There is a Star Wars “spin-off” (yeah I know, there are many spin-offs; Star Wars is merchandise, after all).
However one of the not-so-crappy ones was “The Mandalorian.” In a sense, it is an American space western that follows Din Djarin aka “Mando”, a lone Mandalorian bounty hunter who resembles Clint Eastwood, in the outer reaches of the galaxy.
Djarin is hired to retrieve the child Grogu (a tiny tiny green cute Yoda). Mandalorians are a multi-species warrior clan who adhere to the tenets of the Mandalorian.
These warriors have rituals…they have a code, they are trained from early on, they always wear a helmet — a very smelly helmet — never allowed to take it off in public, but most importantly, they have this AMAZING catchphrase…
Whenever they are about to execute. a mission or something unbelievably dangerous and insane they say to each other, “this is the way.”
I became fixated with the show (tiny Grogu sooo cute) and inevitably the phrase “this is the way” kind of stuck into my mind!
These days I can’t stop thinking of a “space troupe” of actors somewhere in a distant galaxy, wearing post-apocalyptic clothes, going around the star systems playing different intergalactic playwrights and plays like “Waiting for Godot at planet 2347668" or “the three ewok sisters”. The troupe gathers backstage and just before their curtain call,they. whisper to each other, “this is the way…oh, and break a leg darling.”
As I was daydreaming, the “this is the way” motto formed a question: what is the damn way?
Because sure as hell I know that there isn’t a technique that is the ONE way!
It might be A way but not THE way!
There is no technique that can become the way… there is no method that is the way… there is no system… because it is impossible.
There are myriad playwrights, myriad ways of thinking, myriad idiosyncrasies, myriad directors, and again, sure as hell, whenever someone calls something a technique, a system, or a method, what they have tried to create is a “closed” circuit of ideas and exercises that are based on a compartmentalizing Stanislavskian notion.
Now, there is no technique, method, or system that can be THE way… but can there be a “school” OF THE WAY? A code ?
A school, you say? Yes, there is this Russian guy (a student a protégé but also an adviser of Stanislavsky ) who never called his “thing” method, system, or technique, instead he called it. a school! Why did he do so?
Well, a school is never a “closed” system.
Hmm, school…from Latin, “schola” means “meeting place for teachers and students, place of instruction”… and listen to this… from Greek “skholē” means “spare time, leisure, rest, ease; that in which leisure is employed.”
-Rest and ease!
-Why, isn’t that funny?
(Funny because that was also cultivated by Michael Chekhov, the second Russian genius who understands that “EASE” is a prerequisite)
If the technique or method is something that dissipates “ease” or “calm” , then yeah, it’s not a school, it’s just a closed system that cultivates “one way” but not “THE way.”
“The way” is a philosophy, not a line carved on a stone, “the way” is a way of thinking, a way of living, a way of approaching your art!
-Art, you say?
Not everything is art. Every painting is not art…ALL music is not art, all acting is not art!
For acting to become art it needs to take on the imaginative, creative qualities, and then it becomes art! Through technique, you might master a few things, through method, you might cultivate some qualities, but you will never ever “master your art!”
You will only master the technicalities of your art.
Art itself cannot be taught and what cannot be taught cannot be mastered, we serve our art, we must never try to make it serve us…and to serve, you need a school, not a technique, a method, or a system!
➖To serve is the way.
➖To cultivate ease is the way.
➖To have a school is the way.
➖To be open to ideas is the way.
➖To be curious is the way.
➖To have questions is the way.
Answers lead to technicalities, and questions might lead to art!
“That seems to be the way.”
My space troupe would be a troupe of jolly space actors, backstage they would be enthusiastic about playing at the famous Calamari galactic theatre, they would get ready, and right before one stepped on stage they would look at each other and whisper “This is the way” and the there would always be a reply to complete the motto “school is the way” then some giggles would follow and then some stage fun would occur…thus Art!