence each other for good or evil. After the time we’ve been through, it seems very relevant.
Who is your favorite character in the play and why?
Oh my goodness, here’s how I have to answer that question: I love Helen’s tenacity and loopy hope. I love Bertram’s insistence on leading his own life. I love the King’s heart and vulnerability. I love the Countess’ sense of mischief and her fiery temperament. I love Paroles’ unfettered imagination. I love Lafeu’s principled mind. I love the Dumaine brothers’ kindness, loyalty, and diplomacy. I love the Widow’s joie de vivre. I love Diana’s gutsiness and how game she is. I love Lavatch the Clown’s unflinching honesty, and I love Rinalda’s romanticism. I love the rest of the characters, too! Shakespeare, as always, creates this huge cast of personalities that bounce off each other, and he keeps creating new dynamics between them that never fail to delight or horrify. It’s one of the ways he most impresses me: he’s able to keep so many balls spinning in the air.