Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Holographic Self

The most childish aspect of being an actor is not, to me, the pretending, the playing, on stage.  It's the waiting around for someone to give me a job that's childish.  Most actors go to auditions hoping to please someone enough to be allowed to come into the theater everyday to 'do their thing' without regard for the practical, backstage machinery of theater making.  Who wants to tear tickets, hang lights, tack up posters, raise money, form a 501c, articulate a mission, or work a day job?  Maybe I slander "most actors" by claiming they don't, but I don't slander myself, because I don't.

But that may turn out to be a whining attitude I can't afford.  I need to hitch myself more selflessly to an artistic mission, one which I've largely, but-not-quite-definitively articulated for myself.  In rough summary it's this:
"do theater that restocks the imaginative and moral resources of the individual self"
which is in a quite different mode of thinking than many contemporary theater practitioners engage in, while aiming at similar end goals.  It shares in the concerns of both political theater and mainstream, 'canonical' theater.  Though, it differs sharply from the goals of post-modernist theater--best expressed by Ontological Hysterical Theatre--which begin from the assumption that 'the individual self' is a dangerous illusion.  I agree that the self is an illusion.  I also agree that it's a dangerous one--I truly do--but I also believe it's all we've got.  It's the necessary metaphysical fiction that's our only pathway to seeing beyond it, to God, to science, to dialectical materialism, to an uncivil atheism--to where-ever one ends up.  The 'self' needs to be well stocked and active so that it may see past it's own illusory holographic presence.  It must be capable of experiencing itself so that it can see past itself.  It must dream, laugh, suffer, and empathize as richly and articulately as possible.  It must relish it's myths and passions rather than ratiocinate around them, as Ontological Hysterical would have it do. The self must imagine and desire and be 'caught up' in artistic worlds as much as possible so that it has something to distance itself from when in the hands of a Brecht (distancing ourselves from emotions we don't feel is not what I think Brecht had in mind!)

I need to remember this is what I believe in while I search out my own way in theater.

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