||[Aug. 28th, 2004|03:34 pm]
15:11 says my computer clock and I'm still in my Pj's! Hoorah! Score!|
I really need to start writing my platform. If I'm doing it in the first cycle then it really needs to be started like NOW! I have ideas, a few, but nothing that really grabs me, you know sort of makes me want to write it enough to write it. Did I sign up for a creative writing degree or an acting degree?
All my ideas seem to spring from filmic charcters like i'm cosidering a monologue from Clementine (Eternal sunshine) with time skips and repetition and philisophical wonderings on the erasure of love but I kind of feel like its too stolen, like I should be more original and come up with a completely new idea of my own (if a completely new idea is possible I don't know). But we are also supposed to express a theatrical opinion within our performance and I have lots of those but how am I supposed to convert them to actual theatre. Maybe it'll help if I list my opinions about theatre.
1-Theatre should change peoples views on something or at least make them question themselves and their own views in however small a way.
2-You cannot play someone entirely different and unknown to yourself, you can only present on the stage a part of yourself and your own personality becuase you can NEVER get inside another persons head.
Therefore, any theatrical work you has to be about yorself for it to ring true(write what you know)
3-Politically theatre could be a strong tool if it wasn't for the fact that the people who have power don't go to the theatre unless its west end big bash, get in the money, make everyone go wow and leave the theatre feeling really good about themselves, theatre.
4-Theatre should be beautiful and theatrical. Theres no point in pretending your not in a theatre becuase that means you can't use the devices that make theatre different from real life and to attempt to create real life on stage is an impossible and unimaginative task.
5- There should be an element of spontenaity in all theatre, somethign happening in front of peoples eyes rather then just repeated.
I could go on but I won't becuase this could take a while plus I've had a few new ideas in the writing of that already.
OK I'm an outsider but thought I'd get involved in a discussion anyway.
I'm just thinking out loud here, these are not neccesarily my views just my instictive reactions...
1) I know what you mean and I do think good theatre has a tendancy to do that but am hesitant at considering it a prerequisite. A lot of good (and great) theatre has I would say made me question my own views but it didn't come across as a defining or indeed important part of that work, just a by product - some things were just beautiful and I think beauty for beauty's sake is allowable.
Secondly, i find the moral or artistic standpoints of certian plays reasonably repugnant but think them great theatre. This could be said to be because their standpoint forces me to question and therefore reafirm my own view point but I don't think this is the case. Plays that confirm my own moral superiority irritate me.
For example I love Strindberg. I adore Miss Julie. In all honesty though I find that it is a fairly misogynistic play. But I don't think the misogyny is an issue, I don't find myself arguing with it I just realign my views to accept it within the concept of the plays world and then realign them back at the end. I wouldn't say my own views had been questioned or changed in the process. If you know what I mean...I'm not entirely sure I do...
2) Surely this would only apply to naturalistic acting processes. Certain schools of thought would not care in what way you related to being the character you're playing. You're not required to identify thought processes but rather present something within a certain context. I as a 25 year old male could play an old lady as long as I knew the function she had within the work. A lot of good theatre has worked by making a point of this seperation between "role" and person playing the role.
When it comes to naturalistic acting I would agree, though find that it is almost impossible to find a role that it is not possible to identify with. Indeed the point of most naturalistic acting proceses is to find this connection. If I were playing a man from russia grieving over his dead father, although those things are foreign to me I'd find some small point of connection and then expand it through research and the like.
Research was almost always my favourite thing whilst acting. I enjoyed trying to find the differences between myself and those I was playing, trying to find a different perspective on the world - though it's a given that the point of connection I found at the beginning would through this process act as an anchor to everything else.
3) Yep absoloutely. Though one can't ignore that in democraticaly elected countries swaying the public's point of view on an issue is important. Though Theatre's usefulness in this regard is in question as it's not a tool of mass communication. This is good and bad - less interference but less impact.
4)100% agree. For me this is the only cardinal rule of the theatre.
5) Again spot on. It's the whole point of live performance - something that is repeated is dead.
Like I said just thinking out loud. Please ignore my apalling spelling and grammar. I wish I had an excuse for them but it's just a matter of stupidity and impatience
Hey! Finally someone to actually debate with! (Istead of most of the actors that I work with who don't actually seem to ahve any opinionsa on theatre or if they do they keep pretty quiet about it.
1- I think this first point is more directed at the spectator rather than the theatre itself. I mean if you go to watch a piece of theatre, and you come out exactly the same person, having assimilated nothing/ learnt nothing from the piece of theatre then whats the point in going to see it in the first place?
You'll argue that some theatre is worth seeing just for aesthetic value and I'd agree, but that doesnt mean that nothing has changed in you, it might be something as simple as a feeling of 'wow' and rememebering it for its beauty, still soemthing has changed. Well not neccesarily changed as grown? But then again even the worst theatre gives you something if not the feeling of anger at how shit one thing can actually be so maybe my initial point is pointless becuase every experience effects you in some way. Yes so possibly arguement null and void there.
2-Yes although I didnt say it I think I meant naturalism (I'm against elements of the Stanislavskian school of thought and that is, I think what I was trying to say) Also favouring the idea of a persona rather than a character in a performance related arena.
3,4 and 5- I'm glad you agree.
Tell me some of your general opinions on theatre?
I'm interested in your differentiation between persona and character within the performance space and why you favour the former. I'm not quite sure where I stand on the issue. Is the actor always more important than the character? i guess it's an issue of writer versus performer, and whether the performer has a duty to fufil the writer's wishes to the best of their ability or whether they have the right to demonstrate their own artistry.
I think there's good arguments on both sides. I read a transcript of a speech by Ingmar Bergman that influenced me greatly. Where he claims that early churches were the height of achievment largely because the artisans involved remained anonymous, they built for the glory of god - the result was God's work not that of man. In comparrison modern ideas of art and theatre were tainted by ego and an artists desire to imprint his/her identity upon them. He tars himself with that self same brush and I'm not sure I can agree entirely but I respect the sentiment. I can respect therefore the idea that an actor is a voice piece or a marionette. But I'm torn.
As for my own opinions on theatre, I find it hard to summarise......
For a long while I've neglected traditional theatre, believing it to be too tied to literature (spot the artuad fan). I was generally of the opinion that written words were for books, t´heatre was about visuals and movements and visceral experience. I've tempered these opinions somewhat and have made an effort to watch more straight theatre. There is a line that sepereates what I would consider the performance of literature and genuine performance. Like all good lines though it is constantly blurred and transgressed.
I'm very much in agreement with Tim Etchells (Forced Entertainments) observation that it is more interseting in theatre to see a smoke machine than it is to see the convincing illusion of a smoky street. I like the manner in which they reveal the seams and stop short of trying to convince you that you are seeing something you are not. Theatre is not an illusion of reality it is by it's nature false and imperfect. It is this that it has over films, where naturalistic design and effects are almost obligatory (Dogville is a noteable exception).
Imagination on the part of the audience and the performer is a prerequisite. An audience member should be required to make an effort in the theatre. Like a book works better without pictures cause the reader is required to complete the authors vision, so theatre works better when it does not serve everything up on a plate - the audience member is required to participate.
I was once part of an English language theatre group in Stockholm - writing and doing some acting but left after serious artistic disagreements. This was largely centered around an argument we had regarding the apearence of a boat on stage. I believed that the gift of theatre is that a table on stage can be accepted as a boat if the actors make the audience believe it is. Indeed I think it is the theatre's perogative to do such. Draw the audience into complex imaginary situations through a play of make believe. The director was of the opinion that Theatre should be as spectacular as possible and everything should be done to create a believable version of the boat as possible.
Shit fire alarm went off I'll carry on later
Pk still alive.
realised how much I'm blabbering.
Basically I've little interest in theatre as spectacle.
Theatre that provokes an empty wow feels meaningless. A "wow" response isn't totaly invalid but it feels there should be something more complex involved. I'm thinking of Complicite here who invariably create beautiful inherintly theatrical images on the stage from the most mundane of objects. Actors turning into a bridge, a chair into a dying man, books into birds. Far more spectacular and moving than the bangs, flashes and helicopters of a west end musical.
Off the top of my head that's all the rambling I can come up with....
I'm taking the idea of the 'death of the author' in that the second he puts his pen to paper he is no longer communicating himself exactly. He is translating his thougths into words and as soon as a company of people pick up that script it no longer belongs to him it belongs to them and it is what they make of it not what he intended it to be at all. The actor is not more important than character it is just that he is more real, as the character is only a structure that he has created. I don't see the actor as a 'voice piece', as he is not only speaking for someone else. He cannot be. Otherwise the work would be completely depthless if he was only communicating the author and in no tiny respect himself, none of it would ring true and would be impossible.
I like what you said about the churches, the idea that the artists were anonymous becuase it meant that people could look upon the work and create there own meanings without being told what to think, or why they were created. That very much reflects the idea of 'post-modern' theatre in that it is not important to communicate exactly what the meaning behind the piece is but what the audience creates from the piece, how they put it together and what it means to them.
I agree with everything you said after the word 'summarise'. I agree with the idea of the 'wow' concept in that an empty one isn't always enough as it doesnt last, but one with something notable behind it, a message, or an idea, or a lesson, and yes of couse an actor iturning himself into something is much more 'wow' than just seeing it in reality as you can do that every day and in theatre who wants to see the everyday?