Sometimes you encounter a piece of theatre which seems to shine with its own light, theatre which reaches out into the darkness of the auditorium and gently holds you, slips its fingers under your skin and doesn’t let go for a very long time afterwards. It was March 2012, and Rita Kalnejais’ Babyteeth was playing in Belvoir’s Upstairs theatre; billed as “a mad, gorgeous, bittersweet comedy about how good it is not to be dead yet,” it was filled with a warmth, a big-heartedness, and an almost-visible hum, and was – still is – one of the most beautiful new plays I’ve ever seen.
Babyteeth was directed by Eamon Flack, Belvoir’s Associate Director – New Projects. I don’t make a secret of being a strong admirer of his work as a director, in particular his work at Belvoir. Following his recent appointment as Belvoir’s new artistic director from 2016, I sat down with Flack at the beginning of the year for what became an in-depth discussion about the classics, dramatic and historical context, his intentions as incoming artistic director, and about the need for compassion.