Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

I’m David Hilder, and what really excites me in the theater is genuine wit and intelligence. That doesn’t mean I’m looking to recreate Noël Coward and Philip Barry (though I love their writing), but it does mean I respond to writing with both muscle and élan. I believe strongly in earned sentiment, as opposed to sentimentality. I love the laugh of the unexpected line, and the unexpected line reading. My favorite works of theater offer rich detail, well-crafted stories, and characters I can believe, believe in, and root for.

I’m extremely comfortable writing comedy, but also enjoy crafting more serious pieces. I have a great ear for the music of a piece (whatever form it may take) – the rhythm, the flow, the emotional and linguistic carriage of scenes and their arc into a whole. My imagination is highly visual, so as I write a play I often see pictures, some of which are useful for collaborating with production teams, others of which help me clarify moments. It’s always helpful in terms of working with directors; often if I have a question about the physicality of a moment, the answer leads to greater insight into the meat of the play itself.

I believe in a rehearsal process that is filled with laughter and good spirits. Even if the piece is serious (perhaps especially if it is), I believe the path to getting the very best out of a team is to create a buoyant atmosphere of positivity and optimism. It’s about putting people in a position to succeed, and setting them free to do so themselves. While the director is the leader in the rehearsal room, I take seriously my own responsibility to create a healthy atmosphere to the best of my ability

I’m really excited by work that cannot be replicated on a screen of any kind – immediate, theatrical work like Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses or Theatre de Complicité’s stunning Mnemonic of several years back. I find, though, that in an effort to create that kind of work, many writers seem to be focusing on elliptical pieces that are more about a theme or an idea than they are about characters in situations dealing with the work of living. Certainly not everything has to be naturalistic – far from it. But I do worry that the prevailing aesthetic of a lot of new plays is long on brain but short on feeling. I want to be moved in the theater, to laughter, to tears – and to thought, too, but not at the expense of emotional vivacity.

And that’s me. I’m grateful you’ve taken the time to read this. Thanks so much.