Unreal Nature

January 12, 2019

The Slyest of Devils

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:39 am

… He is always ready to slip invisibly into an action, a gesture or a sentence.

This is from The Open Door: Thoughts on Acting and Theatre by Peter Brook (1993):

… The theater is perhaps one of the most difficult arts, for three connections must be accomplished simultaneously and in perfect harmony: links between the actor and his inner life, his partners and the audience.

First, the actor must be in a deep, secret relationship with his most intimate sources of meaning. The great storytellers I’ve seen in teahouses in Afghanistan and Iran recall ancient myths with much joy, but also with inner gravity. At every moment they open themselves to their audiences, not to please them, but to share with them the qualities of a sacred text.

[line break added] In India, the great storytellers who tell the Mahabharata in the temples never lose contact with the grandeur of the myth that they are in the process of reliving. They have an ear turned inwards as well as outwards. This is as it should be for every true actor. It means being in two worlds at the same time.

[ … ]

… The greatest guiding principle I know of in my work, the one to which I always pay the most attention, is boredom. In the theater, boredom, like the slyest of devils, can appear at any moment. The slightest thing and he jumps on you, he’s waiting and he’s voracious. He is always ready to slip invisibly into an action, a gesture or a sentence.

[line break added] Once one knows this, all one needs is to trust one’s own built-in capacity to be bored and use this as a reference, knowing that it is what one has in common with all the beings on Earth. It’s extraordinary; if during a rehearsal or an exercise I say to myself, “If I’m bored, there must be a reason for it,” then, out of desperation, I have to look for the reason. So I give myself a jolt and out comes a new idea — which jolts the other person, who jolts me back. As soon as boredom appears, it is like a flashing red light.

My previous post from Brook’s book is here.

-Julie

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