through conscious means we reach the subcounscious

August 4, 2012

“In order to express a most delicate and largely subconscious life it is necessary to have control of an unusually responsive, excellently prepared vocal and physical apparatus. This apparatus must be ready instantly and exactly to reproduce most delicate and all but intangible feelings with great sensitiveness.” – Stanislavski, An actor prepares.

In life, you can’t go just on what people say. Instead, you have to figure them out by paying attention to what cannot be expressed without being cheapened, what they cannot help but betray. In a spectacle, an actor must say what they mean, they must demonstrate, positively, what they mean to express, in order precisely to feel it and live it out utterly.

Ought it not be the other way around? That we should be dull and the illusionist a mystery? At the very least should we not mean what we do?

This inversion is not so far fetched. After all, the actor identifies with the character as it comes together from the literature and study just as the spectator identifies with the character as it is embodied by the actor. The spectator is already doing half the work, albeit not as consciously, or boldly expressed. And what is better suited to preventing theatricality and cliché than reality itself. Well perhaps this is not true. Or rather, perhaps it is a goal for anyone aspiring to agency that reality and fiction in their lives be clearly distinguished, or at least that a habit be formed to punctuate action along these lines.


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