The theatre, to me, needs to feel accidental. Things accidentally come together in a beautiful way, spiralling uncontrollably towards an inevitable end. In that way, the theatre is a sudden congregation of serendipitous events.
Ironically, the creation of that world is one of absolute precision. But what gives that world life is the power of choice. The question lies in whether or not the actor-creator can exercise the power of conscious choice to validate the form.
This does not mean accepting every single direction as it is, because rejection is in itself a choice. But to be able to take a particular movement or line beyond the threshold of the external, and into the personal, requires a deep investigation of the self in relation to the world around it. Then we can arrive at truth.
This dilemma of truth is one that I see is widespread amongst our actor-training cultures. What is truth in performance?
Can we see it?
Can we feel it?
Problem is, the truth is not always comfortable. But like all of life, it is fleeting. So the discomfort does not last long. However, in modern society, we shy away from the discomfort, choosing instead to remain in comfortable truth. We must learn to meet it, recognize it, and transcend it to not only be better actors, but better human beings.
The strength and fortitude that comes with this culture of admittance, catalyzed by choice, is what prevents the human race from falling into disarray.
Too many actors nowadays are glorified, breathing puppets. Going where they are told because they are told. This cuts the possibilities of life down tenfold. It is made worse by the justification of said passivity through technique and institutionalized ideas of what truth is and how to arrive at it.
To see the actor for what he/she can be, a musician in an orchestra of life, we must choose to accept life as it is for all of its pitfalls and ecstasy-inducing beauty.
Because real, conscious ugliness is more galvanising than fabricated, unconscious beauty.
5toMidnight is an international network of theatre companies with branches in Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. We focus on regular, contemporary actor-training and intercultural exchange for the creation of new work. If you would like to learn more about and support our efforts, visit https://igg.me/at/5toMidnight and be a part of the 5toMidnight experience!