Emotional Intoxication or Apathetic Emotional Petrification?
Emotional or Non-Emotional Theories?
An Article written mostly from the point of view of an actor/performer, not from a spectatorship perspective.
As actors and human beings, many times we examine our personal underscore, so organic, when creating new characters, and behind each action, big or small. What can we find at the root of each character? How healthy or unhealthy are those discoveries about our artistry and ourselves?
As an actor I am still growing… growing up… very unstable… quite dysfunctional sometimes… jumping up and down, from one mood to another. I also enjoy the drama. I am sometimes, willy-nilly, searching for it. Eugene Ionesco, Romanian-French playwright and representative of his ‘Theatre of Derision’ was saying: ‘Living is abnormal’(theatrical). Are we nowadays dependent on this or seldom going there? Does this dependency have unhealthy demands? Also, is he suggesting that life is a good lesson for: ‘Drama [which] lies in extreme exaggeration of feelings, an exaggeration that dislocates flat everyday reality.’
According to Sarah Bernhardt, one of the most famous French actresses, to be a good actor you must have ‘strong passions… shaken by anger, of living in every sense of the world…’.
In my opinion, each actor and its creation of characters are equal to the next one and receive an equal attention regardless of the importance to the story or number of lines. We are all actors and the Shakespearian world is a stage concept is familiar to everyone. We are all actors who relate to one another.
In the acting rooms of performing and discovery, we sit next to our fellow actors who can be performing a priest, a doctor, a cleaner, a wife etc. But who are we really sitting next to? In a society where our value appears to be measured in finances, or looks (all famous Hollywood actors have the identical template of skinny faces and bodies, with eight percent body fat), or the power status, on stage we are sitting next to another human being, still dedicated to their job as actors and undergoing to its character; with so many coatings, it is hard not to find that we all have the same many layers of feelings, thoughts, insecurities and fears etc. Therefore on stage, while performing, the mind is quietened, we are all on equal foot and no one makes decisions for the others. It is only the character and that is a reason of celebration. Putting on a show, drama is a human experiment and in one way or another, we are all going through it, out of love and understanding. Similar to others I didn’t inherit whatever art or knowledge from my family; but indeed it was supported.
Success in artistic industry shouldn’t be dependent on fame, power status or ‘just having the face’, it should depend on the mastery by which you, the actor and the character manage to camouflage to all the layers and share them together and still be in control. It becomes a meta-experience, with a meta inner peace, strength and hope into a Meta Theatre and Stage.
Having in mind an ideal world, with an ideal theatre and Arts Industry, thinking of Antonin Artaud and his famous method of Theatre of Cruelty which is ‘calling for actors burning at the stakes, laughing at the flames’, as a human being and actor, I am choosing a controlled in betweenness, leaving behind the intoxication and petrification, but choosing the subtlety, the flexibility of my own range of emotions, laughing, screaming, crying together, making sure that we are always checking in with the touch base, myself.