I don’t only read acting books, even though people who know me best, know as a fact, that reading acting books is my main source of daily entertainment (yes I am boring) hey, I do other stuff too, you know…stuff that involves mostly uh… fuck it…reading.
So to make a dull announcement even duller, I also read art books and non-fiction books…dull, dull and dull…so we’ve established that my entertainment is mostly reading — and repetitiveness — but the ultimate form of entertainment is reading about stuff that has nothing to do with our art and conceptualizing something about them and from them, about our art form, the most mysterious of all arts….acting.
Yes I know that solving crossword puzzles while taking a shit sounds more exciting than my everyday endeavours, but trust me, I would still do the same thing with a crossword puzzle, find five letters across and think about acting
So, my dear friends, I was reading something quite interesting…something that teachers who teach at “fine art schools” do, to make students see things a bit differently…
They draw two parallel horizontal lines, and then ask students “how many lines are there?”
The obvious answer is “two professor -eye-rolling — boy what an idiot, he just drew the damn lines…”
But the correct answer is three :
The first line. Then the line, or negative space formulated by the two drawn lines, and then the second line, See?
That got me thinking, that most of the time when we talk about acting or technique we try to investigate and express whatever is already drawn and visible, but we don’t necessarily talk about, negative space…
Ok, let me try this again because your dead eyes scare me…..
In the science of ecology, there is a term…
“the edge effect”
and even though the term “edge” kind of resembles what I do during the weekends in the privacy of my closet with a rope around my neck …
What the scientists mean here is that in nature we have distinct edges created by flora and fauna. For example, at the edge where the savanna ends and the forest begins, the flora (plants) and the fauna (animal life ) have distinct preferences between them and what their habitat will be, it is a survival thing….
Every now and then, a rogue and rebellious flora (or fauna) will put the adventure cap on and explore the gap between savanna and forest. The negative space….the gap is where the edge is, the gap is very very important because that's where new species are born, that is also where new ideas are born in art.
So back to acting, the two lines that will create our negative space are two distinct and different techniques, or two opposite ideas in a technique (a lot of those ) without the duality you can’t have a third entity, between those two different environments — or philosophies — if you like, is the gap…and that gap is what we have been calling in class (or at least I have, much to your dismay ) “hybrid”
You see, my fellow adventurers nothing new comes by recycling the same old shit, with the same old shit, recycling is like my favourite weekend activity,
- the autoerotic stuff in the closet — is a sterile, unproductive and dangerous activity.
(I know, I know, the masturbatory jokes are getting a bit too much, but give me a chance to “finish”….pun intended)
You see it's all about genetics right ?…
You needed a mom and a dad to create you…and oh how glad we are to have you here with us, you are something new and exciting, but a friendly reminder: all we are is a “wonderful new combination.”
All art is like that. A Combination….as they say, no parthenogenesis….
Stanislavsky knew it, and Michael Chekhov knew it ( Rudolf Steiner combined with Stanislavski s concepts created something new). Meisner’s ideas come from a combination of Strasberg — Stanislavski — Adler and his musical education. They all knew it, but unfortunately when something gets fixed…when something gets set, it gets institutionalized and that’s instant artistic rigor - mortis (stiffening of a dead body )
Remember Stanislavsky cry ?
“Create your own method. Don’t depend slavishly on mine. Makeup something that will work for you! But keep breaking traditions, I beg you.”
Let’s keep on breaking traditions this year….after all, nothing comes from nothing… and as I keep on telling you nature hates a vacuum …nothing lives there,…ok only tardigrades… but they hold their breath for a very, very long time….
So about the mono-technique school or actor….
Just a few days ago I read on an Instagram post from a prominent Meisner school
“Now we know…this technique…THIS IS IT!”
First of all,
Why not all these years before?
But hey Who am I to judge?
The now suggests that you had the chance to try all the techniques out there, you had a double-blind test of actors and techniques and NOW after years of research, we reached a final verdict!
Nah, I don’t think so.
It also suggests that you weren’t very sure all these years, you had questions, and it was a very good place to be as an actor, as a teacher.
But why the change of heart darling?
Well, I guess they answer the riddle with what comes next, and this part is what bothers me the most, the arrogance of “we know […] THIS IS IT”.
Done, fixed, don’t look any further. Problem solved sir!
When you replace a question mark with an exclamation mark what you get is fucking product placement. when you remove the question mark out of an actor and replace it with an exclamation mark what you get is a celebrity.
So that’s it. No more questions. Nothing to explore? Are we done here?
Let it be known that the Last traceable moment of “acting — technique” exploration can “now” officially be carbon dated in the form of an exercise somewhere between the 1958–59 period at fox studios.
Ok then…” stop the presses”, never mind Lee, don’t you dare look at Uta and most of all fuck that woo-woo supernatural prick, Chekhov…
Well, my answer (yelled in my best Monty Pythonian accent) is this :
“oh fuck off”
NEVER EVER GIVE UP
NEVER EVER STAY STILL
ALWAYS HAVE QUESTIONS.
ART IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE OF ITS TIME!
ACTING IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE OF ITS TIME!
TECHNIQUE IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE OF ITS TIME!
Love and respect
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