Interview with MA Director Julia Levai

We caught up with graduating MA Directing student Julia Levai to talk about her production of The Prince of Homburg and her time at LAMDA.

The Prince of Homburg runs on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 September in The Carne Studio Theatre. Book tickets here.

Tell us a bit more about your play. What appealed to you about this story?

I’m reworking a German classical play which is all about trying to deal with life when the politics around us become chaotic. It’s a really beautiful, dark and funny piece which when reading I just instantly connected to and thought ‘Yes, I think I could make this work to speak to an audience of today’.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Take risks and dare to fail. And also, I know this might sound less profound, but have been just as influential on me; “At the end of the day it’s just a play – so what’s the point if you don’t enjoy it?”

Why did you want to become a Director? 

I love the way theatre allows a group of people to come together to try and make sense about what’s happening around us through exploring and playing. I never really felt comfortable acting, so once I realised you can be part of it without having to go on stage, directing became the thing I wanted to do.

What are 5 things you’ve learnt during your time at LAMDA?

  1. Breathing & feeling the ground
  2. Listening is your most important tool
  3. Be interested, not interesting
  4. You can’t prepare too much, but always be flexible to adapt your plans
  5. Directing can get lonely – make friends with your directing peers! They are your best teachers, critics and friends.

How would you describe your rehearsal process?

I usually work out the broad ideas that hold a piece together with a designer before hand so when I start rehearsing I tend to have an idea where the production might go, but then all the details are filled in and created in collaboration with the actors. I love the feeling of figuring out how we can tell the story the best with the actors and all the creative so it’s always an explorative process of trial & error.

What has been your biggest influence?

A range of things really. I’ve been hugely influenced by Eastern European theatre as that’s what I grew up on so a lot of radical, heavily visual & political work. But recently I’ve been finding works of creative collaborations which are challenging form and tradition really inspiring such as Ella Hickson, Natalie Abrahami & sound designers, Ben & Max Ringham’s work on Anna or Katie Mitchell, Chloe Lamford, and Alice Birch’s production of Ophelia Zimmers.