March 24, 2005

What is the Actor, Anyway?

You’ve got three articles to read for next week. In your blog posting I’d like you to reflect on your own experience—whether that be acting yourself, watching a performance, participating in a class acting exercise, or even being a person in everyday life (we’ve all done that!)—and identify in each of the three articles whether the main concerns of the writer align with your experience or not. If you identify with the description of the actor’s craft and the actor’s project, what is a specific moment you can point to which illustrates this approach? If a particular perspective seems foreign to your experience, why is this? What do each of these articles contribute to your process of thinking through your own experiences, both in the theatre and in everyday life?

Things to think about while reading:

-in each of the three articles, keep in mind that these ideas are by and large being articulated for the first time by these authors. Each author is suggesting that theatre and performance can and should be thought about DIFFERENTLY than what came before.

-the excerpts from An Actor Prepares by Stanislavski are his way of making a point through a fictionalized account. The story is told from the point of view of a student, but the voice of Stanislavski probably comes through the strongest in that of the Director, Tortsov. How does Stanislavski negotiate the paradox mentioned in the previous article, and suggest that his ‘students’ do in response to the paradox?

-Jerzy Grotowski is probably the foremost figure in Polish theatre and his ‘poor theatre’ has served as a model for theatres worldwide, including, to a certain extent, the work of the X. He is concerned with the actor not as a tool of the theatre but as a person who hones his craft through a process of what he calls ‘distillation’. How he defines the ‘craft’ of the actor is quite distinct from the way Stanislavski defines it—pay attention especially to the opposition in their approaches to the way the space of the theatre looks as a metaphor for their acting priorities.

Posted by glove006 at March 24, 2005 10:37 AM