method *

View from the Stage

AUDIENCE: BIRTH OF ACTOR

"If Stanislavsky said that the soul of the theatre was the actor, then Meyerhold's formula was: `The actor plus the spectator.'" [1]

"The mirror in the case of the actor is the audience." Piscator[2]

Audience? What could be more easy top understand? We all are spectators. All the time...

And this is a problem. That's the reason why we have such a difficult time noticing ourselves. To understand the nature of Public is to discover how Theatre works.

"Actors should be overheard, not listened to, and the audience is fifty percent of the performance." -- Shirley Booth

Any experienced actor knows it too well. I know it -- I'm a director. I direct actors only for one single purpose -- they have to direct the public. Public is their material. The final stage of drama, the experience of the show takes place over there. Does Audience perform? Each spectator does.

There's a moment when Theatre begins. "Empty Space" -- said Peter Brook. The watched space isn't empty. It's full of energy. Actors gave a name for this feeling of stepping in this "empty space" -- "stage fright." The audience (even when it's only one - a director) charge the stage with power (potential energy). What actor does? How uses it. He releases it the way a nuclear reactor does it. (Not a bomb, uncontrolled explosion of energy, madness of crowd).

The Entrance -- not only stage space but audience imagination (actor's birth of "stage"). Missing this moment of appearance, actor wouldn't be able to function. Each actor's entrance effects the whole balance of stage space (gravity and space in Einstein's theory of relativity). Novice actors feel as if they are (personally) are the subject of public attention -- public cares less about actor, only his role in the space of the show. Role is a relation (product) of the character and the show. Next -- character, we need to understand how it function in order to anticipate the future action. Actor still is and should be not noticeable behind his role (mask, as they say).

NB. Vakhtangov School: the extreme theatricality of the director (Meyerhold) and the complete naturalism of the actor (Stanislavsky).

Multiple nature of Spectator: creator, instrument, material. Show business (spectator--spectacle), visual. But most dramatic experience when he forgets that he sees, he is not watching action anymore, he lives it (identification).

Spectator, a single member of the audience.

Partner(s): One and Many. "Spectator 1 -- Spectator 2" do not communicate but experiencing show together through stage identification. Two and more spectators create Audience. Audience into Public. "Stage Pyramid" directed at the House; the same with the Public. (Stage or Theatre?)

T H E A T R E
S H O W
ACTOR

ROLE
CHARACTER

SPECTATOR
A U D I E N C E
P U B L I C

The two pyramids are connected through Role/Character. Role is performed character. Magic mirror (Stage) should be seen as Spectator's Inner World, a foundation for His Field of Imagination. The Public is the source of energy which creates Theatre Space.
LIFE
---------------
\ /
STAGE
\ /
ACTOR
/ \
AUDIENCE
-----------------
PUBLIC
LIFE

Stage relations (all elements, not only actors) organized by the public, for the public and of the public.

Two Partners (Second actor or The Scene, Two Interactive Universes within World of Spectator).

Stage Distance and dynamics of Distance with the Stage.

Other body -- The Second Monologue.

Golden Triangle: Connections between actors through the audience only.

Actor 1----Actor 2
\ /
Audience

Basic Communication Model:
Sender/actor --> Media/show --> Receiver/spectator

ACTOR 1 <---> ACTOR 2
X
SPECTATOR 1 <---> SPECTATOR 2
AUDIENCE (tonight public)
PUBLIC

Dramatic Relations: Spectator is a part of the Message, because conflict can't be recognized (realized) without him. Without audience "parts" of drama make no sense. Audience is an external composition of drama.

How is actor born out of Spectator?

WATCHED NOTHING

The audience's stare alone creates dramatic tension -- every actor knows it -- stage fright. Dramatic space is full of energy created by many watching empty space (stage). Attention thrown at nothing, expectations of drama (we know it's about to happened) -- actor's fear before crossing the line. The mirage of actor is already in there. That's how the world was created. The power of watching for word (actor). It's a space full of time: it's not empty anymore. It's "watched space" ready for actor to be born into it. They, the public, provide time segment. Under God's eyes: not one par of eyes but several hundreds. Stage is space where nothing "real" take place; life with her accidents and surprises is separated in order to create a small spot of free space. Whatever about to happen in this clean sacred space wouldn't be real (nobody would be really hurt or killed); and such violation of nature make it dramatic.

How does actor create a stage-space for himself out of nothing? The Empty Space becomes a dynamic space as soon as the Actor/Medium is placed in it? Meyerhold further notes that very similar connections between space, time and matter exit in Einstein's theory of relativity; those three elements are inseparable. Movement/energy is essential quality of matter (147). Does it mean that the very absence of actor in "theatre space" is a violation of "theatrical laws" -- spot light asks for actor to appear.[3] The way actor enters this space (energy) give the space different weight, structuring time accordingly.

"Acting is melody, directing is harmony... I discovered that not long ago, and I astonished myself, the definition was so exact. Don't you think so?.."[4]

"The audience's emotion is a very infectious thing." (MS 319)

CHURCH TRADITION[5]

The sixties and interest in rituals had return a religious dimension into theatre. We're avoiding any talks about Aristotelian "catharsis" -- not in actual, metaphysical terms.

What a pain to see somebody going through years of training without a major breakthrough. They hold back. They fight you. They're closed up structures, they don't want to try.

"I am who I am."
What a nonsense!
"I die every night." Nietzsche.
"I am born every morning." Paul.

Actor lives through this death and birth many times a day. That's how a child lives -- and therefore grows.

Bad theatre = without the audience, only with public. With no personal addresses. No meassage, was said.

SUMMARY

Audience: Public, second actor's ego is made up of those who witness the event through dramatic (emotional, intellectual) participation.

NOTES

See SPECTATOR's directory @ Theatre w/Anatoly

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