Unreal Nature

October 27, 2018

The Image of Themselves That Has Hardened

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:49 am

… On the occasions that it is possible to penetrate this shell, it is like smashing the picture on a television set.

This is from The Empty Space by Peter Brook (1968):

… actors, once launched, have nothing whatsoever to help them to develop their talents. If this is seen most alarmingly in the commercial theatre, the same applies to permanent companies. After he reaches a certain position the actor does no more homework. Take a young actor, unformed, undeveloped, but bursting with talent, full of latent possibilities.

[line break added] Quite rapidly he discovers what he can do, and, after mastering his initial difficulties, with a bit of luck he may find himself in the enviable position of having a job which he loves, doing it well while getting paid and admired at the same time. If he is to develop, the next stage must be to go beyond his apparent range and to begin to explore what really comes hard. But no one has time for this sort of problem.

[line break added] His friends are little use, his parents are unlikely to know much about his art, and his agent, who may be well-meaning and intelligent, is not there to guide him past good offers of good parts toward a vague something else that would be even better. Building a career and artistic development do not necessarily go hand in hand; often the actor, as his career grows, begins to turn in work that gets more and more similar.

… Time after time I have worked with actors who, after the usual preamble that they ‘put themselves in my hands,’ are tragically incapable, however hard they try, of laying down for one brief instant even in rehearsal the image of themselves that has hardened round an inner emptiness. On the occasions that it is possible to penetrate this shell, it is like smashing the picture on a television set.

My previous post from Brook’s book is here.

-Julie

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